Should you consider a career move in 2020 – and a mind-boggling few months!!…
Wow – to say that was a pretty crazy few months is putting understatement on the rack and stretching it to within an inch of its poor screaming life! Fair to say that personally it was the most peculiar 3 months of my life. Recruitment is often described as a ‘rollercoaster’ but the last 12 weeks would have tested the mettle of even the most hardened of thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies…
Vacancies were pulled, recruitment processes paused, interviews were cancelled, start dates put on hold, offers sadly rescinded, furloughs, un-furloughs, zoom, zoom, MS Teams, more zoom…
At times it’s felt like a non-stop, seemingly never-ending journey around the Oblivion ride at Alton Towers…. but it has been sped up… and just before you left the loading bay the safety attendant doused you with petrol (from 2 metres distance obvs) and set your harness alight….
Thankfully though it is beginning to feel like the full force of the ride is over – many finance professionals and recruiters are stepping drunkenly off the turbo-waltzers and making their unsteady way back through the smoke and noise to a closer degree of normal.
There have (again thankfully!) been some really tangible signs of hope – offers have come back to life, interviews rescheduled, a cluster of really interesting new roles have crossed the desk, some socially distanced coffees and meetings, less zoom-zoom… it’s life John but not as we know it.
I’ve spoken with lots of qualified accountants over the past 3 months. Most have continued to work, most from a cobbled together ‘home office’. The first couple of months seemed to be chaos management but there’s been a definite shift toward recovery planning.
Many senior finance professionals have had chance to get some degree of true assessment of the damage in the past few weeks. And realistically lots have stepped off the coaster and into the “haunted house” – they are looking down at a fair degree of blood on the carpet. The vast majority of businesses will see sales graphs trending down and unfortunately offset measures for many will not meet the shortfall. There will be some tough meetings had and finance teams will be stretched.
June to Sept every line of cost on the P&L will likely be hammered with red pen – budgets will no doubt get bashed and slashed and caution is likely to be the tale during the COVID tail. Short term cashflow will feel tighter than my post-lockdown-gorging summer shorts, balance sheets will take a few rounds with Tyson (Mike or Fury), many facilities will have less headroom than the toilet cubicle on my cancelled Ryanair flight.
Big and prompt decisions will get actioned, redundancies are going to be unavoidable and the stats will look horrific en masse. I imagine its potentially going to feel very bleak at times.
However, some businesses will absolutely flourish. Acquisitions will be made, recovery will be delivered, plans will be successfully executed, pragmatism will prevail, consumer confidence will return, belts will loosen after the diets, stocks will rise, people will be promoted, jobs will be created and as a positive biproduct of the madness working habits look set to alter for the better.
But how fast is the question??? – at the moment it still seems to be anyone’s guess. There’s some interesting comparative evidence and great minds making their educated suggestions but most agree that this is a bit of a grand national punt. Currently a pin in the paper or random sweepstake probably has as much chance of predicting when we will truly be back in the black as the selection of the most experienced pundit with the best insider knowledge.
So, amid all of the turbulence, confusion, doubt and uncertainty should you consider an unforced career move?
Well…. In my opinion MAYBE is the reality…
If you are a Management / Financial Accountant, Finance Manager, FC or FD currently then you will be seeing the numbers sooner than most. And from the numbers on the spreadsheet you may well begin to see the writing on the wall (for you or the business or a colleague, or all of the above) …
— You might be more tempted than usual to ‘jump ship’… maybe in haste.
Contrarily you may see the signs of the business showing resuscitation sooner than others. You will be putting the forecasts into reports and watching the graphs curve upwards sooner than you think.
— You might overly sway to a mentality of ‘better the devil I know’
Extreme circumstances that are way outside the norm make it harder to be completely rational. So whether you do or don’t decide to be open to discussions its key that the decision isn’t made more rashly than it would have been pre-pandemic.
The reality is that there is no firm answer to ‘should you consider a move’. Whether the market is more bullish than ever or is in the worst bear ever your individual circumstances should dictate your appetite to LOOK for a new challenge.
The market is and will be different – it can’t not be. Short-term there will be less qualified finance roles available and competition may be higher for them.
You should be doing extremely thorough diligence around the business you are considering moving to (but you would do that anyway). You shouldn’t ‘jump’ at something (but you shouldn’t anyway). The move should wherever possible ‘make sense’ and meet your aspirations or your current list of requirements (ideally both).
Holing up or sitting tight in your current business is also a fine plan – it’s totally your call. You might want recruiters to keep you completely at arms-length, alternatively you might want a better view of the market and to have a closer finger on the pulse than normal. Experienced recruiters that you trust can be that window to the market.
Some individuals will make brilliantly-life-changing career moves in the next 3-6 months, others will make the worst move of their career, some will sit tight and it will be the best thing they could have done, others will do the same and regret passing up a ‘game changer’…
There is no right answer that someone should be steering you towards until you trust them & they have taken time to try to understand YOUR personal circumstances.
Bit of a long one for me – thanks for reading!
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