Read this before you accept a new job

RIM office

If I could give people one piece of advice on which job you offer should never take, it is this:

Never accept a position which is a turnaround job.

Read here; never take a job which requires you to help save a brand, company or business to make it great again. The rule applies no matter how big the business is, or was. The rule applies no matter how well resourced the company is.

This is one of those situations where this oft sighted cliche applies. A rising tide floats all boats…. which also means the same boats get marooned on the reef when the tide is going out.

There are so many things you can just never control inside a large organisation. If it was doing poorly before you arrived, large parts of that will still be outside of what you can influence. In times of disruptive change, this is even more pronounced. I’ve had a few turnaround jobs in my early career, and the hardest part was never reinventing the strategy, but fighting against an outdated corporate culture. It’s also a game of probability. While the turnaround may succeed and you’ll be a hero, it’s a low probability bet. A bet not worth taking.

Another factor we have to consider is the brand associations you get from where you work:

  • Do a terrible job in fast growing trendy company and you’ll still look like a winner.
  • Do a terrific job in a declining company, and you’ll look like dead wood.

A resume with Facebook employment on it looks better than one with Kodak on it.

This is not about being negative, it’s about having the wisdom to not inherit other peoples problems.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.