I have been offered a job that looks perfect on paper, but my gut reaction is that something is wrong. Should I follow my head or my heart?
I was recently listening to David Brooks, New York Times columnist and author who has extraordinary insight into the industrial and social psychology of America and the West. He makes the point that while some decisions are dependant on analysis, business people are far too reluctant to listen to their inner voice. “We are primarily the products of thinking that happens below the level of awareness,” he says.
With every business deal we do due diligence. However it is amazing how little of this is done when changing jobs, so don’t be railroaded into a decision. Go and have another chat to your employer, speak to other directors - do you know some ex-employees, customers or suppliers? Have you done a search of press articles? Ask analysts what they make of the business.
See if you can spend a morning at the new place. It’s incredible how quickly you can soak up the culture of the business. You say that this is a big decision for you have you also really pushed your current employer to develop your career?
I’m 56 and head a non-food trading division. I’m well paid but I have been thinking when might be right to stop full-time work. I quite fancy becoming a consultant but am I too old?
First of all, 56 is just a label. Do you really know why you want to stop? Is it the demands of the job or the lure of doing something different? Could you make a part-time arrangement that could work for you and your employer, or could you, with “major time management strategy” transform your role?
If you do choose to leave, prepare your exit by refreshing all your contacts. You will find it a lot easier when you’re not selling anything. Expose yourself to the latest thinking in your sector and get out to conferences. Think about people who might become customers for your consultancy and consider their needs. Why not also consider non-executive directorship, which will enable you to share your experience with others? I suggest you find some friendly consultants and non-exec directors and listen to their experiences.
Finally, weigh up the financial pros and cons of your decision. As you see, nothing to do with age.