Navigating the Big Challenge of a Career Change

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I feel for you if you find yourself weighing a career change right now—or you’re unemployed and debating whether to take a paltry offer or try your luck again in the market. 

It’s a bloodbath out there.

The uncertainty of the job market, tech pay shrinking, quiet ‘hiring’ trends, and the illusion of record-low unemployment are causes for more than a few head-scratching moments. 

Despite the bend we hear from MSNBC and other mainstream media shit-slingers, the market is problematic for many job seekers. 

Especially executives.

I reckon you could always work at Panera Bread, Kohls, Chipotle, or any other gentrified bulwark clogging up our suburbias off the interstate. And while you’re at it, purchase a 200-300% inflated new home (that investors didn’t already scoop out from you) with 3% down and a vanishing mortgage buy-down rate.

The American Dream is spicier than ever — it’s painted taupe, furnished with stainless steel, and situated at the end of the cul-de-sac.

What’s the worst that can happen? And do they really think you’re this stupid? Something has to give because what we hear about the market doesn’t match what we see in the trenches.

It’s time that we wake up and smell the roses. 

Facing Reality

I get plenty of grief for being overtly pessimistic with my writing; however, I call it like I see it. We must be more honest with one another. 

Now perhaps more than ever.

The market sucks eggs. 

I’m highly suspect of someone’s motives if they tell you otherwise. Are they trying to sell you a house? Trying to pretend that posting on LinkedIn every day will save your soul? 

You’re better off not spending a dime right now.

However, regardless of timing, you must continually stoke the flames of executive opportunity. Or, you may not have a choice if you’re out of work.

Even if you’re itching for change right now—you must exercise patience at all costs. So set this expectation now.

Expect turbulence.

Worthwhile executive roles are difficult to find and hotly competitive in any market. 

As a result, these roles may take months of due diligence to feel confident negotiating an ideal outcome. And that’s after you’ve found an opportunity worth your full pursuit (which may take months).  

Even if the grass appears greener—take a second look.

Your executive job search may be demanding and span well over a year. At least for a good job (one where you won’t be shit-canned in 7 months). 

Your next move cannot be made flippantly. 

Haste may lead to avoidable heartache and the downward spiral of poor-fit jobs you’ll need to justify later.

This advice may not apply if you are in such high demand that hiring managers clamber over you. But let’s be honest, that’s not most of you—yet.

What Happened To Your Backbone?

Many executive job seekers have lost their power

It frustrates the hell out of me.

Companies can rally behind the questionable market, layoffs, and pay decreases—and simply wait for you to negotiate yourself down. 

For example, I often hear, “Pay is down 10% across the board; I will lower my expectations. So it’s okay if I go backward. I want to be realistic.”

  • Have you caught yourself feeling like this? 
  • Have you questioned your value in today’s market because times are more challenging? 
  • Do you cap your value based on external factors, benchmarks, or ‘objective’ criteria? 


We love to limit ourselves in the comfort of what we know or think we know. If some authority says executive compensation is down, why must you accept that reality? Other prices are not down; why is your price down?

I’ve also noticed that many executives are running from something rather than toward something. 

For example, they are escaping a toxic workplace or boss, leaving opportunities deemed too small, or applying a tourniquet to the financial bleed of their unemployment. 

Look, I get it. You need to pay the bills. But eagerly moving on to the next can be a recipe for the pain train later. Plus, it dilutes your negotiation.

The Cure

While I’m not keen on the market for executives today, bitching without having a solution isn’t precisely my M. O.

So what can you do? 

  1. Shift your mindset to expect patience.
  2. Concentrate on maintaining your “give-first” networking habits.  
  3. Explore more openly, but make NO your default. Be hyper-picky and do not settle. 
  4. Spend more time to reflect on what’s next for you.
  5. Polish your storytelling, rekindle relationships, and attend more networking events for practice (Make sure the right people are in the room).
  6. Consider your career as an investment. What moves must you make now that will compound into the life you want later? 
  7. Ask yourself what your life may look like on a different path. Do you need to keep climbing the same ladder? Why?
  8. Don’t—think of your resume or LinkedIn as the fix-all solution. We’re not in a ‘build it, and they will come’ environment. Plus, the days of a fresh resume and starched cuffs closing the deal are old-fashioned.  

Being the highly educated reader that you are, you’ll recognize that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

How do we fix this trap moving forward?

The Prevention

Limiting your consumption and reliance on others for your well-being is the most appropriate remedy, albeit not what most want to hear. 

Perhaps now is the time to consider less in your life? 

You become more free when you build an untouchable fort of financial independence and integrity—one where you don’t need to shell out an increasingly perpetual cash flow to survive. 

Glass ceilings break down, and you give yourself more autonomy and power to negotiate better. Plus, you may spend more time with family and get re-acquainted with what you truly love.

When you don’t need to rely on other people for your fulfillment or financial well-being—saying no is pretty damn easy. And you’re more attractive as a result. 

We’re a hyper-consumption-driven society. But does that mean that you need to be too? 

Too often, we have a problem spending before we get it—because why delay gratification—when we can get immediate relief now? 

If you find yourself rattling off excuses on why you can’t be patient, I’d argue that you made many mistakes long before now. But nevertheless, you may only now realize that you’re trapped. 

No executive (or anyone) should live paycheck to paycheck or fear doing something new to improve their lives. 

Reduce your dependence on others and watch what happens next.

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