first64riv

Looking for career advice

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Hello all,

 

I am seeking some career advice from those that are a little wiser than I am.  Let me start with my age, I'll be 40 in April.  I'm going to lay it out with as little bias as possible.

 

I currently work for a small Aerospace company and I am the GM/CFO.  As many of you know...in a small business a title is just that...a title.  I do many different things and I am essentially a jack of all trades and a master of none.  I get zero training but I could on my own time.  I've been at this company for 10 years and these past few months have been really trying.  It seems as if I've been singled out by our VP Sales and Marketing and my character as well as intelligence has been attacked and critiqued on a continual basis.  My boss is cc'd and he does nothing to intervene.  Perhaps he feels the same way.  At first I took it as constructive criticism and I could handle that but they have recently escalated to character attacks.  I'm not prideful and I can hang it up at the door but sometimes enough is enough.  The tough part of this decision is that my boss tells me that if I leave it will be the start of the circling of the drain for the company.

 

I have a wife and two young boys and we do not spend extravagantly but have a mortgage and two car payments (not high at all).  My current salary is just a teeny bit north of $100k.  With all that has been happening at work, needless to say, I've been looking.  I received a response from a local defense contractor but there is a rub...the position is a "junior" position and the salary ranges from 69 to 82k.  The company is one of the big ones when it comes to defense.  Those in the aerospace industry can fathom a guess.  The title would be a Project Manager which I specialized in during my Master's Degree program.

 

So my question is, do my wife and I struggle for a short while and pursue this job (no guarantee, this is the woo-ing phase) or do I look at the current salary and "man up".  I think I know the right thing to do I wanted input from as many people as I could.

 

Thank you and sorry for the long post.  I can answer questions as needed.

 

Chris

 

 

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I would stay at your current position and continue looking for a better job, not the one you're thinking of taking.....................

 

tolerating the current position, knowing you will find something better is key. Not demoting yourself to a lower salary in a supposedly better company.

 

You need to believe in your self worth.

 

Good Luck!

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8 minutes ago, mercer09 said:

I would stay at your current position and continue looking for a better job, not the one you're thinking of taking.....................

 

tolerating the current position, knowing you will find something better is key. Not demoting yourself to a lower salary in a supposedly better company.

 

You need to believe in your self worth.

 

Good Luck!

Mercer09,

 

Thank you for the input.  My wife feels the same and my argument to her is...

1. I've had no training in anything worthwhile - leadership training, management training, etc.

2. In my current role, there is no growth.  The CFO title was for formalities - when we incorporated we needed to assign CEO/CFO and Secretary.

3. In my GM role, I have no real authority to do anything so any ideas that are brought up (and not just by me) are not seriously considered unless we convince the CEO it was his idea.

 

I'm sorry, I know you gave your advice and it sounds like my mind is made up but I do appreciate the input.  I never thought about the self worth aspect and it does put my dilemma in a different perspective.

 

Chris

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Started to write this prior to your answer to Mercer 09 but I will leave it intact.

 

Please don't take the following as advice - it is merely an observation. I am 68 and during my career I worked for contractors, ran the design/proposals department of an international material handling company, taught the business related courses in a Construction Management program at a 4 year University (tenure track - they abandoned the program), had an antique shop, and spent the last 20 years working for the Federal Government as a Construction Analyst for the SBA.

 

The full time teaching position paid one half what my previous position paid (we were bought out twice and I refused a move that would have meant a 50 per cent pay increase but the company was going public and the principals stood to end up well off. There were no assurances that they were going to stay - intentions yes, promises no). Taking a small golden parachute was the correct option it turned out - they were scheduled to go public three weeks after Black Monday 1987.

 

The point of all this is that in all probability no matter what you do the sun will rise every morning, somehow the bills will be paid, and life will go on.

 

Advise would be to carefully write down the pluses and minuses, weigh each of them with your live goals, reach a logical conclusion and do what your research shows most likely to be a better plan.

 

Observation would be that the happiest people I know have always gone with their gut feel. And they realize that they may be wrong and are willing to move on should that be the case.

 

So what did I do - I always stayed in my current position. I enjoy comfort - nothing to prove.

 

 

 

.

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2 minutes ago, alsancle said:

So is the only issue with your current job the fact that you don't get along with the VP of sales and you feel the CEO is not dealing with it?

 

From my post that would be the short of it.  However, from a long term perspective...the short of it would be...

1.  In my past ten years, I realize I have not grown in my skill set.  I am afraid that when I'm at the 50 year old mark, it will be that much more difficult to get a good high paying job.

2.  I'm not the type to stay stagnant.  I am always trying to continue my education.  That's why I went and got my Masters.  This happened when we were owned by a larger corporation.  In the past 4 years since we were released from the large corp, I've had no career training.

3.  Mainly afraid my marketable skills are becoming obsolete.

4.  Being in the toxic environment is sort of new.  I've dealt with a lot of dysfunction here but the recent events take the cake.

 

Chris

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I took a pay cut 8 years ago while raising a family of 4 (now 5) at the time-I was 33 then and made half of what you make.  I quit my boss and bought my old car off Craigslist.  I’m the kind of employee you leave alone and enjoy knowing the job is getting done.  Don’t leave me alone and question me constantly and you lose me.  That’s just how I am.  I was never happier after I left.    I made sure all the bills were paid off first (and still do-nothing owed but the house).  I am now back above what I made then.  Never put yourself in a position where you can’t afford to change jobs.  Get that sorted out and you will always have the flexibility to stay happy.  Happy work = happy home.  Best of luck.

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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So odd.  You just wrote my bio, except in the Medical Device industry  I just plain walked out when the CEO put money before lives.  It's too ugly to tell here.  I wish you all the best.

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Chris , do I understand that your learning curve flattened out 4 years ago in a now 10 year position in a company which now has become a psychodrama ? Or have you not learned anything at ALL in the 10 years ? Let me know if I am understanding this correctly. I am shortly to go out to dinner with my brother and a friend. Depending on your answer , I will tell you what I did when my learning curve flattened at Boeing , and how I became an aviation electronics engineer at the U.S.' (Or was it world's - yeah I think the world's) , largest aircraft maintainance and modification company. Oh yeah : this was 50 years ago , I was 23 , never took an engineering course in my life , didn't know calculus , gave up U.W. after trying to get through my first year twice , and had read Bill Lear's advice for success. You'll be fine , Chris , but don't waste any more of your time. I'll check back after dinner.    - Carl 

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56 minutes ago, C Carl said:

Chris , do I understand that your learning curve flattened out 4 years ago in a now 10 year position in a company which now has become a psychodrama ? Or have you not learned anything at ALL in the 10 years ? Let me know if I am understanding this correctly. I am shortly to go out to dinner with my brother and a friend. Depending on your answer , I will tell you what I did when my learning curve flattened at Boeing , and how I became an aviation electronics engineer at the U.S.' (Or was it world's - yeah I think the world's) , largest aircraft maintainance and modification company. Oh yeah : this was 50 years ago , I was 23 , never took an engineering course in my life , didn't know calculus , gave up U.W. after trying to get through my first year twice , and had read Bill Lear's advice for success. You'll be fine , Chris , but don't waste any more of your time. I'll check back after dinner.    - Carl 

Carl,

 

Thank you for taking the time to read the post.

 

At this company, in order for my learning to continue I must seek it out on my own.  The last time I had any formal education was in 2011 when I received my Masters.  So I've technically have had no career related training with this company.  In my opinion, it all has to do with the fact that we were a division that was acquired by a larger division and we were under the umbrella.

 

Hopefully I've answered your question.  My learning curve has flattened and it flattened about 4 years ago.

Have a great dinner,

Chris

 

Edited by first64riv (see edit history)

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50 minutes ago, 39BuickEight said:

Never put yourself in a position where you can’t afford to change jobs.

 

My wife and I have made it a point to live within our means and we haven't created a lifestyle that could not warrant a career change.  We're going to have a discussion about that tonight.

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I had started to make a local niche for myself in commercial Ford sales and other than my Army training, I have limited training. I was recruited by New York Life a few months ago and while at first I passed on the offer, it got me thinking. I realized my industry was changing and regardless of how good I was, the dealer profile was likely to change dramatically. Being 34, I was worried I'd be out of a job in 20 years and was worried about staring a new career so late. Needless to say I followed through with New York Life and it's not easy at all, but the long term gains are going to be great for my family and the process is so much more customer focused that I'm more happy helping people with the financial security than I ever could have been selling cars and trucks, even though they are a passion of mine. When I told my own GM why I was leaving he said insiders actually suggest the change will be coming in closer to 10 years... so looks like I made a good call.

I think I'm pretty good at resume writing. From the way your posts are worded you should, for your own sake, take time to write down what you actually do to earn your titles! They certainly are more than just titles if you take the time and review them I'm sure. Maybe even sit down with a coach, I know I've helped folks before (and I'm no coach), but with a few key questions they started really describing their duties and are often surprised how much more valuable they are when you think of it in the right perspective. 

After you do that, you might even find more satisfaction in what you DO at your current job! The better pay is awesome, and the lower risk of what you know and are known for is a value as well. At the same time, if you think the long term risk of a inevitable conflict are looming, you may want to change while you're still young, plenty of time to build up a reputation in the defense industry.

I know I don't qualify as a "wiser" person, but I hope it helps you a little! Good luck and let us know.
 

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If there's no future at your company, then why are you still there?  Not being a jerk, but it really is that simple.  I wouldn't leave over personal issues, you can fix those.  If there's no future, you can't fix that.  Make the best of what you have there right now and make plans to be somewhere else inside 2 or 3 years.  Start putting aside some money to ease the transition.  So to be clear...  I wouldn't leave now unless you feel it is a step up (either in money now or future growth). 

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7 minutes ago, Luv2Wrench said:

If there's no future at your company, then why are you still there?  Not being a jerk, but it really is that simple.  I wouldn't leave over personal issues, you can fix those.  If there's no future, you can't fix that.  Make the best of what you have there right now and make plans to be somewhere else inside 2 or 3 years.  Start putting aside some money to ease the transition.  So to be clear...  I wouldn't leave now unless you feel it is a step up (either in money now or future growth). 

You're not being a jerk at all.  I hear ya.  I've always been of the belief that if you're thinking about leaving, you're already halfway out the door.  I have a little money invested in the company and I'll walk away with about $40K off the bat.  This could ease some of the financial pain but my wife doesn't feel the same.

 

I guess my question to you would be, what do you mean by "future"?  The company creates a great product, very niche.  So the company will move on.  The positions within the company are all one deep.  If we lose one person, we hobble a bit until a replacement comes along.  My point to that is, the personal issue will not go away because we can't afford to stir the pot or reprimand.  Everyone knows the situation and his (the guy i have an issue with) role (Sales/Applications Engineer) has the company by the balls.

 

Again, I'm not a sensitive guy by any means but this situation is over the top.  There are so many variables that I need to consider and I appreciate all the insight.

 

Chris

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Frantz said:

I think I'm pretty good at resume writing. From the way your posts are worded you should, for your own sake, take time to write down what you actually do to earn your titles! They certainly are more than just titles if you take the time and review them I'm sure. Maybe even sit down with a coach, I know I've helped folks before (and I'm no coach), but with a few key questions they started really describing their duties and are often surprised how much more valuable they are when you think of it in the right perspective. 

I'm not sure if you're saying my sentences are confusing as all hell or if I should just update my resume.  LOL.  If it's the latter, then I've updated my resume and I definitely know what I do to earn my titles (with a little fluff of course).  But in all seriousness, if my thoughts and wording are jumbled, I apologize.  I'm just trying to get it all out there.

 

Chris

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2 hours ago, first64riv said:

...It seems as if I've been singled out by our VP Sales and Marketing and my character as well as intelligence has been attacked and critiqued on a continual basis.  My boss is cc'd and he does nothing to intervene.  ...they have recently escalated to character attacks. 

 

Here are some helpful and constructive thoughts for you:

 

(1)  Keep your good character and equanimity, even if you're reviled.

It's not an achievement to like only those that like you, because even

Kim Jong Il likes those that like him.  

 

(2)  You need to strike a balance between kindness and standing 

firm on Principle.  Be both kind and principled:  Never let anyone say

anything wrong about you without kindly and firmly correcting it.

Sometimes that's a difficult balance to achieve, but it is worth it.

 When something wrong is said, go to your boss or the CEO of your small firm.

 Never let evil be uncorrected, because it will not go away by itself.

Always make sure the truth is told and understood.

Even if you leave, people will say, "There goes a good man."

 

(3)  If you change jobs or careers, consider doing what you absolutely

love to do.  What type of job would you enjoy doing every day?

It may coincide with your interests.  Every job likely has routine and

fascinating days, but picture yourself actually looking forward to

going to work on Monday.  Some of us, for instance, have made cars

our focus, either as our vocation or avocation. 

 

(4)  If you're managing, dealing with people and getting the best 

out of them doesn't necessarily require training.  Your skills may 

already be good--and you'll be learning more from this experience!

In the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People," the author

tells of one man who rose to near the top at a huge steel producer,

simply because he was friendly, of good character, and so knew

how to engage the men to give their best.    

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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Here's some advice and worth every penny you pay for it. During the next five years, live two lives.

 

A. Do everything in your power to make the company that employs you successful beyond anyone's dreams, even the sales guy and the CEO. Be a man in every old-fashioned sense of the word, be decent, cordial and the one that people go to to solve their problem. Make yourself indispensable. You will grow as will the company.

B. Figure out your future and make a detailed plan to get from here to there. Make it your life and death,  body parts in the vise passion. At year four, begin your transition. At the dawn of year five, you are there. You can do it in three. Or two.

 

If you aren't the lead dog, the view never changes.

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John_S and Pluto,

 

I'm sitting with the wife and reading all the responses.  In her mind, both of your posts were home runs.  I agree.  We're talking through this now and I'm getting a clearer picture of what I need to do in the next few years to be where I would like to be.

 

Thanks all...please keep the feedback coming.

 

Chris

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You do not know how your boss actually feels. A frank discussion with the CEO may be in order. He/she may well be aware of your qualities and positive performance, but not have felt the need for verbal response, especially with regard to possible confrontation with the VP-Sales and Marketing. 

 

Increasing responsibilities within the corporate world for a significant part of my career, and having had to navigate competitive individuals and department heads, I learned early on to "Plan my work and work my plan"' including career advancement, interaction with "back-biting" competitive contemporaries, dealing with the accompanying frustrations, and learning how and when to both share with and shield from my family. After achieving my corporate goals by my mid-40s, it was time to revise my long term plan, leading to my walking away from the guaranteed path. Prior work experience, as well as life experience can lead to self reliance, and to the understanding that sometimes a One-Man Band can be better than a Symphony Orchestra, especially when the solos are more rewarding. Having nights and weekends, and later taking a week each month to share with my wife and children, and to enjoy the old car hobby was my best step ever. Corporate life was great when it the right thing for me, and nothing can ever replace all that I learned from the experience. It also enabled me to later make the choice to go out on my own, first in the consulting environment based on my experience, but also allowed me to explore other opportunities in diverse areas. 

 

Taking a step down will always raise questions later on with regard to your resume'

 

Good luck with your career.

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At 40 you are in your prime and speaking very generally and depending on your skill set are very hire-able. If you are in the technology field and you are not advancing your skill set you are rapidly falling behind the pack. In ten years you will be obsolete. You have to coldly asses your industry and what another ten years of stagnation will mean.

The personal issues at work are small potatoes. At 40 you need to be upward mobile.

Not knowing the details my best guess of your course would be to stay at your present position until you can make a move that offers potential in both responsibility and salary.  A very wise person once told me the best time to be looking for a job is when you already have a job. You will be negotiating from a position of strength not need.

One last thing. That comment of your company circling the drain if you leave and the implied  need for your loyalty.

I guarantee you that no more than 24 hours will elapse between management deciding it would be cheaper with out you than with you, and they will be telling you how sorry they are.......Bob 

 

 

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I agree with Marty, don't take a step down, do everything you can to take a step up, or minimum sideways in a new job.

 

When you're sitting at the next interview after you take the step down, the question will be asked, and when you say "I wasn't getting along with management" or "I couldn't take the persecution from my coworker", things won't go well for you.

 

Unfortunately, there are always people out for themselves, and only on the team as a facade.  I've had two people in my career who stabbed me in the back, and I thought they were friends.  Both ultimately were a reason for leaving jobs. Situations like that are going to be hard for the current "everyone gets a trophy" generation to handle.

 

You need to go to your boss and talk about the situation.  You say he's CC'd on this, which means you're fighting a battle with emails.  You need to get off the email, and talk face to face with both your boss and this individual.  Looking them in the eye will tell you 100 times what an email will tell you.

 

Good luck....

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24 minutes ago, trimacar said:

When you're sitting at the next interview after you take the step down, the question will be asked, and when you say "I wasn't getting along with management" or "I couldn't take the persecution from my coworker", things won't go well for you.

 

Why in the world would anyone say that in an interview???   I'm sure it happens, but the people who say that surely aren't good wage earners in a competitive field.

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1 hour ago, 39BuickEight said:

 

Why in the world would anyone say that in an interview???   I'm sure it happens, but the people who say that surely aren't good wage earners in a competitive field.

 

I've interviewed a lot of people in my career, and you'd be surprised by what people say.  Often, people criticize management at their last or current position, and it's a red flag that they just plain might not be good employees.

 

I've had a guy interview for a job that involved at least a rudimentary familiarity with computers.  He told me he hated computers and would never touch one.  That pretty much ended the interview, and it was a shame, because I knew he had other attributes that were positive.

 

I've had people own up to the fact they were fired from their last position, and say that so and so was just after me.

 

You and I know how to be interviewed, but trust me, a LOT of people don't even realize the clues they're giving by their words or actions.

 

I once sat in on a dinner interview, my boss asking questions of a potential engineering employee.  After it was over, my boss told me the guy wasn't going to be considered.  Why, I asked, he seemed capable...my boss said, did you notice that, after he ate each shrimp, he very carefully aligned each tail on the edge of his plate, and when done, fussed at moving his silverware to precise locations, carefully folding his napkin with great attention?  He'd be so busy worried about minor details he'd never get the big job done.....

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Everything else being equal, get a job with the government preferrably the federal government.

 

It seems strange that your employer knows how valuable you are to the company yet seems determined to push you out. If you are curious you might have it out with the owner and find out what is really going on - but only after you have your new job sewn up.

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