Advice From Tom Shay

Last week I had the distinct honor to hear Tom Shay, CEO of Right Management, Florida/Caribbean speak on the topic of job transition and career management.  What an interesting discussion.  Mr. Shay has held this position for 31 years and during his tenure Mr. Shay has seen exceptional change in the employer/employee relationship.

Mr. Shay began by sharing a very simple statistic. During his father’s generation (presumably 40 years ago), the average tenure for a manager or higher, was 27 years.  Losing a job was considered taboo.  As a matter of fact, it was hard to lose a job.  You really had to do something wrong.  Today the average tenure for that same employee is 3.7 years.  Doing a good job does not mean you will keep your job.  Job transition is commonplace and expected.  Does that surprise you?  From 27 years to an average of 3.7 years. Wow.

Mr Shay went on to state that what used to be ‘one job for life’ has disappeared.  Today it is one boss for life – yourself.  You need to look at yourself as a company and intelligently apply your personal brand to the marketplace.   Mr. Shay’s point is that we are all ‘free agents’ or ‘businesses’.  Companies may contract with you if they think you can solve their problem.  Once the problem is fixed, you will need to find another application for your skills.

Finally, Mr. Shay spoke about the important of investing in yourself.  Going to conferences, staying current and learning new things is what allows us to remain relevant.  Don’t expect someone else to pay for you to improve yourself.  We are all ‘free agents’ or ‘businesses’ and as such, we need to focus on doing those things that allow us to best achieve our personal goals

As you know, I spend most of my time discussing business ownership, but Mr. Shay’s points are well stated.  The world is a different place.  Business ownership may or may not be the right path for you but regardless, you need to think of yourself as a business.

As we move toward the New Year I would like to wish each and every one of you the very best.  The holiday season is a time to celebrate.  It is also a time to reflect and plan.  Did 2010 go the way you wanted it to?  Do you have a plan for 2011?  Are you maximizing your free agent status?  As a free agent, you are in charge of your future.  Make it count.

All the best to you and yours.  As always, in respect for the holidays, there will not be a newsletter in January.  Look forward to reconnecting in February 2011.