Job Hunting & Back To The Future

Job Hunting & Back To The Future

It is not something people often do when looking for a new job or even think about when reviewing their career.  However, going backwards to move forwards in a job has worked out very successfully for some people I know, and they have no regrets so far.

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So what exactly do I mean by “going backwards to move forwards”?  From a job perspective, like in the 1985 Steven Spielberg film Back To The Future, most people have an idea about what future job they see themselves doing, but in order to get there, they may need to do a role they did years ago, and so take a backwards step for a while.  If you are currently employed, this may mean taking a new position that is less responsible or less rewarding in the short term, but will reward you better in the future.  People who decide on making a complete career change usually have to go backwards too and start from scratch, in order to follow an aspiration such as setting up a new business.  In both scenarios, the idea is that future job/career prospects will hopefully outweigh the short term backward steps you may need to take initially to get there

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The recession, whilst being bad for the employment market generally, has been a good thing for some people who were made redundant.  Having had time to reflect on what the future holds, a report by Yoodoo shows that many new small businesses have sprung up as a result of hard-working people using their own initiative and helping kick-start the economy again.  A large scale career change like this, as opposed to a promotional move to a new employer is obviously more frightening, but it can also be more rewarding.  Like with both these situations above, people have left the safety of their current routine and gone back a number of steps in order to move forward.

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Some great examples of this are best illustrated by job seekers I know personally.  In January, I recruited someone for a large Hi-Tech business along the M4 Corridor.  The employer was looking for a Manager who in 6-9 months time could take onboard a more senior Financial Controller role for three European operations, but they needed someone who could prove their worth first.  The candidate who accepted the position was already a Controller at their current company, and so on first glance, did not want to take a backwards step.  Both the job content and responsibilities of this role were more junior than their current position, yet the candidate’s long term aim was to have a career in a larger blue-chip business with European experience, which this job offered.   Anyone can keep looking for the next BIG opportunity over and over again (like most people do), but that doesn’t mean that an employer is going to magically appear and offer you this straight away.

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Other people who have stepped backwards to move forwards are those seeking a career change.  Someone I know locally used to be in Financial Services in London, yet they always wanted to set up a small Property Maintenance company.  Having enjoyed a six-figure salary in the City and benefits to match, they faced redundancy and so decided to start out on their own in November 2009.  Their initial worries and concerns were about the skills and experience they were going to be throwing away, and the reality of doing a hands-on and more junior position - miles apart from the glitz and glamour of the square mile.

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Going against the grain as both of these people have done, does take self-belief and conviction that the longer term career choices you make will outweigh the short term need to step backwards.  Many people, me included at times, question why someone would want to go backwards in their career in the first place?  Whilst the rewards (financial or otherwise) may not be apparent at the start, over the longer term they are usually there for all to see.  The two people I know personally have not regretted their decision to step back, as it helped their careers move forward for the better.

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So, if job opportunities do come along that may initially look beneath you, or you have done that same job many years ago, do not automatically reject it without understanding the longer term prospects both of the role and the company.

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Best wishes

Leslie Fearn

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Leslie has over 15 years Recruitment experience helping blue-chip corporates to SME businesses recruit for their Finance teams.  As one of the founding Directors of McGinnis Loy, a Specialist HR and Finance Recruiter across the Thames Valley and London, he is still actively recruiting in the marketplace today.  Follow his helpful tweets on Twitter: @McginnisLoy

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