Dear Career Doctor:
My boyfriend is almost 50. He works for a big international aerospace/tech company, managing about 50 engineers working on telecommunications satellites. He hates the company and the job and recently finished an MBA program, part-time. It was paid for by the company. Unfortunately, he finished just as the economy tanked, and the Wall Street job he’d hoped for seems impossible now. He wants to be a manager, not necessarily having anything to do with electrical engineering at all. He used to get head hunter calls pretty often, but nothing for months.
He’s willing to move anywhere for the right job but would rather be in NYC. I’m willing to go with him since my job prospects aren’t good here either.
He is so fed up at work he talks about just quitting so he can focus on the search full-time, but that seems crazy to me, in this job market. My sister thinks we should pick a place we’d like to live, other than NYC, and concentrate on finding jobs there, but not burn bridges here. She also thinks we should look into buying some kind of franchise. What would you advise my BF to do?
You undoubtedly know that it is easier to land a job when you have a job, because employers often feel more secure hiring a person who is working successfully with a firm. However, these days with so many good people out of work, that is less of a problem. So, my main concern for you would be financial: Do you have enough money put aside to last for several years of job hunting? Or would the stress of being without an income be greater than the stress of working at a job he hates?
Your boyfriend certainly has great experience that should land him lots of job interviews. However, the problem these days is not just the economy, but also the age discrimination at many corporations. So, it is not surprising that it is taking far longer than it should to land a good job. Here are some ideas:
1. Has he talked to Human Resources at his firm and enlisted their aid in finding something more to his liking at the company? They have invested in his MBA and should want to retain him.
2. Has he worked every angle with the job placement people where he got his MBA? The counselors at most good MBA programs not only know about potential employers in the NYC area, but also could help him research jobs in other areas of the country — and can put him in touch with their graduates there.
3. I don’t know what kind of work he wants on Wall Street, but his best shot might be a position analyzing telecommunications stocks/companies.
As for your sister’s suggestions: I think the idea of picking one or two cities and concentrating on them is a good one. You can subscribe to the local newspapers (online or otherwise) that have the best want ads. As for buying a franchise — that’s a very complex issue involving your entrepreneurial drive and skills, your finances, and the quality of the franchise operation. Some franchises give good value and support — and others give very little.