Plan B photo from ShutterstockDo You Have a Plan B for Your Career?

You have probably been told that you should have a Plan B. What if something does not work out?

How about having a Plan B for your career?

I entered the job market in the 1970s when I expected to work for one employer for most of my career. Well, that lasted 22 years and I have had six in the last 16 years. Most of those transitions were planned, which means I planned very well, or that I was lucky!

What should you be prepared for?

Cyclical Professions

In my most recent past, I have been involved in the two very cyclical professions:

  • Recruiting
  • Learning and Development (Training)

Recruiters are the first hired when the economy picks up AND the first to be let go when the economy slows down.

Learning and development professionals know that their mission can easily be eliminated.

Ask any recruiter or trainer whether they have a Plan B for their career.

Mergers and Acquisitions

I have worked for two successful tech startups that were acquired. Both eventually started to lay staff off. This can be due to eliminating redundant positions, or because expectations of growth after an acquisition are not attained.

Rarely has there been a merger or acquisition where layoffs do not eventually follow! It may take a couple of years but…

If you work for a company where an acquisition or merger is possible, you better have a Plan B for your career!


I currently have multiple clients in the pharmaceutical industry. Many companies have patents on pharmaceuticals that are going to expire in the next few years. Several of these companies and announced multi-year staff reduction plans.

Patent protection is key to profitability in many industries, but when the patents expire it is like going over a cliff. Profits dry up over night!

If you work in the pharmaceutical industry or any other industry dependent on patent protection, you should always have a Plan B.

Economic Bubbles

We all know what happened in the last two recessions. Having worked in the semi-conductor and telecommunications industry during the dot com bubble, I knew the end was coming and acted accordingly. Similarly, I was working in the non-profit industry raising money from the financial industry at the beginning of the great recession. In hindsight, I saw the collapse coming but did nothing about it. I got lucky and moved to a safe place in late 2007.

If things seem just too good to be true, you need a Plan B!

Unforeseen Situations

Sometimes stuff just happens. I recently wrote about being put in a highly unethical position by my employer. I had a Plan B already in place, but I was not prepared to act quickly enough.

What will you do if your employer places you in an untenable position? Do you have a Plan B?

If you follow the steps of the Targeted Job Search, you will always be prepared to move to your next position.

You never know when you will need a Plan B for your career.

Marc MillerCareer Pivot

Check out my book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

Do not forget to follow me on Twitter or FaceBook