Career Advice Tuesday – “Change In Command”
October 4, 2011
I recently have found myself in a precarious situation and I am hoping that you can help me get through this.
Recently, about four months ago, I accepted a Director of Information Security position, reporting into the CISO of a 10,000 person company. The position that I left to accept the role, Manager of Policy and Compliance, I held for 18 months. While I was not looking for a new job at the time, the Director role was too good to pass up, both from a career and a financial perspective.
Six weeks ago, I received an e-mail from the General Counsel letting me know that the CISO, who just hired me, was “relieved” of his duties and would no longer be working at the company. The CISO was one of the main reasons that I accepted the position, and in a short time I had established a good working relationship and I respected his management style.
The search for the new CISO is currently underway, and they are interviewing potential successors. – both internal and external. I have met the final two candidates, and quite frankly I am not pleased with either of the options. Their backgrounds and views on information security are much different than mine and I just do not get a good vibe.
Additionally, I am well aware that if they get hired, they will most likely be able to select their teams and their direct reports, so my time here is probably limited.
Any advice on how I can deal with this situation? If I am forced to leave, how can I explain the fact that my last two jobs lasted for such a short period of time?
The best thing that I can tell you is that you need to accept that change is coming, and you need to figure out a way to deal with it and make the best of things. The way that I would look at this is as an opportunity to hone your interpersonal communication and relationship skills.
The truth is that at your level of seniority, you cannot really afford another short stint of employment, especially after an implied promotion. If you can not show some accomplishments in this current role, future employers will most likely look at this as a failure, no matter how you spin it. (Personally, I think this is unfair, but those are the rules of the game that we play by – and perception is often viewed as reality)
Whomever they decide to hire, I think that you should embrace and support with your fullest ability. I think that a good way to demonstrate this is to attempt to relate to your new manager (CISO) on a personal level, letting them know that you are both in the same boat (as new employees), and by demonstrating as much willingness and flexibility as possible to help them out. The best way to do this is to go outside your job description, and take on additional responsibilities that may be in your current sphere of knowledge, or from previous professional experience.
In addition, you should plan to demonstrate your work ethic, your integrity, and support at any opportunity. This should include coming early, staying late, accepting unpopular assignments, whatever it takes. By demonstrating this level of leadership and commitment, you are going to win this new person over – and they will have no other choice to view you as a valuable asset.
If you can win them over, and convince the new manager (CISO) that you make his job and his life easier, he will have no choice but to keep you.
If you are able to accomplish this, you will not have to explain your short duration of employment. If it is all right with you, we will save that question/answer for another Tuesday.
Hope this helps,
Lee and Mike