Career Advice Tuesday – “A Case of Bad Timing?”

November 8, 2011

Dear Infosecleaders:

After about eight years at the same employer, I recently left my position (about five months ago) to begin a new position, as the head of information risk management at a fairly large health care company.     This career decision coincided with the completion of an advanced degree (MBA) from an well-thought of local university.    The new role is going great.  I very much like the people.  All of the things that they promised during the interview process have materialized, and I have had some early “wins” which has helped me establish credibility and the foundation of  a strong internal brand.

All was going smoothly until….  I received a call from a colleague from my MBA program, about an opportunity to interview for a position as the Chief Information Security officer role of a similar size company.  The background that they are searching for, is directly in line with my past experiences, the pay package is about 20% greater (stated), and the commute would be about 30 minutes shorter each way, from my current job. 

I am really interested in the role, and if I was presented this opportunity along side my position, I would have selected it, for the reasons stated.   However, I am not a job hopper, and after being at a role for only five months, my question is should I pursue the role.?  And if I happen to get it, how would this look on my resume?

Please help me figure this out (quickly),


BD Timing


Dear BD:

Very simple, my advice is to go on the interview.

One of the many things that information security professionals and other corporate employees do not have control of is the presentation of opportunities.    Therefore, it is important that you understand that your responsibility is to yourself, your significant others, and your career – and unfortunately not the corporation that you work for.

I know that this sounds harsh – but for a majority of US based corporations, employees are “employees at will” and therefore can be terminated or relieved of their duties without any explanation or notice.    The reason I bring this up, is that if your current employer had a massive lay off, went out of business, or was acquired shortly after you joined, how do you think they would have treated you?  Do you think that they would say, well we just hired her/him, so we need to keep paying them, although they are not useful anymore?  Of course they would not.  They would place their own interests and the interests of their shareholders ahead of you and your family.

So, go on the interview and investigate the opportunity.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Once you have had a chance to get the initial interviews out of the way,  I want to  make sure you let the manager of the interview process know (either HR/the hiring entity/or the executive recruiter) to make sure that there is not any issue with you leaving your employer quickly – to engage in the process.

It would be good to get this out on the table, as early as possible, to avoid wasting any time.    If they raise objection, you can point to the past history and your long tenure of employment with past employers.

If you want to, you can say, to them … “Look, if I accept this position, I am going to have to make it work, because I could not afford to have two short terms of employment”  That may provide them with some validation of your self awareness, and the fact that you are thinking about this role as a long term career decision.

In closing, if you do wind up taking this role, you should expect to hang in there for a while.  Everyone is allowed one “short term decision”, a second one is indicative of a “pattern”, that could create future obstacles.

We wish you good luck on the interview.  Let us know how it goes.

Hope this helps,

Lee and Mike

Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Behavior, Career Advice Tuesday, Interviewing, Planning, Position Selection, Recruiting 


3 Responses to “Career Advice Tuesday – “A Case of Bad Timing?””

  1. Career Advice Tuesday – “A Case of Bad Timing?” | Business Tutorials, Courses and Articles on November 9th, 2011 4:40 am

    [...] Career Advice Tuesday – “A Case of Bad Timing?” [...]

  2. valdez ladd on November 12th, 2011 6:31 pm

    Best to stay with your current employer. The early wins and opportunity to learn the new role may have given him a false sense of success. He did not mention any research about why the position is open.

    Management turnover is lower in healthcare and harder to enter. So he should weight his success in the long term for his current employer. This would avoid the “short term” position misstep in a weak economy while avoiding a possible failure at a unknown company that could lead to two (2) short term positions.

    A final note is that the opportunities in Healthcare due to Meaningful Use, HIPAA audits and HITECH is more than enough challenges to satisfy a builder of a risk management program in service to the greater professional community.

  3. Lee Kushner on November 14th, 2011 11:55 am

    The crux of the question was should the candidate interview – as opposed to – if they should leave their current role. Choosing to investigate an opportuntiy and choosing to accept it – would be similar to accepting a “date’ versus a “marriage proposal”. It would be up to the candidate to determine during the interview if the opportunity is “open for the right reasons” (it could have been the initiation of a new funciton) or if the opportuntiy has long term merits. There is risk to everything, interviewing should enable the candidate to assess the risk, and then make a solid career decision. Thank you for your input – and interest in the blog.
    Lee Kushner