In my years working in fashion recruitment I have had the opportunity to meet some of the best in the business. Some of the exceptional CEO's and General Managers I have worked with have fallen from the end of the conveyor belt. Their minds and thoughts had them in an Executive role until retirement when suddenly corporate change put them out in the cold. How can you be prepared for this to never happen to you?
Life is about the evolution of change and the more you accept and re-invent yourself to move with the times the easier the passage. What happens when this theory goes out the window? I have worked with Fashion professionals who have worked diligently in their jobs, created corporate success for the fashion brand they have been employed only to loose it in their prime. In an industry dominated by generation y and x, frequently the baby boomers have found themselves in this situation. The biggest issue is that as a baby boomer your wealth of experience in fashion may not count. The industry is about youth and energy and you may be left out in the cold.
So you are 45+, worked 2-3 jobs in your fashion career and held Executive roles with an exceptional salary, company car, frequent travel and generous bonus. You have worked with autonomy and been able to run your business life as you had chosen. The bottom line is a j-o-b is just that a j-o-b. Whilst it may have some appearance of security you were not the master of your destiny.
So how at 45+ are you going to make the next 20 years as comfortable as your former years? In my experience the volume of roles available in Executive Management within a fashion environment are significantly less than the number of Executives who find themselves in this situation. More often Executives find it necessary to move industry and apply their knowledge in a less youth dominated market.
If you had the foresight to create security for yourself your outcome would have been significantly different. Here are two suggestions to secure your future.
Equity, when you are in the prime of your working life it is the perfect time to negotiate equity within the business that you are growing and developing. If you truly believe the business has legs, invest in it. It takes a forward thinking Executive to restrain themselves during salary and bonus negotiations and to ask for acknowledgement in the form of investment within the business. In my opinion this can come in two forms. Direct equity injection leading to shareholding or salary sacrifice equity injection also leading to shareholding. Either way your foresight into investment within the company will give you a share in the company and go some way to assuring your future. As a shareholder in the business you are much harder to budge. You can obviously be ‘bought out' if the major shareholders wanted you to depart but you should make some extra money in the process.
My second suggestion is to take an idea and create it. One of the most secure means to assure your future is to leave the job and be the boss! You are an Executive and you are smart. Search good ideas, develop the concept and take a risk. You have succeeded in other peoples businesses why not flourish in your own. For some the thought of taking such a risk is too daunting but I have met many an Executive who had opportunity and did not embrace it. Use all of the knowledge you have gained and couple it with the adrenalin of owning your own business and you have a huge future ahead of you.
Lump sums don't last so relying on a generous severance package to see you over the void of not working can be dangerous. Invest your severance package in your future. You are much better off even creating a small business than being at the mercy of corporate business where your future is determined by someone else.
There are an abundance of services to offer advice to small business and making incorrect business decisions while developing your future is all part of the creation. Don't be hard on yourself and ensure you get the right advice, even if you don't want to hear it; it could save you a lot of money in the long run.
As a first class risk taker, I assure you that success is the most enjoyable personal experience you can ever have. When the fruit of your success is yours the drive to be even more successful is a thirst that is almost impossible to quench.
By: Natasha Zurnamer -Natasha Zurnamer is a co Director of Rat Race Recruitment Online, the global hub of fashion jobs featuring 150 fashion job categories and new fashion jobs listed daily. To search or advertise jobs in fashion visit www.ragtradejobs.com