Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wall Street: CSI

“Financial Forensics” could be the salvation for many of Wall Street’s unemployed executives.

The jumble of SIV’s, CDO’s, CDS’s and the rest of the other magically created financial products that are on the books of companies, institutions and portfolios worldwide are a mystery to most. And solving that mystery is a critical step towards regaining financial equilibrium both here and abroad.

After his acquisition of Gen Re - a global provider of reinsurance and related risk assessment services - Warren Buffett, arguably the world’s most successful and savviest investor, lamented that it took his team of financial professionals almost four years to unravel Gen Re’s cache of derivatives, in order to determine exactly what they were and what they were worth.

If it took the Oracle of Omaha’s group four years to untangle the numbers from just one company, imagine how long it will take and how many people are needed to make sense of the rest of this mess. Just do the math.

There are tens of thousands of entities across the globe – public and private companies, pension and mutual funds, foundations, municipalities, charities, high net worth individuals, etc. saddled with these products and without a clue as to their real worth or what to do with them. Trying to unwind, value and unload them could be a business unto itself.

And for the legions of unemployed Wall Street executives familiar with these ephemeral securities, the end result could be long-term assignments trying to make “heads or tails” out of the morass of alphabet soup products now owned by a extensive list of duped, or at least confused, investors.

In short, the most qualified people who can get to the root of this labyrinth of financial maneuverings are those with the right background, skills and knowledge base to actually understand and evaluate them. Who better to do that job than the folks who created and sold these instruments in the first place?

There are now thousands of them in the job market. This is right up their alley and a great opportunity for them to right the economic ship they helped sink while becoming gainfully employed.

Out of the ashes, an industry is born.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Job Finding Secrets: Part II

Whoever tells you that there are no jobs out there has probably based their opinion on what they read in the press.

Sure the market is tough – real tough – and I’m pretty certain it’s going to get tougher. But with all the bad news about the unemployment numbers, I thought it interesting that an unusual number of people I’ve been working with had successfully landed jobs recently.

How is it that in this rapidly deteriorating job market, these people got jobs – really good jobs?

Personal career support is a difference maker

Thinking I might be on to something, I started looking for the common denominators among this group.

And what did I find? I found that except for falling under the category of “Executive” these people appeared to have little in common. Level, function, industry experience, age and most other variables were all over the place.

What they did have in common though, was that they all had personal career support. They worked closely with a career professional who advised them every step of the way.

A physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient

There’s real value in working with a professional. Someone who has the training and experience to help executives understand what they have to offer, determine what organizations need and would pay for those skills and develop a plan to make it happen.

Most people use a doctor to address their medical problems, a lawyer for their legal issues and a financial planner to help them manage their money. But when it comes to career advancement it’s amazing how many try to manage it alone.

That’s not a recipe for career success – especially not in these times.

Beware the charlatans

Helping others manage their career is not a skill that is easily mastered. And taking a two day training course to deliver a canned workshop on How to Get a Job is not a substitute for years of immersion in a field that is part science and part art form.

Advising people on the critical issues that impact their careers is becoming a hot job as the number of unemployed rise and fear spreads throughout the work force. Unfortunately, because career coaching is one of the few growth areas in this economy it is attracting more and more people looking to make a quick buck at the expense of others.

Real career pros are few and far between. And finding one, who is equipped to help, is not always the easiest task in the world. But, during times like these, it is definitely worth the effort.

So, the next time someone tells you there are no jobs out there, ask them how they know that and how long they have been doing career development work?
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