small change: your 7 career options


small change 


Ciarán Fenton

How small changes in your behaviour will have a big impact on how you work, lead or follow

That’s the working title of a book I’m writing, initially as a series of short blogs.

Blog 1 small change: seven principles

Blog 2 small change: your career is a unique business

Blog 3 small change: your soft balance sheet

Blog 4 small change: your D Liability

Blog 5 small change: your timeline

Blog 6 small change: your formative years

Blog 7 small change: your A asset

Blog 8 small change: your career equity

Blog 9 small change: your curriculum vitae

Blog 10 small change: your emotional intelligence

Blog 11 small change: your reputation

Blog 12 small change: you, three years from now

Blog 13 small change: your purpose, strategy & behaviour (PSB)

Blog 14 small change: your soft p&l

Blog 15 small change: your 7 career options


Seven principles

Principle 1

Your career is

  • a unique business,
  • one over seven billion in its uniqueness


Blog 15  small change: your 7 career options

your 7 career options

If you are at a career crossroads, or even if you are not, you have at all times seven career options:

  1. Stay where you are and make it better
    • Usually, I encounter people who are forced to leave their current role through “redundancy” or because they are miserable and massively in soft deficit in their soft p&l.
    • Or, their corporate careers are over, and they are ready to launch a “portfolio career”.
    • But sometimes I meet people who are desperate to leave but shouldn’t. They should stay, try and make it better by confronting the demons that will follow them wherever they go.
  2. Leave and start your own business or a new business 
    • This option includes launching a “portfolio career”, your own consultancy or if you are a “serial entrepreneur”, another start-up.
  3. Leave and join a start-up
    • There are lots of these, and you can frequently trade salary for equity.
  4. Leave and join a growth business
    • Growth businesses are likely to be able to pay you more and tend to be more stable.
  5. Leave and join a mature business
    • This is the “classic” move – from one role in a mature brand to a similar or better position in a mature brand.
  6. “Downshift”
    • If you can afford it, stop working, at least in the accepted sense. Do things you love doing.
  7. “Exploit” family opportunities
    • Sometimes I meet people who could work in their family’s business, if there is one, and choose not to for various reasons. This option allows them to think again.

So, there are seven options. I have offered a bottle of champagne to clients “in transition” who can come up with a credible eighth. Although a few lawyer-clients have tried, I have not given away a bottle since I chose Option 2 in August 2002.

Whatever you decide, each day take full personal responsibility for your decision to stay and make it better, or leave. Don’t drift. Unless, of course, drifting is a conscious decision and purpose.

For you, what is the “scariest option”?

That’s the option you should be considering today.


Ciaran Fenton



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