A valuable piece of advice
I was lucky enough to work for many excellent bosses. One of them asked me at lunch: “And what is your plan B?”. Actually, everything was going fantastic and I had no answer ready. “You should always have a plan B.” It was one of the most valuable and honest professional advice I’ve ever received.
BY THE EDITOR // KARIN M. KLOSSEK
The cooperation with my boss at that time was excellent, I made good progress professionally and I was also happy in my private life. I could not give an answer to his question at that time, because I was confident and would do my best, as always, that it would continue like this. I had seen no need to think of a plan B, let alone to work seriously on a plan B.
His advice was that no matter how good and committed you were, you could still be. There are developments that are completely beyond your control. The company can be sold and the new owners have completely different ideas, important market factors can change fundamentally as a result of political decisions, and a previously highly profitable industry suddenly struggles to survive. Or it’s much simpler: You get a new boss who wants to replace you with one of his former confidants.
He should be right with his experience. A few years ago I met my former boss. He asked me the same question again and this time I could proudly report that I had a plan B and had already invested quite a bit of time and money to realize this plan B.
When I asked him about his plan B, he told me what it looked like. The following year he had to implement it, as the strategy his international board was planning for the German market was not a viable option for him. Today he is very satisfied with his Plan B at that time. I am sure, however, that he has again a worked out plan B and will not neglect it at any price.
Plan B is like a lifeboat, which is ready and with which you can leave the scene of the incident as quickly as possible. Maybe not quite as comfortable and close to the wind, but with time they gain speed and reach land. Time is the decisive factor here. Some developments cannot be foreseen. But developing a plan B takes time. Time and inner peace, both of which are usually not available in difficult situations. Because before the finale, the waves of experience show that they are particularly high.
That’s why it is so important, especially when everything seems to be going in the right direction, to think about it seriously:
– WHAT COULD I DO IF I HAD TO REINVENT MYSELF TOMORROW?
– is there an alternative activity that would be fun and make money for me?
-WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TODAY TO BE ABLE TO CHANGE TO MY LIFEBOAT TOMORROW IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY?
Plan B means a serious change in your professional career. It does not mean changing your employer or living from now on on your own or married assets. It is a really serious career change.
Preparing a Plan B requires a lot of thought, time and investment: new skills have to be learned or old knowledge refreshed, a new network has to be established, exams may have to be passed and potential returns calculated.
You may be one of the few people who never realize their plan B because plan A runs almost perfectly from start to finish. Congratulations. Nevertheless, an elaborated plan B has the invaluable advantage of knowing that you are prepared for the worst case scenario. You radiate this inner strength with a plan B in your back pocket and maybe it is exactly this sovereignty that makes you so successful in your plan A.