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How to make boss transitions between starkly different industries/fields?
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DonovanVC Offline
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Post: #1
How to make boss transitions between starkly different industries/fields?
I've been reading about Steve Bannon, and see he made some crazy transitions in his career, from Naval Officer, to Goldman Sachs veteran, to owning his own boutique firm, to hollywood producer, to media boss, to chief strategist for Trump.

I am wondering - how can you learn to make such boss transitions between such starkly different fields/industries?

I find things these days are much more concentrated than they used to be. You look at a typical job description, and companies are looking for people with significant deep experience in a couple of primary fields, rather than stints spent across multiple careers.

In terms of my own experience, I am hoping to soon make a big transition, though not sure exactly into what. What I have going for me is a diverse set of work and living experience - working in legal/advisory consulting for 3 years and now legal services product management the last 2 years.

My network is mainly built through client relationships I forged through time at my current firm (a small to medium sized consulting firm but with international presence and business), but I'm scared to touch these contacts while still at my current employer. The other problem is the contacts from this network are mainly out of my state of residence. My in-state network built off my own personal networking is very weak as our US office is based in a smaller state where there aren't really a lot of industries beyond real estate and tourism with much representation.

Part of me feels like you got to be in a bigger city to eventually make a more extreme transition (Bannon probably made killer contacts while at goldman sachs courtesy of living in NYC, which gave him media contacts to eventually parlay into Brietbart and Hollywood).
01-06-2017 11:28 PM
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Ranch Hand Offline
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Post: #2
RE: How to make boss transitions between starkly different industries/fields?
DonovanVC,

I have made two major career transitions. Many people (especially women invested in your accumulated previous career status) will say that is one too many. Still, you seem to have the "strike out" yearning. That's all good, I understand completely, very admirable.

Your current customer list is pretty much off-limits, especially if you have a non-compete/confidentiality agreement. But your skills are likely more transferable than you consider. Honestly, your skills are in highly ambiguous (and challenging) fields such as legal consulting/services. Perhaps the specific application of your current employer is very narrow (totally understandable as everyone should find a niche to exploit) but your true skills are very broad (legal expertise in a given field is narrow, but legal capacity in a variety of fields is more "fungible" and a matter of immersion into a niche). If you "got smart" in one legal field, then you are probably smart enough to "get smart" in another. I'm not discounting experience totally, but you should take a broad look at your skills, especially if you are still in your 20s or early 30s.

If you like your field and seek an employer change within your field, then I agree: 1) go where there is a lot of action, 2) make yourself useful, 3) climb the ladder. Maybe it is time for a move to a bigger city in your own field...

But your topic is about making boss transactions from entirely different fields, so it appears you are willing to cast a broader net than staying "in field."

Have you ever attended a franchise expo such as: http://www.ifeinfo.com/

That experience changed my life in many ways, and I encourage any Red Pill Aware Man to at least consider attending such a conference and owning their own business. Small business ownership is not for everyone, but I encourage you to consider it.

There are two more websites also worth visiting:

bizbuysell.com and
businessbroker.net.

These are the "realtor.com" and "zillow.com" of the small business world. Good places to search by industry or by location.

No matter what you do, you are largely asking "will my leadership ability work at the next place?" It is a fair and serious question. Some time ago, I read the following principles of leadership:

1. Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement
2. Be Technically and Tactically Proficient
3. Seek Responsibility and Take Responsibility for Your Actions
4. Make Sound and Timely Decisions
5. Set The Example
6. Know Your Soldiers And Look Out For Their Well Being
7. Keep Your Soldiers Informed
8. Develop A Sense of Responsibility in Your Subordinates
9. Insure the Task is Understood, Supervised, and Accomplished.
10. Train Your Soldiers As A Team.
11. Employ Your Unit In Accordance With Its Capabilities

Now these rules were built for military application, but trust me they apply to the civilian world pretty well also. Rule 1 sounds awfully familiar to any regular rooshvforum visitor, and I agree it is so critical.

Donovan if you were to really consider your true skill set, then compare it very openly to available opportunities, maybe you would see more options. I suspect this is what Bannon did. How does a man follow his career path without a few curious moments of introspection that he obviously had along the way, and the realization that his skill-set was pretty broad after all?
01-07-2017 01:00 AM
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DonovanVC Offline
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Post: #3
RE: How to make boss transitions between starkly different industries/fields?
Ranch Hand,

Thanks for the advice. Your evaluation is definitely spot on. I am indeed in a niche area of the law, but nonetheless a growing niche due to growing federal regulations on everything. With that said, I find my career prospects in this area to actually be slim because I don't have big law firm experience, which is typically preferred if one wants to switch to an in-house role. I am an attorney myself and worked in our legal team 3 years but crossed over into our products team, which has given me experience starting my own product for the company, generating revenue, doing sales, setting up operations, etc...which potentially allows me to transition into a different area more easily.

What is primarily holding me back is networking as my in-state network sucks and I don't see it growing much as long as I stay in my current location. My finances are pretty strong aside from student loan debt but I'm not sure if I am ready to quit and move to a bigger city to help facilitate a transition into something different. I am weighing the prospects of doing this now but am leaning more and more towards it each day. I may give myself six months to try and grow the network via online efforts and if I still don't achieve what I want, then an actual move would probably be the right thing to do.

I checked out the sites you provided. Those are amazing. My products experience definitely gives me the foundation to start my own business but I'd definitely need to decide on a location should I want to do that. I think in about 3 more years I'll be ready mentally.
01-07-2017 03:24 PM
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Ranch Hand Offline
Sparrow
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Post: #4
RE: How to make boss transitions between starkly different industries/fields?
DonovanVC,

The product team has given you some excellent experience - and maybe the taste of running your own shop. New product lines, sales, setting up operations: those are critical to any business. If you can't currently pull the trigger to starting a business then indeed maybe the move to make is to a bigger market, get more experience, then move out or up.

Are you looking to provide your own consulting services to customers within this niche? If so, then really consider your legal non-compete status with your future employer. Likewise, consider it from an operational perspective. I have a variety of vendors that had employees "strike out" and start their own competing business. Overwhelmingly I stay with the original vendor unless they are clearly inept or corrupt. If you are dealing with small businessmen, that is how many will react - we've all been burned and have a certain distaste for it. I'm not so sure about bigger corporate customers... It may be different and they may value "that guy" (you) as their man to keep in reserve.

If you are looking to become in-house General Counsel to a prospective customer, then I suspect the big city move will help also. This is where your network will benefit most.

If you can start a part time side business (the elusive location- independent thing?) then do so. It will give you the taste of small business and might tap an unknown niche.

In either event it sounds like the big city move has advantages for you, expenses aside. If you are single and can keep your finances in order, then cool. I cannot stress how critical it is to have a respectable credit score and sound finances when starting your own business. Stay on top of that stuff. Mistakes now will prevent you from that line-of-credit in 3 years.

Some good books are E-Myth, E-Myth Revisited, and any of the Millionaire Next Door books.
01-08-2017 04:32 PM
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Brodiaga Offline
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Post: #5
RE: How to make boss transitions between starkly different industries/fields?
How to make boss transitions?

-Be smart.
-Be well educated.
-Be well spoken.
-Look good and professional.
-Have connections.
-Be ambitious.
-Be good at office politics.
01-08-2017 04:49 PM
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Jack Of All Trades Offline
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Post: #6
RE: How to make boss transitions between starkly different industries/fields?
unless you have transferable skills at a high level, your pretty much starting at the bottom again. In your position since you have access to relationships you should really leverage your client relationships to get what you want in the industry you want.
01-11-2017 12:11 PM
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DonovanVC Offline
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Post: #7
RE: How to make boss transitions between starkly different industries/fields?
Yeah, I worry that switching would cause you to start at the bottom - unless your coming into something new through connections. I doubt you can apply to a job in a totally different industry and think you are moving laterally to any degree.

Consequently, that is why I am strongly considering moving to a place where I can build a better network, and leverage that network to transition into something new.

I'll likely work my current job in my current city until around June and then try to make a move to a city where I can build a stronger network.
01-14-2017 08:06 PM
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