Was taking a job at a company that’s going under the worst career decision of your life? Nope. In fact, it could be the best career decision of your life.
So you took a job with a company that’s sailing on rocky waters, eh? They probably didn’t tell you that in the interview. (Why would they?)
If they had told you sales are down, operations are a mess and accounting looks like the place piles of paper go to die, would you have signed on? If you have a ton of experience already, you know what you need to do: Go find something better.
If you’re a young professional with , you have two options: ( to tweet this list.)
- Jump ship and start swimming toward the sweet, sweet, sandy shore of unemployment
- Tie yourself to the mast and prepare to go down with the ship
All right, enough with the sailing metaphors.
Why the company’s failure is your win
Here’s the scoop. If you landed a job in a company that’s heading straight down the tubes, you’ve just hit the jackpot. You, more than your friend who scored a stable yet boring have an opportunity to get years of experience in a short time.
You may have been hired for specific duties in a certain department, but that doesn’t mean other areas are off limits. In fact, when a company is in dire straights, they need as much help as they can get in every department. And they need that help to be cheap. What’s cheaper than an already inexpensive junior employee taking ton on more work?
They get the help they need without spending more money, and you get experience. It’s a fair trade.
A fresh face in a sea of jaded employees
If you haven’t worked for a failing company before, here’s the down low: Most of your will be extremely . They feel like they’ve tried everything. Eventually, they stop moving forward and breeze through the day.
Your biggest asset is that you aren’t cynical from the mental beat down of having worked for a dying company for years. Your willingness to put forth new ideas hasn’t been eroded. If those ideas are good, you’ll be told to run with them. And if your implementation is flawless, guess who your boss will ask next time they need a fresh perspective on something?
Yes, you have an opportunity to do whatever you want. But there’s a catch to all of this: You must be proactive and take initiative.
If sales are down, pick up the phone and start selling. If operations are a mess, put forth a plan to get things back on track. If you’re ambitious, the sky’s the limit (because, quite frankly, your boss is probably running short on solutions).
If you just want to do the bare minimum, you’ll be walking away with nothing gained. What a waste.
Scratch the company’s back, they’ll scratch yours
There’s a certain level of altruism that goes along with this approach. It feels good to pitch in and help keep a company afloat. People depend on their paycheck, and if you can help keep the doors open another year, you’ve done them a great service.
But, here’s the real reason why you should stick around: .
With all the additional skills you gain by working at a failing company — skills you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to develop otherwise — you’ll be more valuable. You can leverage those into a better position elsewhere.
Advance your career faster than ever
You see, at the beginning of your career, you often make lateral moves. For example, if you’re a Human Resources Associate, you might switch jobs and become — you guessed it — a Human Resources Associate. As you build up your experience, you can eventually start moving vertically into a higher-level position.
Slow and steady does not win the race. When it comes to your career, move up and do it quickly.
If you’re a Human Resources Associate with experience in marketing and operations, you’ll set yourself apart from other candidates and command a higher salary with more responsibilities. That’s how I went from lowly copywriter to senior marketing manager in two years without a degree in the field.
Here’s the bottom line. Everything in life has risks and rewards. Usually, the higher the risk, the greater the reward. There’s a chance your employer could close the doors tomorrow, leaving you jobless. But aren’t you in the same place if you quit?
Stick it out, build new skills and leverage those skills for a better job down the road. You’ll be glad you did.
is a former 9-5’r turned freelance writer. You can hire him through his website and follow him on Twitter at .