What's your Problem?

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Q: I handed in my notice three weeks ago to leave my position as HR director in a large corporation to work for an HR consultancy start-up of two people. I'm on gardening leave and due to start my new position in a fortnight. Instead of looking forward to a new adventure, I've found myself very anxious about having left the security of a big firm to join an unknown quantity at a very risky time. I've voiced my doubts to my new boss and she has been very reassuring, but am I about to make a huge mistake? My old company has already filled my position.

A: If I were your new boss, I too would be wondering if I'd made a huge mistake - in taking you on. The last thing she needs when trying to launch a start-up is a half-hearted, apprehensive member of the crew. Start-ups, irrespective of the economic climate, need levels of conviction and commitment bordering on the irrational.

There's no going back. You've handed in your notice and your position has been filled.

As it happens, recessionary times aren't necessarily bad news for small, entrepreneurial companies. Many clients will be scrutinising their existing consultancies with unusual care and may well be attracted by something smaller and more personally committed.

That's the belief you must cling to. Obvious doubt and timidity at a time like this can be self-fulfilling. Your new boss has shown her faith in you. Reciprocate, please.

Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. His book Another Bad Day at the Office? is published by Penguin at £6.99. Address your problem to Jeremy Bullmore at: editorial@managementtoday.com. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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