02:35 PM
Alan Geller
Alan Geller
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Are You a Career 'Exerciser' or 'Roadmapper'?

Almost all workers looks to improve their position and compensation. But certain individuals also look to provide added value to their employer. What type of employee are you?

US regulators recently let banks know that their "living will" bankruptcy plans weren't adequate, according to a Wall Street Journal article (subscription required). It seems regulators were none too happy with the preparations the banks had made for their living wills.

According to the article:

    In a sweeping rebuke to Wall Street, U.S. regulators said 11 of the nation's biggest banks haven't demonstrated they can collapse without causing broad, damaging economic repercussions and ordered them to show "significant" progress by July 2015.

    The Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said bankruptcy plans submitted by big banks make "unrealistic or inadequately supported" assumptions and "fail to make, or even to identify, the kinds of changes in firm structure and practices that would be necessary to enhance the prospects for an orderly failure."

From the tone of the article, it appears that the banks are treating this as an exercise -- a useless regulatory drill they are only doing because of a mandate -- instead of providing regulators with a meaningful and concrete roadmap to address the problem.

The same can be said of how many financial services industry professionals treat their own careers. Most place status ahead of results and are vastly more interested in issues such as title, level, and compensation than they are in the professional contribution they make.

A note that I received yesterday underlines this point. This comes from an executive who asked to review information about a hands-on opportunity that contained no title information whatsoever:


    Thanks for this. Upon review, this appears to be a junior role.

    Please let me know if you have senior mgmt roles in the organization, MD/Partner roles.

Here is my reply:

    Dear Candidate,

    The people that I work with place results ahead of status, title and level. Does that hold true for you?

Here's his final response:


    Agree very much. There's also a financial component in this as well, right? Thanks for the info though.

Nothing in that response addresses why this individual should be placed in an MD or partner role. That would require too much effort, wouldn't it?

In fact, when I ask motivated financial services industry veterans who have prioritized making a career move to provide me with the specific information I need to represent their candidacy, they treat the whole thing as an exercise -- even going so far as to say: "I haven't thought about it that way. This is an interesting exercise."

Unfortunately, it's not an exercise. These same individuals are employed by the same banks that, as stated above, are making "unrealistic or inadequately supported assumptions" to regulators that require a concrete roadmap to fix a problem that could bring down our entire economy again.

This really leads to the question: Are you an "Exerciser" or a "Roadmappper" when it comes to your career?

If you're an "Exerciser," you'll view providing the following request for information and forward-looking statements about yourself as "too much work." If you're a "Roadmapper," you'll say, "Bring it on" and simply provide the requested responses.

Let's see how many Roadmappers are out there. I challenge the readers of this article to connect the dots about their professional capabilities -- independent of title, function, and compensation -- and clearly provide the following information:

  1. Target segment: Break this down by specific type of organization, specific division within that type of organization, and the forward-looking pain relievers or gain creators confronting the specific individuals (titles and functions) who could hire you, related to the markets they serve.
  2. Your objective: List the objective reasons your candidacy makes sense, taking into account your proven competence and track record of accomplishment, mapped to the above mentioned pain relievers and/or gain creators.

Please note that the roadmap starts with a target organization's situation, not your background and not what opportunities are available. Any takers?

Alan Geller is the Managing Director of AG Barrington, a specialized financial technology recruitment and placement firm. View Full Bio
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