Recession-Proof Your MSL Career

If you are in school or heading back to school to get a MBA or other degree, good for you. I’m not going to knock on getting more education. Frankly, many of you are back in school not by your choosing, but because you were told that your decade-experience is less desirable than a doctorate degree with a couple of years of experience (or even no experience at all). Then there are those of you who are back in school because your peers are getting that extra degree, and suddenly your “one doctorate” looks lonely after your name.

I am concerned to see more MSL professionals armed with multiple advanced degrees but vulnerable on demonstrable leadership record. Our MSL resume database are seeing increasing numbers of multi-degreed candidates. The danger this poses is that those of you with many advanced degrees appear “more expensive” or “harder to develop” in a profession that has seen a steep rise in salaries.

With industry-wide cost cutting and sales-job cutting, you may wonder if the MSL profession offer you better stability. Is “field science” in a better professional position than “field sales”? You may worry about the future of your jobs and wonder what your career path will look like 2-5 years from now.

I don’t know the definitive answer, but I have concerns about the development of the MSL profession.

I can say this: at a time when everyone is cutting back because they are scared, you want to invest in yourself by:

1. Acquiring applicable skills that make you truly marketable.
2. Demonstrating leadership that increases your company’s confidence in your ability to get significant things done.
3. Focus first on value you provide before aggressively negotiating perks and benefits for yourself.

What does this mean in the real world?

* Volunteer for that special project within your company.
* Take that personal development seminar even if you have to do it on your own dime and your own time.
* Be proactive in ethically and effectively reaching across functional silos.
* Show that you can be a leader with peers OUTSIDE your company, within your profession at large.

In my years working with MSL Institute, I’ve learned that many of you WANT to lead, but you may not have the platform or the opportunity. The question then becomes, how do we create these opportunities in our organizations?