It Could Happen to You!

Lessons from Bear Stearns

Friday, May 30th, 2008

A year ago if you were a Bear Stearns executive, manager or worker bee, you were at a great company, riding high. Record earnings. As good if not better than a the other great investment banking firms. And whether you were making millions of dollars or just making a living, you always had the exalted brand BEAR STEARNS for your resume. You thought to yourself, “That’s one thing no one can ever take away from me and I can leverage it to a better job elsewhere if I don’t get promoted here.”

Needless to say, thousands of people who thought that way at Bear or Countrywide or any number of companies soon found out that virtually over a weekend their company’s reputation simultaneously imploded and exploded. And with it, personal reputations and that sterling resume were soon sullied.

So, what do you do if you rely on your employer’s name and history only to find sand running through your hands when the firm is taken over and you are pink slipped or shuttled off to a corner other than a corner office?

What you do is proudly keep your company’s brand on your resume. You achieved a great deal at that company and should be truthful to prospective employers and search firms about your accomplishments. Sophisticated prospective employers are going to recognize a great deal of talent is going to be available after these disasters. Be honest about what your role was and was not. Do not denigrate your former superiors, but talk and write about all the things you did to make the company great.

Don’t lie, don’t exaggerate and above all, don’t act ashamed. Make certain you have great outside references to back up your claims and push through the crisis. You will get hired, you will get a chance to do it all again if you act properly. If you did participate in illegal or unethical activity tell your story to a lawyer instead.

And if you are not one of those people caught in this current crisis, don’t be surprised given today’s climate for scandal and mismanagement that your company won’t be next. Just ask the former employees of WorldCom, Enron, Barings…

It could happen to you — so be prepared.


Comments are closed for this post.