Life After PR Series – “Nathan,” Part 7 – What were the factors that led Nathan to move from his position as VP and Chief Marketing Officer to assume the responsibilities of a Corporate Communications Global VP at a leading Fortune 500 transportation company?

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judith cushman associates human resources consulting life after public relations prAnswer: The focus and culture at the company he left were an excellent fit for Nathan’s values and how he felt a corporation should be run. After several successful years, Nathan began to think about his future. He realized he had a choice to make. He was in the enviable position of having two viable options.

He had demonstrated his ability as a manager and corporate leader. He had succeeded in revitalizing and extending the luxury brand for his company. That was in addition to his competence as a Chief Communications Officer.

While he was not actively looking for a new challenge, he was open to listening. Always intrigued by a major problem to fix, he understood that his current job was no longer as rewarding as it once was. His instincts were telling him it was time to evaluate his options.

Looking at his career track, the only remaining traditional challenge left was to assume the top communications job at one of the largest Fortune 500 global transportation companies. He had considered that option once before and decided it was not the right time to choose that path. At the time did not know if he would find a general management role more rewarding than a CCO role. Now he had his answer.

On the one hand, he knew he could be successful in a GM role. At this point in his career he could pursue a role as General Manager and follow that direction until he chose to retire. He was approaching 30+ years in the business and if he were to decide that was what he wanted, his timing was perfect to stay with his current organization or find a company that would promise that career track.

However, he understood instinctively that he was more drawn to a leadership post in communications than a General Manager’s job. Although he was not actively seeking a new role, he was more inclined to listen when approached about comms roles. With his reputation, Nathan was contacted regularly about these opportunities.

The compensation packages and the written job descriptions for the top comms jobs are tempting since they are the most important in the industry. However, cultural fit is key to success and there is always the risk that the new job will not be a long-term solution. For Nathan, who had always trusted his instinct, cultural fit was absolutely a key factor in any career decision and one of the most difficult characteristics to evaluate. Here is where there are no good answers since attempting to find them in advance can lead to embarrassing situations. There is no way to avoid risk and decision-making is a balancing act.

Nathan was thinking about his next 5-years. I believe he could not see himself in his current role over that length of time. There is no doubt he still felt loyal to the organization, but several market factors were slowing down his options to extend the brand into new categories. Meanwhile, he had accomplished a major reinvigoration of the company’s core products and that was flourishing. Nathan’s appetite for new challenges was unabated and he is incapable of resting on his laurels.

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