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  • Feras Kurdi

Working for a Failing Company: What it Does to You and to Your Career

At some point in your career, you might come to a crossroad decision. A failing company that will offer you double your salary to leave your low-paying but secure job at the stable enterprise and join that struggling organization. Risk takers will tell you to run for it. Your ego will tell you to go play hero. Your gut will likely tell you to be careful. And, some risk-averse friend will warn you against the odds. After my experience down that road, I would say listen to your gut and think again about that warning from your friend. 



At some point in your career, you might come to a crossroad decision. A failing company that will offer you double your salary to leave your low-paying but secure job at the stable enterprise and join that struggling organization. Risk takers will tell you to run for it. Your ego will tell you to go play hero. Your gut will likely tell you to be careful. And, some risk-averse friend will warn you against the odds. After my experience down that road, I would say listen to your gut and think again about that warning from your friend. 

Timing. First, I would say that timing is everything when making such a decision. During mid-career stage in your life, stability is essential to what comes next. Even though you have probably completed your advanced education at the time, you still need to spend at least several years in your mid-career after that with a professional and successful organization. Those years will not only sharpen what you’ve learned in school, but will also help straighten your discipline and professional habits in the workplace for that you’ve probably gotten rusty while back in school. And if you think that is rusty, wait until you board that sinking ship prematurely and you will not even know what hit you.


So, the second thing you need to know is that a sinking business will most likely have a chaotic environment, mean culture, and bad reputation all around. In such an environment, you will have to be the influencer because once you let it get to you, you will find yourself swirling down so quickly before you know it. Therefore, your decision should not be weighed heavily by the fact that you’re smart and educated alone. You need to be sure that you are the right personality type; the alpha charismatic influencing leader. If you’re not, you will be damaged and probably increasingly so the more you stay. And that means your return to the world of light again will be dreadful to say the least.

The next factor in your decision is compensation. Say you’re leaning towards taking the offer, you should realize that compensation to you is different now. The new company should not just offer you double your salary, but also compensate you for career damages should things go wrong. On a sinking ship, no one cares where you end up after you’re on board. They assume you’ve calculated that risk and you feel compensated enough for your troubles with that attractive salary.

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