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Help Tarun!!!

I am a 31-year-old senior research analyst in an equity research firm in Mumbai. I have been working with this firm for the past three years. The firm recently reduced pay across the board by 25 per cent. I have been trying to find another job, but have not been successful so far. I am an MBA from a second rung business school, and have been involved in research work throughout my professional career. Should I study further? What do you suggest? What kind of opportunities are there for people like me?

It's a difficult time for most people in your field, and I'm sure you are aware of this reality. It's not going to be easy for you to find a new job in the same field. You may have to compromise to an extent, regarding the post offered. I think you need to look at other areas such as banking and market research, as possible changes. You can always change fields completely and get into sales or any other areas too.

I am a 45-year-old Vice President (marketing) working with a transnational FMCG company in Delhi. I have been in this position for the past four years. I believe my performance has been above average, but my firm is taking me for granted. Hence, I have started talking to headhunters these days. Currently, I have two offers. Both are at senior Vice President level. One is in a related FMCG company, and the other is in a healthcare services company. The latter is offering a higher pay packet. But healthcare is a completely new field for me. The first is an easier option, but the second one seems to be more exciting. What do you suggest?

Healthcare services is a very exciting field right now, so it is a toss up between the stability and confidence of a known environment and the insecurity and challenge of a new one. Both the offers are good. The choice will depend on what your personality traits and current needs are. However, find out whether the healthcare company is serious about its intentions and whether they have other businesses, which will either take the load off a new venture or be able to absorb you-in case this one does not work out. That will give you a better idea of the risks involved. Of course, if healthcare services does not work out, you can always move back into FMCG.

I am a 33-year-old marketing executive who recently moved from a dotcom to a media house. It was at the same designation with a 10 per cent salary hike. The job is exciting, as the media house has ambitious projects in TV, print, and internet. I have recently received an offer from a reputed dotcom to join as the head of marketing. I am reluctant to give up a stable job, and at the same time miss the charm of a dotcom environment. But I am also worried about making the same mistake twice. What should I do?

Look at the facts. You have shifted jobs only a few months ago; you like the present job, because it is stable and the company is growing; you have left a dotcom company once; and last, but not the least, the dotcom environment has not really improved in the last few months. Now weigh these against the charm of the dotcom, and decide what you want to do.

I am a 35-year-old IIT/IIM graduate, working as a consultant with a transnational consulting firm in Bangalore. I have around eight years of consulting experience with reputed firms. But, now with the US economy slowdown, there is a slack and the firm has recently sacked seven people in the country. I am scared that being one of the recent recruits, I may be the next in queue. For the past nine months, I have been repeatedly asking for work, but the organisation doesn't seem to trust new recruits. What should I do? I sit idle the entire day, making worksheets on how I am spending my time doing nothing. Even though the job scene is not encouraging, should I start looking for another job?

You should certainly look for a new job. You have worked in consulting firms for eight years, which means that you were probably engaged in an operational job. You also have excellent academic credentials. Consulting may not have too many new jobs to offer right now, hence you can try for jobs in other areas (since I do not know your earlier work background, it's difficult for me to recommend any sectors). However, if you are keen on consulting, you have the option of looking at competition or staying in the same job until better options come up. Don't quit before you find another job-unless you are asked to take a cut in pay, in which case you may not have a choice.

Tarun Sheth, the senior consultant at the Mumbai-based recruitment and training consultancy firm, Shilputsi, addresses your career concerns every fortnight. Write to Help,Tarun!!! C/O Business Today, F-26, Connaught Place, New Delhi-1.

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