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Hatching A Plan B

Posted on: October 3rd, 2011 by Bill Keenen

My music has stopped, gotten louder, started again and changed keys several times. After UCLA, I spent eight years doing public accounting as a CPA with Deloitte. Using my media experience, I joined KTLA-TV and then Wometco Broadcasting. I was the original CFO at E! Entertainment Television, helping the network grow from an idea to a global brand. After 11 years there, I chose a new career as the CEO at, an Internet music exchange.

When I resigned as CEO in 2002, I was lucky to find CFO work – both consulting and full time. In 2007 I heard Eric give his talk on “Crossing the Rubicon.” (Even with three years of Latin he still had to explain it to me.) So I started Keen CFOs, which provides interim CFOs for media and entertainment companies.

Lessons learned:

Think about what you don’t want to do – This will help if you don’t know exactly what your Plan B is. There were several problems with me being a CEO. My ego liked the title, but my sleep habits and personal life suffered tremendously. I did not want to run a company; I wanted to work for myself.

Spend time each week “not working” – When you have a job, you may feel that networking is “not working” or “not what I’m paid to do.” Not so! Active networking while you’re employed provides the dual benefit of helping both you and your current company. The more contacts you make and cultivate, the better able

“When you have a job, you may feel that networking is ‘not working’ or ‘not what I’m paid to do.’ Not so!” Bill Keenan

you are to solve issues related to your current employment (in addition to ensuring that another job, career or business opportunity awaits you).

Give and ask for help – Go out of your way to answer questions and provide networking contacts for others. Treat those in transition as you would want to be treated.
It’s good karma and also ensures when you need to ask for help, folks will be there to take your call.

Keep track of contacts – The next time a salesman comes to call, learn what he uses to keep track of his contacts. Follow the ABC principle: Always be selling…
yourself! Study the techniques of the good salespeople you come across. Most finance professionals have ignored these skills for the entirety of their careers.

And finally, transition will be constant – Be aware of this fact, accept it and be ready to act when change occurs. I’ve had several careers so far, and I know that I will have more. Be ready with a Plan B… and possibly a Plan C and D. I am certain the music will start and stop again. Fortunately, I love all kinds of music. Rock on!

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You Asked We Answered

Question: I've been out of work for a while. Do I take a job offer if the pay is awful?

Answer: Yes, taking a job, sometimes any job particularly if you have not worked in a while is good not only for your paycheck but for your mental health as you search for the job you really want. There is no shame in accepting work for honest pay. You are in transition and you need to remind yourself of that and not feel bad if the job you have now or are considering isn't willing to pay you what you are worth. There will be a job out there that will and you need to use all of your resources available including interim work to realize your goals. Taking a low paying job in the meantime may bruise your ego but it won't kill your pride or your wallet.