man holding lightbulb with wires/lights in his hands

Jeremy 42 is a managing partner in a professional services firm and has been with them for 10 years. He is a steady performer doing well financially (200k+) depending on the year and settled into a niche part of the business as an expert. He is well respected by everyone in the firm and a key part of the management team. With two children, ages 9 and 7 he wants to be able to spend more time around them particularly at their sporting and school events. One goal he has is to coach soccer for his kids as he played in college. His commute is making that impossible since he spends a minimum of 2 hours a day commuting which often turns into 3 hours.

The work is not all that exciting since he has become the firm’s “expert” in a particular area. There are plenty of challenges such as meeting deadlines, creating deliverables, modifying contracts, and developing junior associates. For him work has become fairly routine. He could branch into other areas if he wanted, however, has not taken the time and effort to build an additional book of business. He has become very comfortable with his current situation.

He came to me looking for assistance in determining where to start with his search and how to go about it. Some requirements were that he had to keep his salary at the current level, reduce time on the road, have significant vacation time, and be in a position of leadership.

We started with sharpening the elements of his vision for the perfect position. He determined his desire to move was based more on family lifestyle than work. Spending time with the family became the primary driver rather than professional responsibilities. That did present some challenges as leadership roles are what commanded the salary, he was familiar with and looking for.

Examining his skill set he was very clear that business development and networking were not his strong suit. It was also clear that his expertise forced clients and colleagues to see him as one dimensional. Most of his current book of business was referred to him from previous clients or colleagues in the firm. He was capable of a broad range in his field however, his recent experience did not reflect that capability. He also wanted to keep his search confidential.


The first actions were to determine how to search what the potential market was for him. We started by having Jeremy identify potential firms and individuals that might be able to assist him in answering that question. That meant working on his networking skills. We worked on what networking was for him. He came up with a definition that translated into small meetings, presentations, coffees or lunches with colleagues. He explored other firms made connections and even applied and interviewed for several positions.

The Results

What Jeremy discovered was that changing firms would cost him significantly in salary. He was not going to be brought in as a managing partner. He would have to start as an associate and build up to partner. That was disappointing.

He also found that he was actually pretty good at networking, using his style. Renewing previous relationships, creating new ones, and building on his reputation as an expert proved beneficial. One result was that it brought some new business in his area of expertise.

He also examined going into business for himself, which after doing the research he determined would take up more time than his current situation. Nope going to hang out his own shingle.

Looking at where he was gaining traction, he made the decision to go to the management team and make a proposal. He proposed that he work from home at least two days a week with the potential for more if he cultivated clients in his geographic area. The management team accepted his proposal with a plan to implement it in increments to ensure it did not have a negative impact on business and development of junior associates.


Jeremy is working from home approximately two and a half days a week. He has improved his book of business and gained a couple of clients in the area where he lives. He has adopted a business development approach based on his networking strategy. As an assistant soccer coach, he participates with his children’s teams several times a week.

Jeremy is much happier in his current arrangement. He is still focused on his vision of being a well-paid executive with time to live the lifestyle he wanted. He did not change firms however; he did transition his career to be focused on what is most important to him. Jeremy is controlling his career.