Stop Job Hunting and Make Yourself a Purple Squirrel

Stop Job Hunting and Make Yourself a Purple Squirrel
Stop Job Hunting and Make Yourself a Purple Squirrel

As a SCORE mentor, FranNet consultant and facilitator of multiple executive networking groups in Atlanta, I keep abreast of trends in the corporate employment landscape. This data helps me better guide fellow corporate refugees facing life-changing career decisions. An unexpected retreat in recruiter confidence in March has transitioning executives buzzing over what’s in store for the rest of 2017.

Case in point, results of a recent survey by ExecuNet revealed a significant recruiter confidence decline from 72% in February to 52% in March. While this significant drop does not set a trend, it does echo the sentiment I’m hearing within my circles - top level management jobs are becoming harder to find.

The Elusive Purple Squirrel
A former colleague facing his third layoff in 4 years believes he’s identified the problem, “companies are looking for that purple squirrel, which closes off so many opportunities for otherwise extremely qualified executives.” He was not referring to those scurrying critters, but to the definition known best within the HR world as the perfect person for the job – the immaculate and utterly flawless candidate with ideal experience and endless skills. Why are they searching for something that doesn’t exist? Because they can. 

"Inherent in its refusal to compromise, purple squirrel hunting has only increased the time it takes for corporations to fill their most coveted positions."

In a recent Forbes article by Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, executives can expect to spend “on average nine to 12 months in an executive search.” While severance and savings may bridge your income gap, will you be ready for the next time in this unpredictable market?

Refuse to be Defined
Chasing your tail trying to be that purple squirrel for every position you pursue is an exercise in futility. Purple squirrels are an illusion and the sooner employers realize they’re focused on the wrong process, the better we will all be. In the meantime, why not refuse to be pigeonholed by their definition of perfection? Why not take control of your destiny by creating your own definition of purple squirrel?

I’m talking about taking charge of your career through business, and more specifically, franchise ownership. You may be surprised to know over 75% of franchise owners have no prior industry experience in the business they choose. Good franchises don’t want purple squirrels; they want to train people that have transferable skills. It’s not the only avenue to escape an industry rut and I have helped many people understand whether business ownership is right for them. My specialty is transitioning corporate executives, retiring military officers and professionals seeking greater flexibility and control over their career future.

Rebuffing the notion that you are to be forever defined by your most recent career transition is not an easy task, I’ve been there myself. But I’ve learned over the years in helping people navigate through the rough waters that you have the power to control how you are defined. By creating your own corporate ladder and being your own boss, the purple squirrel is put back in its rightful place - fantasy land.

Whether you’re considering business ownership as part of a lifelong entrepreneurial dream or if you find yourself never wanting to interview for a corporate job again, I’d love to help. Connect with me on LinkedIn or send me a quick email at


Thinking of Starting a Business? FranNet Can Help