Monday, January 13, 2014

Why Not go back to Telecom Equipment Industry?

One of the questions in my career search is "why not go back to the telecom equipment industry" - I worked there for 20 years and also have 7 years experience with the customer (Wireless Operator)?  I am referring to the BIG Telecom Equipment industry, not the startups doing apps, specialty products and services, niche players.

First, the big telco equipment industry continues to consolidate according to the usual process of national, then regional, then global consolidation to a few large companies with many small niche companies, as described in many articles like Telco takeovers, round 2 (CNN). Note that standalone large telecom equipment companies like Lucent, Nortel, Siemens have all disappeared in the last 10 years through partnership, bankruptcy, and mergers.  This means fewer jobs, lower salaries, layoffs, and less innovation which means less interesting and less rewarding jobs.

Second, for me, it would be "same old, same old", and I would like to try something new.  20 years of Nortel with the last 6 dealing with layoffs and problems was enough experience.

Third, the industry is concentrated in a few geographic areas: Shanghai, Shenzhen, Dallas, Silicon Valley, Stockholm, Helsinki, Paris, New Jersey.  I lived in Paris and Dallas and neither was a great fit, I am not sure that the other spots are any different.
  • Dallas - good work environment but not a great place to live for us.  Nice people and low cost of living but not much for a couple without kids to do unless you play golf or like watching sports.
  • Paris - poor work environment but a great place to live.  Nice people, nice architecture, we speak French, lots of different things to do but it is very very hard to get anything done at work.  Below is a picture of the office workers threatening to blow up the Chateaufort office after Nortel's bankruptcy.  I don't think they were really serious but it gives you a flavor of the work culture.

So it brings me back to doing something different like consulting with smaller companies or being a financial planner, or maybe ..?

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