Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Bail out of a business (or industry) that isn't growing
"It was 1980. I had been working at a department store (Bloomingdale's) for 12 years, and I knew I had to get out. There wasn't really a future there for me. I was offered the job of president at Ann Taylor. I thought about it - - and when you are changing jobs, you think of all the reasons you should not do it. Then you get a little nervous. I said no.
That night I having dinner with someone who was older and wiser, Arthur Levit (then chairman of the American Stock Exchange), and I told him about the offer. He said, "I would grab that position at Ann Taylor. Department stores are a non-growth business."
He was right. The next morning I told the corporation I was interested after all. I resigned the next week. That was by far the best advice I gotten in my life. If I didn't have dinner with him that night, I don't think I would have called back and said I wanted the job. And I am not sure I'd be where I am today."