they call purchasing. And the good work you did will be recalled."
But even outside of following any particular formula for success, progressive and successful senior level professionals are confident in their abilities and know their strengths–important characteristics, particularly in an uncertain job climate. "You always have concerns," says Davis, recalling the 2000 merger with J.P. Morgan and Chase Manhattan Bank. "Even though I was very well positioned, there’s no way of knowing whether there could have been someone equally positioned at the other company. So you’re sitting there as a senior person saying, `I hope the business plan is favorable. I hope that my senior manager is a strong enough advocate of me. I hope that my skill level or expertise is one that will be still valued.’ But I had confidence in my ability."
That is the right attitude, says Carole Kanchier, a psychologist and author of Dare to Change Your Job and Your Life. "Let’s not be so scared that we’re afraid to move," she says. "We do our best. We’re loyal to the company. Your attitude should be, `I’m not going to shiver in my boots. I can go elsewhere.’" Kanchier believes confidence is strengthened by understanding your purpose in life and staying true to it. "What is the mission statement of the company, and what’s yours?" Are they congruous?
"I’ve never been one to compromise what I believed in for the sake of what may be popular at the time," says Ross-Dulan. "For better or worse, I’m comfortable and strongest when I’m true to my convictions."
After working with many different companies throughout his 20-year career, Jefferson liked the fit at A.T. Kearney. He joined the company in 1997 and was promoted to vice president in 2000. "I liked the way they did business," he says. "I liked the type of work we were pursuing, and I liked the executive access the job afforded me. [I was] able to work with chief operating officers and financial officers. I’ve worked with people at all levels."
STAYING ON TRACK
No matter what the climate, you always have to be performance-oriented. "Use every opportunity to gain new skills, new perspectives, and new contacts," says Beverly Smith, principal of The HR Group Inc., a management consulting and human resource services company in Marietta, Georgia. Jefferson says reading has been an invaluable tool. He gathers information from a variety of sources such as newspapers, trade journals, and books on the latest topics and trends. "But it’s not just a matter of reading or being fascinated by acquiring knowledge," he advises. "You have to be able to apply that knowledge in a way that makes sense to people, so they see you as an innovator, creative thinker, a doer. You can’t just intellectualize, you have to do."
Nor can you take your position for granted, adds Smith. "Being in an organization for any length of time provides a level of comfort, job security, and, sometimes, complacency. Be careful that this