“When I Grow Up, I Want To Be In Business Continuity Management!”

14 08 2014

improvisation“You do what?”  That’s what most of us hear so often when someone asks us what we do for a living.  Dedicated business continuity as a profession is still in its infancy and it still gets a lot of quizzical stares when you talk about it, similar to what IT professionals used to experience in the mid ‘80’s.  “Wait, you mean that’s an actual job?”

So what IS a nice person like you doing in a place this anyway?  Did you know you’d end up on call all the time and working almost 24/7 during some future employers’ crises?  Very few of us actually planned on being in this industry when we were younger.  Sure, maybe we obtained degrees in business or project management and/or have a BC-style background in the military.  But very few of us, even several years into our business careers, were aiming at working in BC or even knew it existed.

I certainly didn’t until an organization I used to work for created a BC division to help their clients.  Once I learned about it, I was all in.  The very concept fascinates me: pre-planned, tested activities that help keep companies strong even if they’re dealt what would previously would have been a mortal blow.  And keeping everybody employed!  Crazy.  And now that I’m here, I’m here to stay.

My education and overall background are in marketing but I come from a restaurant family so we’ve always been involved in hospitality one way or another.  And that’s how I look at business continuity – making sure people are taken care of.  BC takes it a step further, though.  It’s taking care of people as well as possible when they need it the most.  And, more importantly, when their organizations need them to be performing at their best.

shareSo we practice, improve, evolve and always learn from our mistakes.  But the most important thing we can do is pass along what we know.  Mentorship is important in any industry and, just like we once were, there are always new, less informed folks coming in.  I remember my first light bulb moment when I realized not only that business continuity existed but that it was an essential business tool.  I was touring a popular FBO at an airport in the Orlando area and the owner showed me the way they sheltered their backup generator – on a trailer to get it out in the open within moments when they need to operate it – and their backup supplies to keep the business running when the next hurricane hit.  “You think general aviation isn’t pretty important to keep in business after a bad hurricane?” she asked me.  Almost 8 years later I got a big kick out of taking a much younger new coworker to the same place to show her how they prepared for interruptions.  I still remember the “Ohhhhh!” look on her face.

Especially those who have no idea what we do.

So what about you?  How DID a nice person like you end up in a place like this?  Tell us below.

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Continuity Housing helps companies enhance their business continuity plans by pre-arranging guaranteed housing and providing logistical support for mission-critical employees during disasters.  Subscribe to the Continuity Housing blog (in sidebar at right) and follow us on Twitter, on YouTube, on LinkedIn and on Facebook.  To subscribe to our mailing list and/or to find out about a free 30-minute consultation, let us know.

 

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6 responses

15 08 2014
Brent Wagstaff

I would like to think of myself as the newest generation of business continuity professionals. Unlike all of my continuity coworkers who more or less fell into the industry I intentionally pursued this line of work. I’m 26 and work for a financial company in Denver on the corporate business continuity team. I graduated this past year with a bachelors degree in Emergency Management. While I didn’t grow up intending to work in business continuity once I became aware of the area of study I knew that’s what I wanted to do. My experience is unique at this point in time, but this may be the future of the industry. Someday you may see degrees offered in business continuity,disaster recovery or a combination of the two. I can see more and more people intentionally entering the industry like I did.

16 08 2014
continuityhousing

That’s great, Brent, and it’s nice to see younger people recognizing it as an interesting and challenging career choice because it definitely is. Maybe someday you’ll work with us!

16 08 2014
Beverly Schulz, CBCP

I get the “You do what?” question too! I am one of the “old timers” who fell into BC by accident. My degree was in Business Management, but my mother raised me to be a worrier. She was always worrying, asking if I had a quarter for the pay phone or if the gas tank was full. So, when I found a job where I get paid to worry on behalf of a company, it was a perfect fit! It’s been a very interesting 19 years and I am thankful that I don’t have a boring job!

16 08 2014
Dan Shellenberger

I had created other successful programs for my employer at the time. After a couple of back to back hurricanes they asked me if I would be interested in creating the BC program. Had no idea what it was but jumped in feet first and found out I love it. Currently doing DR and it isn’t anywhere near as interesting.

18 08 2014
John E

I was offered a position in BC as a consolation prize when I did not get the original position I wanted in my department. And I am all the more better for it. 2 years later I am on my way to my MBCI and my MSc that includes business continuity in the title. Along with enterprise risk management, BC is one of the most exciting fields I can be in right now.

19 08 2014
Matt

There is no reason in this day and age that BC or emergency management should be considered a secondary option. These are both very important industries which are moving towards becoming a professional. However, it is important that start to filter and no longer accept people who think of it as a as a consolation prize. It is about having pride in your career choices and promoting it as something important (which it is) that requires extensive knowledge.

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