I saw your email, and aware of how tough consulting can be for new recruits I thought I would offer some independent advice, although I would recommend that you seek other opinions as well.
Essentially in answer to your first question :
It will help you in other applications to an extent, as you have achieved something and that is still seen as a good thing in business (I hope !). It does not necessarily guarantee you another employment contract though.
To answer your second question the answer is that nobody really knows for sure what is happening to Andersens Business Consulting, or at least if internally they do (and I doubt they do from what I read) then it is not yet public knowledge. One way you can plan is using scenario planning. What if...and then do what you can to plan for all eventualities. You could even put your own probability guesses next to each scenario, so as things develop you know your own best route ahead.
I would imagine the scenario's are :
- INDEPENDENCE. Andersen Business Consulting finds it has the financial ability to go it alone. It breaks off from the auditing practice and rids itself from the US auditing legal problems. It keeps sufficent clients from the old days and grows future business. In time the company rebrands or the problems of the last few months fade in peoples' memory.
Your contract is secure and your employment is guaranteed.
- MERGER/TAKEOVER. It merges or is taken over. It is one of the better parts of Andersen, and has some future. If this frees you from Andersen's US auditing problems, so much the better. Your contract is reasonably secure, although the loss of significant client relationships and reputation would be a concern for you as an individual and your employers. The company might choose to rebrand or be forced to by the acquirer, so in time the reputation damage could lessen. Takeovers often lead to job cuts although this should be less likely to be amongst new recruits who joined post-scandal. Your contract is reasonably secure, it becomes a question of stick it out as long as you can or until a better offer comes your way. This could be in one year or until you retire ! If the business is turned around successfully, who knows it could become a massive plus on your CV.
- DECLINE. Probably the worst scenario. Partners become paranoid, clients leave, profits turn into losses, no white knights arrive to rescue the business, the media keep giving the company negative coverage (whether true or not), company equity declines...Your contract could become worthless. Obviously you would have to investigate any possible severance pay, but after the lawyers have been in you might find you are quite low down the list of priorities in terms of pay-offs. You would have to weigh up any pay-off against the decline/rise in value of your contract achieved by staying. Not an easy equation to work out, I guess it depends on :
x - size of pay off
y - likely time spent looking for future employment
z - future alternative employment pay
w - decline/rise in value of contract (unlikely to rise for the next year at least, the thing about realising declines is that they are sudden and you never know for sure its going to happen...until it does !).
Equation could be :
w > x + (z - yw) to make you stay.
You can't really calculate it though because w is so dependant on the brand, the client base, your fellow employees...but it is the logical answer.
My only other advice would be:
- Listen carefully to those in the same boat as you, particularly those that were offered contracts at the same time as you. Andersens people aren't really androids, they are humans! What you say could upset people who are more worried than you, and unless you have reason to think otherwise they deserve some respect.
Then take a walk as events unfold, think what is in your best interests. If you do move firm, then it would be best not to tell everyone you work with until you get a new contract, unless of course it is unavoidable.
- Consider taking legal advice, but only if you do not have to pay too much for it! How much is that ? Well more than you would lose by not taking it !
- Please respect my confidentiality, and do not me quote me on this advice. These are only ideas. Being outside of this firm I can say things people inside might like to say but are not allowed to.
- Don't worry too much
- Enjoy consulting.
An independent consultant