wrote the first edition of "Career Alternatives for Bankers." The year was 1992, and Mr. King, then head of a company that helped banks develop and market checking-account programs, was witnessing the effects of a nationwide banking recession on the Nashville area. Career bankers were losing their jobs in droves, and many did not know where to turn. Some were even knocking on Mr. King's door, thinking that his company, FISI-Madison Financial Corp., was a bank. "People were looking at their careers in terms of what they had done, not in terms of what they could do," he said in a recent interview. This realization led Mr. King to write a book advises bankers on how to jump to a vast array of other careers, ranging from consulting to insurance sales to teaching. Mr. King, who is now chairman of Careers Inc., a company that provides recruiting and outplacement services to banks, has just released a second edition, with an updated directory of the names of potential nonbank hirers and phone numbers. While not available in bookstores, "Career Alternatives for Bankers" can be obtained through Amazon.com, the Internet bookstore, or at Careers Inc.'s Web site, www.bankjobs.com. But times have arguably dimmed the book's significance. Thanks to a strong domestic economy, the banking industry's fortunes have improved. Employment in banking has grown 1.2% over the past two years, despite the endless layoffs related to mergers and restructurings, according to Regional Financial Associates, a West Chester, Pa., economic consulting firm. In other words, most displaced bankers do not have to look beyond banking for their next job. But despite the good times, Mr. King says bankers need to remain nimble. After all, good times do not last forever. "It is a much easier time to find a job in a bank," he said. "But the consolidation hasn't stopped, and we will probably go through another period similar to the early 1990s." Mark Zandi, chief economist with Regional Financial Associates, agreed. "Over the long run, the number of commercial banking jobs will continue to decline," he said. "But those losses will be more than made up for by job growth in nonbank financial services." This is where Mr. King's book comes in. Its central premise is that bankers must think broadly about how their skills can be used in the corporate world. In his introduction, Mr. King writes that many of the best alternative career paths are in industries that sell to banks or in companies that compete with banks, like mutual funds and insurers. In a chapter titled "Assessing Your Aptitudes," the book argues that bankers need to "identify what you know how to do, what you do well, what you like to do, and how you think those skills can transfer to other areas."
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