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Have you changed jobs lately? That’s what GlobeSt.com’s Quick Poll asked last week, wondering if readers had changed jobs in the last six months. Of the more than 430 responses we tallied 24% said they had, while 76% had not.

Though we knew it would be hard to find a commentator who had hard data on this question, we were well-served speaking with Jane Snoddy Smith, the president of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW). Though the recession is causing turbulent times in the commercial real estate job market, there are also opportunities that professionals can grab on to, she told GlobeSt.com.

There is a lot of flux, and that will probably go on throughout the year. But for the 26% that have made a change, the question is: Did they go and get another job, or do they not have a job. If they don’t have another job, it’s a great time to innovate and recreate themselves. When you have this much change going on, it creates more opportunities. I’m seeing a lot of people who, at the end of the year, were laid off and are now forming their own companies. They’re doing what they did before, sometimes with the same people. It’s a time of people forming partnerships to go after different projects. If they’re not now with their former company, they’re teaming up with other providers who can offer a package of services. And they sometimes market themselves better or even at lower rates. Whenever we have these kinds of moments of greater change, it’s probably an opportunity, not just for people who are now looking at doing something different, or doing it differently.

For the 74% it’s a great opportunity too. I know people who are going to different firms, and I may have known them as colleagues and friends before, but I didn’t work with them. They changed positions, and it opened up an opportunity for us to work together. When you shuffle the deck, you get new combinations. It can be scary for people, but it also means there are new ways of connecting and partnering with people that are good. It can be more innovative.

Our attendance at CREW meetings are up. People are there to connect with each other, to talk about what they’re doing and get information. We see a resurgence because of that. But I also think that it’s going to continue for a while. I don’t know if it’s going to get as high as what some people predict. I know a lot of people who left last fall who are in new positions. They went through their network of people and were able to connect and sometimes create positions for themselves.

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