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When one door closes, open all the windows

It is not hard these days to find someone close to you who has lost their job, been reorganized into a different job or who is feeling the pressure whether this quarter will be the quarter they lose their job.  Unfortunately it is a sign of the times and while it is never fun hearing those words that your job has been eliminated or you are being replaced it is equally as hard to deliver those words.  I have had the experience of being on both sides.  Notice I didn’t say unfortunate experience, that is because every experience whether good or bad should help to mold us and make us better and is the basic theme of this blog.

Normal Response – The five stages of grief

  1. Shock
  2. Denial
  3. Anger
  4. Bargaining
  5. Acceptance

I’m sure at one point in your life you heard someone talk about the Five Stages of grief, if not then here is a quick suggestion – take your time and know that it is okay to experience every single one but do not stay in this state of limbo for too long.  You have bigger and greater things ahead of you.  I know some people who have gone through losing a job many times in their life and who can basically get through the five stages at lightspeed – that is the life of an entrepreneur, which this friend is, knowing if you stay down too long people will walk over you.  However, it is important you go through the stages and the process.  Here’s a typical example of how this works.

Employer: “sorry to say this but I have bad news for you, we have to eliminate your job in order to align our expenses with revenue.”

Employee: “what?  why me?  I cannot believe this is happening.  I’m working on so many projects and didn’t think this would happen to me.”

That was the “shock” part of grief, but then when you begin to start telling your friends, co-workers and family the shock turns to denial and from denial you will find your well meaning friends and family are just feeding right into your anger.  Be careful how many people you share with, anger feeds off of this type of dialogue and while I agree you need to go through the stages, you don’t need to ignite an inferno.

The last two, bargaining and acceptance, usually come rather quickly together – you make a couple of phone calls and you negotiate why you believe the company made a mistake, you offer proof points, etc. and then ultimately you just move on and are in acceptance.  Hooray!!!  Now that we have stepped off of that crazy train, it is time to start a new journey to a brand new destination.

Now where do you go?

Resume – of course, if you haven’t updated your resume, you need to do so now.  If you haven’t refreshed it in a bit, think about getting it professionally done.  In most situations where your job is being eliminated or simply removed due to downsizing, many companies will provide a service to you for free where you can get advice and help refreshing your resume – take them up on it, they are trying to help you through a very difficult time with as many resources within reason to ensure you are given the best opportunity for  your next move.

Reaching out to your network

  1. Social Networks
  2. Personal Friends
  3. Family
  4. Current/Previous Employer

If you don’t have a network or say that you aren’t a social media person, then I hope you maintain the connections in other ways like handwriting letters, making telephone calls, visiting these contacts when you are in the same city they reside.  Yes that last bit was more tongue and cheek…get over it and jump in with both feet to the social media side of things.  Build your network of people, stay connected, get involved.  The more you stay engage the more your name comes up when someone is looking for your particular skill set.  Let this network know that you are back in the market and will be looking for your next opportunity and be ready to respond with exactly what you are looking to do next and not just give a lazy response like, “well, I don’t know what do you think I should do?”.

Making your plan

  1. Set a goal: Where you want to be in three to five years
  2. Identify your skill gaps keeping you from your goal
  3. Create milestones to close the gap
  4. Write a job description of your dream job today and make sure you have a 50 word summary of this job you can share with others
  5. Create a 30-60-90 day plan outlining what you would do to make this dream job successful
  6. Refine:  constantly refine this plan

My brother once told me, over twenty years ago now, “you should always plan your work, then work your plan”.  This is exactly what you have now created, you have created your personal business plan to get you to the goal you have set out for yourself.  Now, work this plan.  When you are asked what it is you would like to do next – you have a response, use your 50 word summary!  And if they ask you for more information, you can share bits and pieces of this job description you wrote to provide greater insights into your passion and desire for your career.

Be honest with yourself when you identify your skill gaps, you may even want to ask a close friend or colleague to help you with this one.  It is critical you understand where you are gapped so you can get the right training to close each gap.

The job description should be the best part of this task, but for those of you who do not like to write, you may find this a bit daunting.  If that is the case then grab a digital recorder and start recording your ideas for your dream job.  One very important tip, just let the ideas flow without a care in the world for grammar, diction, etc.  just let it flow.  When you do finally write this up, you can make your adjustments then but not during your dream phase.

I usually ask candidates for a 30-60-90 day plan, because it shows me they are thinking about the role and the various “to-do’s” required to be successful.  While I have rarely been asked for one, I make it a part of my own due diligence to create a plan if for any reason so I may articulate during the interview process my thoughts, ideas and plans for the role and how to achieve mutual success for the business and myself.

One thing hiring managers want more than anything is to hire someone with a purpose, who knows what he/she wants to achieve and since you have established this personal business plan for yourself, job hunting becomes employment conquering – it puts you in control and believe me your confidence will show.  Without a doubt the best candidates I ever interviewed were those who had a plan for their career.

This plan is never done, so always refine it, always make it better and as a result you will be better too.  When one door closes, open up all the windows and make yourself successful.

-Chapa signing off

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