Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Being a career strategist is such an honor. It gives me the opportunity to be of service to professionals when the rug has been pulled out from under them – to dust them off, shore up the broken pieces, and create an action plan that gets them working again…this time around more prepared, more focused, and happier than they were in their previous work.
Recently, I was brought in by another consulting firm to manage a three-month transition project. A division was being closed…a business decision to move these functions to a different state. The exiting people are being given a substantial incentive to stay until their replacements are trained.
My job was to create a container of hope and support them as they face an unknown future. It is such a privilege to give about-to-be-jobless professionals the tools to succeed, the tools to recover from a change they did not want.
Yet job change doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
A very few of them are OK, such as the man who has 6 months net disposable income already saved up, and with the severance can make it nearly a year without changing a thing.
But then there are others. What about the man with a wife 9 months pregnant and they just bought a house? Or the woman being sued by her former husband just to get back at her? Or the man who just discovered his wife ran up $40,000 in credit card debt and now has to figure out how to find work and recover from constant calls from bill collectors. Or the single mom who has to find a new place to live quickly because she knows no one will rent to her if she is jobless. Or the woman who has let herself go while caring for her handicap daughter, weighs 200 pounds too much, and doesn’t even have an email account.
Most were caught unprepared for an unknown future. This was not supposed to happen to them. And it’s not suppose to happen to you. How do you keep from being so vulnerable from things you can’t control?
I am surrounded by dozens and dozens of stories as I weave my message of hope. I give professionals the tools to job search using up-to-date methods, and all I can say is it’s like a sacred dance. I honor their story without judgment. I give them permission to dream again.
With each person, we put together a plan, developing compensatory strategies for the things getting in the way. I watch with delight as the hope returns to their eyes as they bounce back, even though at times it is difficult. Courage fuels action. Solutions are forged. Their career change story becomes more textured, colorful, and purposeful.
Yet before any of my work begins, I pause and I breathe and I wait until I, too, am purposeful. I wait until I am peaceful.
I first take care of myself then I invite others to do the same.
Here are 5 action steps to stay pro-active BEFORE a layoff.
1. Take inventory of your financial health. What are your assets? How much debt do you have? What is your minimum overhead needed to keep the lights on? Do you have at least $1000 saved for emergencies? Do not use credit cards to get you through a layoff. Instead, build 4 months of revenues equal to your take home wages. That will give you breathing room.
2. Be of service to others. Become known in your community. You will need this community to help you discover your next opportunity. Build it now.
3. Take inventory of your emotional and physical health. Are you walking 30 minutes a day? Have you stopped eating foods that are poison? Have you increased eating foods that will increase your health and vitality? Are you taking time to rest and attract things into your life that brings you joy? Do you consistently get more than 7+ hours of sleep each night. Have you forgiven or at least let go of people and events that make you mad?
4. Surround yourself with people 3, 5,10 years ahead of you in your career. Be inspired. Learn from them. Create accountability partners and be purposeful with your goals.
5. Take inventory of your career strengths. What do you enjoy doing, and what working conditions bring out the best in you? Build a pro-active plan for your future with contingency plans.