What happens when you find yourself without a job?

Sometimes after the rain, the sun will shine, and beauty will come.  This month I’m focused on adapting.  I thought about, what happens when you find yourself without a job?  To me, that screams, adapt!  I find myself reflecting on the time when I lost my job.  It changed my perspective and caused me to adapt.

Approximately a decade and a half ago, the leadership team, in which I was a member, was tasked with downsizing the operation. It was a small operation.  We put together a plan which required some difficult choices.  What would the new organization look like, what talent would be needed and in the end who would fill roles?  The planning took months, and toward the end (~2 weeks) of this planning, I was left out.  I didn’t think much of it at the time.  When it came to the day of the announcement, there were two meetings held: one session for those that were leaving and one session for those that were staying.  I was in the leaving group.  I was hurt.  I literally closed that factory many nights.  Turning off the lights, setting alarms and leaving last.

My perception of the situation at work: I had helped lead this group through a lot of the decisions, and in the end, I had no value in the new organization.

My thoughts of the situation at home: I had a baby that was less than 1 year, and I’m out of a job?  I had no plan to look for a new job with a new baby.

They were keeping us for a few weeks.  As it turned out, within a couple of days, another team in the company picked me up.  I was “fortunate” to be given another opportunity in the company.  Others were forced to find different options.

The situation caused me to make some significant changes and adapt.

  • I rearranged our budget.  I knew exactly how I would downsize if I lost my job.
  • I continued to maintain relationships so I could trigger options.  I built confidence in the fact that I would be of value somewhere else, and I knew how to execute on it if needed.
  • I made sure I was educated enough in the business, and I could speak to the high-level details and some of the more in-depth information.  I made sure that I could visualize a path and a strategy for the future inside the business in which I participated.

Why am I telling this story?  It was impactful, and it brought out emotions of betrayal, lack of value, and insecurity.  These emotions aren’t necessary if you don’t wait for a shock to adapt.  Be ready to adapt when needed.

Here are some thoughts to consider when building an adaptable career plan:

  • Build a personal financial plan to allow for flexibility in your career plan.  For example:
    You may want to take time off for a baby.
    You may want to build your own business and will need capital or time to build up clients.
    You may want to retire early.
    You may wish to have a new home for your family.
    You may need to know what discretionary spending to cut.
  • Find your value and be confident in your ability to contribute.  What is something you do very well?
  • Build some options around that “something.”  Who is in your network to help build these options into a reality?
  • Know your business.  Understand the state of the business, the plan, and the vision.

Then when the rain comes, you are already looking up to see the beauty shine.  Be ready to adapt!

Please give feedback and comments.  An interactive audience enables learning for us all.




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