Friday, February 28, 2014

I Just Lost My Job. What Do I Do Now?

It happens to me at least one time every week.  Someone reaches out to me looking for help because their world has just been turned upside down.  They've lost a job or they've left their first career without a solid plan for obtaining the first job in their second career.

This past week was no exception.  Someone I knew from my time at the University of Kentucky reached out to me because his software engineering job at one of the nation’s largest banks has just been eliminated. 

I’ll call my friend Tom.  Tom has frequently been a top performer in his groups at work.  He’s had multiple managers in recent years so there really hasn’t been anyone above Tom who really knows just how much he contributes.  His managers have come and gone through a revolving door.

When the “Bean Counters” as Tom described them decided they needed to cut cost in order for the CEO of the bank to make a larger bonus, Tom was in the wrong group at the wrong time.

Tom didn't ask to be a job seeker.  He simply became a job seeker.  I listened to Tom’s story for quite a while.  I could hear the anxiety, stress and anger in his voice despite his attempts to mask these emotions.  He has every right to feel the way he does but he can’t get stuck in these emotions for too long.  He needs to develop a plan to move forward.

When I started asking Tom what he is great at; what he does better than anyone else around him, he couldn't precisely answer my question.  In order for Tom to find not just his next job but for Tom to find the right job, I suggested that he really ought to slow down just long enough for us to discover what his natural strengths are so that once he understands his strengths, he can search for a job that will enable him to align his strengths with his chosen work.

Tom’s first reaction was that he was too busy to go through this process.  Too busy?  I challenged Tom to reconsider just how busy he is.  I asked him if he wanted to react to his current situation or if he wanted to respond to his situation. 

Tom is now contemplating our conversation as he learns more about his fate at work.

We are all built with unique talents and strengths. 

The key to maximizing your professional performance, job satisfaction, productivity and “personal stock value” is to discover what you were built to do in the first place and then go do it.'s Security Recruiter Blog