You’ve been fired, cut back, laid off, rendered redundant. So what can you learn from it all, other than the fact that you might have been in the wrong industry at the wrong time?
ClearRock, a coaching firm based in Boston, just sent me a release that had some interesting nuggets. Here are some of the lessons it suggests learning from what it calls an “involuntary job separation”:
· A job is not a career. As managing partner Annie Stevens puts it: “A job is comprised of the duties you perform and the responsibilities you have for a particular employer. Your career, however, is the sum of all the jobs you have held, your accomplishments with these employers, your educational achievements, and your acquired learning. Jobs come and go, and the average employee can expect to be involuntarily displaced several times during his or her career.”
· Performance matters. Of course! A mediocre performance evaluation should be a warning sign that you may not have access to your office for much longer.
· There are often warning signs before a job loss. Your supervisor and other colleagues didn’t make direct eye contact with you as often as they once did. You failed to achieve the one or two most important tasks you were hired or promoted to do. People in other departments knew more about what was going on in your own area than you did. You stopped being invited to important meetings, or being consulted about future plans. You were discouraged from traveling or joining trade associations.
· Work on your potential professional and personal shortcomings. Keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date, especially when it comes to new technology or changes in your profession. Toot your own horn with your boss. Recognize the achievements of your own direct reports, and ask them for ideas.
· Keep your career network up to date. Be prepared if something unexpected should happen in your career. Keep your resume updated, stay in touch with people you may need to network with if unemployed, and continually make new potential networking contacts at trade associations, community meetings, and other events.
· Don’t rush into a new job. This is ClearRock’s final piece of advice, which may work best if you have a slush fund to pay the bills. Consider not only what you can do for a living, but what you want to do as well. If performance-related reasons for your being released were a factor, you may need to update your skills, change your attitude, or try to transfer your experience to a career for which you are better suited.
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