I’ve left a number of jobs. The excitement about what comes next is always electrifying and I’ve always been a person to look forward to the next thing. That is the fun part about leaving. Hopeful optimism as I step into the unknown. Good thing I am a “grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” person and not a “stick with the evil you know instead of the evil you don’t”.
One thing that has never changed for me is that it is always so hard to say goodbye to the good folks that will be sorely missed. Once someone isn’t a coworker anymore I tend to lose my “game face” and my emotions leak out. It’s hard not to feel sad when I get a big hug from someone I really liked seeing every day. When I leave I always try and say goodbye to every person I worked with. Every single one. It is a taxing day, and this time I didn’t quite manage it. There were a few folks (and some of you read this blog) that I missed. It wasn’t intentional, our timing was just off. Goodbye – it’s been fun – best wishes – may we meet again.
There are people from each and every company that I’ve worked at that I wish I could still work with. They are all different. Some are quiet. Some are loud. Some are always serious and business-like. Some are always looking at the funny side of work. Some really pushed my buttons but they made me a better person in times of confrontation. Some are sensitive and helped me to realize when I might be stepping on toes. I’ve tried to keep in touch with most of the people I developed a connection with. Sometimes it is difficult because work was the only common interest. Other times old coworker became lifetime friends. And, one of my favorites is when old coworkers become new coworkers under different circumstances. It’s so nice to see a friendly face that I know I can trust.
When my old coworkers and friends found out that I lost my job, I received a huge outpouring of support. Frankly, I was shocked. I got notes and phone calls from people all through the span of my career. I heard from people in CT at UTC where I worked fresh out of college, I heard from IBMers from 15 years ago that I haven’t seen since, I got great support from ex-Nortelers, those that went through the Caspian days, and of course from some ex-coworkers from my recent position. Thank you everyone – I hope to see you all again in another company someday!
Times are tough. Companies are looking at their resources and figuring out which ones will provide the most payback. This isn’t just products and equipment, it is people too. Now is not the time to rest on your laurels. It doesn’t matter what you did last year, two years ago or 10 years ago. There are a lot of people who live in the past. They remember the highlights of their career. They believe that because of what they have accomplished before that people should respect them now. That is not how the world works today. Every day you need to earn the respect of your coworkers and your superiors.
Your previous experience just doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is how you perform today and if the skills that you have are directly relevant to the company that you work for. Close enough isn’t good enough. Sometimes there just won’t be a role for you going forward even if your performance is good. Just because you were successful at something before doesn’t mean that the organization hasn’t changed around you.
Right now I am struggling to absorb this. In the 23 years my career has lasted, I have never found myself involuntarily out of a job until now. Looking back at that – considering I have changed companies a number of times – preferring small and underfunded ones – I have weathered the dotcom bust while working in a startup – it is quite an amazing statistic. It’s an interesting place to be and it surely will change the perspective of this blog somewhat. I’m a little angry, a little sad, but a lot hopeful. I’ve been looking for the proverbial kick-in-the-pants to motivate me to do something different – and here it is. In a few short days I will no longer have a desk to go to and an identity that can be defined by my position.
I am so fortunate compared to many others who are in my predicament. I am not living paycheck to paycheck. I will still have good health insurance through my husband’s employer. I received the news during my favorite time of year – May/June – before it gets too hot and after the days have gotten longer and the cold is gone. Hope springs eternal when my garden is blooming.
I have the time to decide what I want to do and when I want to do it. Right now I think that the opportunities are only bounded by my imagination. I have a list of projects a mile long that I want to accomplish. I want to dive into some of my hobbies full speed as well. I am actually worried that I won’t get to everything that I want to do. Imagine that! I think I will be too busy!
This is directed at executives looking for a job, but much of this advice is applicable regardless of where you are on the corporate ladder:
Korn/Ferry’s Career Playbook: Winning Strategies in Today’s Job Market
In early 2009, The Korn/Ferry Institute launched a new thought leadership series called “Korn/Ferry’s Career Playbook: Winning Strategies in Today’s Job Market” to address executive job seekers’ most frequent and pressing questions.
The first article in the series explores the best ways for an executive to ensure a positive outcome to their job search, and is based on insights from a number of seasoned Korn/Ferry consultants who were interviewed for the piece.
Posted in Tactical
Tagged Job Search
Article from the Wall Street Journal –
“When it comes to self-promotion in the workplace, hiring managers say some people go too far and block their path to the next level. You might call them the corporate world’s “American Idol” wannabes. Like many contestants on the reality TV show who extol the greatness of their singing abilities and then end up sent home, corporate idols sing praises about their abilities without delivering tangible evidence to back up the claims.
And recruiters and employers say they’re seeing the behavior more frequently in the current bad economy, as some candidates try harder to impress interviewers and workers go out of their way to hang on to their jobs.”
Posted in Tactical
Tagged Job Search