Looking to getting back up from a “career fall”quickly and effectively? What if you had solid insights from someone who has already rebuilt themselves from just such a “fall”?
Getting back up (Audio)
Getting back up from what?
So let’s say you are facing redundancy or have been made redundant. Was it a surprise? Was it “planned”? What impact will this have on your life? How can you “get back up again”? What are your options and how will you go about preventing re-occurrence?
Last week we spoke about some of the realities surrounding redundancy in business and some of the impacts we can allow such events to have on our outlook, attitude and self worth.
Today I would like to look at some perspectives on some of the above questions.
Giving yourself time
Even if you are under pressure, if you can find ways to create some “thinking time” and also sufficient time to “work your network” and research what your market is doing, you could put yourself into a substantially better “frame of mind” that will enable you to “come across” much better prepared and confident in any interviews or discussions with people that can influence outcomes for you.
In this time, I would also suggest that you figure out what is and isn’t acceptable to you. I call that defining your “walk away strategy”.
Tapping into your “right brain”
In previous blogs we have discussed the “left brain mind chatter” that seems to be more and more prevalent in our busy world. Particularly if a redundancy has you grappling with “why me” the mind chatter can be quite incessant and also loud, can’t it? In that situation more than ever it is important to find some quiet thinking time, where you shut off the left brain and create some space to be able to tap into your intuition and listen to your right brain, so that this wonderful unconscious resource that “sees, stores and knows everything” can feed you some relevant perspectives.
A most useful strategy for this is to learn the practice of meditation. You might start with reading my blog: Can you Meditate? from which you can take a simple but powerful technique I have been using for decades. If that doesn’t work (and it doesn’t for everyone) your local community centre usually will offer meditation classes, which also gets you out amongst other people (please remember the risk of loneliness in this time). There are many great meditation teachers out there.
It’s also worth remembering the “Law of Attraction” here.
Over the next weeks (and probably months) please keep a scratchpad with you always. Having given yourself “Time to Think” you will be reminded or think of lots of stuff your stressful and hectic schedule and “to do list” driven existence had prevented in the past – quite apart from “healing” and Letting Go.
In my redundancy situation I allowed myself 9 months to travel, so as to give myself ample time in which to figure out first what I didn’t want, and then to formulate what I did want, before then embarking on the required planning to set it up. My blog Moving Away versus Moving Towards might help with that.
All that time I had a scratchpad with me to capture thoughts my “right brain” gave me in a state of lack of stress.
If you choose to invest in some time to reflect, to differentiate and to plan, before “rushing into the next available job”, may I suggest you use your diary to plan your day and I urge you to differentiate:
- “Stuff” that needs to be done as per your plan
- Doing nothing but reflect
- Doing stuff you have always wanted to but never allowed yourself the time to (maybe playing the guitar, or painting or sculpting etc)
That way you ensure you don’t just “drift” through day after day.
Networking for getting back up
This is a most important time for networking. I suggest you plan to work through your contacts list, and establish phone contact with that list over time. Just seek to have a chat. If they’re in Melbourne, arrange for a coffee. If further way, the phone or Skype works just fine.
You network will become such an important lifeline for whatever you choose to do next. Nobody should feel any pressure or that you have any expectation from them other than to “be in touch” now that you have more time to do so while you “figure out what I want to do next”.
Remember how we used to say: “it’s not what you know, but who you know” that matters?
Today we need to add: “it’s who they know”. Let them know you are interested in “who they might know in their network that I might be able to add value to with my skillset”.
In this new chapter of determining what to do next, you may find the lack of the “comfortable safety blanket” your company kept you under in your old chapter a little daunting. That’s quite normal. I have found that very few people like change and not everyone is good at dealing with it. Longer term “comfortable success” makes for complacency, which is a huge risk in today’s volatile business world.
Your situation will differentiate the following:
a) If there has been a significant payout attached to your redundancy, you are now in a space (like having won Tatt’s Lotto) that you can absolutely do anything that you choose next. That will feel most unfamiliar for most people. I felt that so strongly when in that position. But remember the 9 months off travelling and reflecting? I had lots of exposure over lots of coffees with lots of people that helped me to figure out first what I didn’t want and then what I did want. That didn’t turn out to be the right thing at first and after 3 years I “saw the light” and today I’m doing what I was born to do….
b) If there wasn’t a payout, and you find yourself under pressure to replace that role, there are usually outplacement services attached to most redundancies today and I would urge you to work positively and pro-actively with them to help you find the next role that will provide the “short term” continuity you require.
However, if you find yourself in this situation, then may I also suggest in the most strongest of terms that you consider developing an investment strategy for yourself that will mitigate your ever finding yourself in this situation again.
In respect of both above situations, I have found more and more people choosing to work with a personal coach either alongside or instead of outplacement in order to maximize their options. That really depends on your finances and your attitude towards investing in yourself.
There are many options and perspectives for any career if you choose to be Pro-active, Positive and Responsible so that you can stay in control and prepare yourself for any future such eventuality. I do a lot of career planning and management coaching and one of our strategies is to assess the likelihood of “volatility” in certain roles or companies or industries etc.
In every case we also made sure to have provided for the eventuality of not “lasting” the probation period. Sometimes people left a “good job” for a supposedly better one and found themselves the victim of “LIFO” (Last In First Out) or in a role or company they just can’t handle.
I often suggest to my clients that one of their goals should be to pro-actively plan to make themselves redundant by developing great successors so that “you aren’t required anymore” and can move on to bigger and better things.
Remember that you can sometimes “plan” and influence your being made redundant as part of some longer term career planning strategies. Why not speak with your coach about this?
I don’t know the stats, but understand that a large proportion of people could not survive more than 3 months without income before they would need to sell primary assets. The majority of Australians will find themselves in this category. Are you maybe one of those?
If you find yourself in this situation it is my belief that is irresponsible to allow that to prevail. With the amount of information and education available today – freely or purchased – everybody should be able to develop a “safety blanket” strategy that creates some “money for a rainy day” to start with and then develops that into a “multiple income strategy” in the longer term. My blog It’s not what you make – it’s what you keep may also help you here.
Also, in my blog Taking Stock I spoke of one of my clients that “did a budget” and captured every expense detail for a period in order to get in control of their spending.
Threat or Opportunity?
What is your current thinking about your situation? Do you see this as an opportunity, or is it still a threat? All the above points are suggested to help you make that switch in your mind so you can make the transition in your reality.
Using a coach
I remember having the ability to work with a coach in that time of need. Rene Nathan was fantastic. She was my sounding board and thinking partner for me to figure out what I wanted (and no longer wanted) and held me accountable to making the changes I wanted to (and had to) make. She challenged my thinking and enforced my planning and ensured that I gave each step and decision enough thought and perspectives so that I could make great decisions.
If I have succeeded in raising your awareness about this sort of change, that’s cool; if it were to have reminded you that we are all vulnerable (including you) to this in our careers, even better. If it were to galvanize you into doing something to improve your situation, I would be delighted.
You will need to decide Who is driving your bus? to do that, so that when this happens (notice I didn’t say if) you will be in a much better place to deal with it, hopefully even pro-actively.
What if you could?