The Bottom Line

(This an updated combination of two posts from late 2013)

Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.” Does the same sentiment apply to losing your job?  Here are a few words and phrases that I’ve heard over the years that all basically mean the same thing:  terminated, fired, made available to industry, sacked, canned, separated, exploring other business interests, discharged, axed, RIFed, laid off, whacked, given the opportunity to be successful elsewhere, dismissed, and let go.  Did I miss any?

There are subtle differences between some of these words but otherwise they are all variations on a theme with different levels of sensitivity or compassion mixed in.  As you might have been able to tell, I’m compassionate, but I’m not an overly sensitive guy.

The bottom line is that for whatever reason; you don’t work here anymore.  It’s time to move on, start networking and find out where you are going to work next.  That may be easier said than done, but what’s the alternative, sleep on your mother’s couch?

In 1969 Elisabeth Kubler-Ross published a book called On Death and Dying that changed the way that we looked at the grieving process. Kubler-Ross identified five stages in the grieving process that, with some perspective, can be applied to being fired.

  1. Denial – No, there must be some mistake – they can’t fire me I’m a good person and a hard worker.
  2. Anger – It’s not fair! I do way more work than Joe, fire him! This is discrimination!
  3. Bargaining – There has to be another way. How about if I take a cut in pay? Could I work part-time for a while? Maybe if I get some more training?
  4. Depression – Whatever – I’ve seen this coming – there is nothing I could have done – I probably deserved it – I should have left when Bob quit.
  5. Acceptance – Okay, what’s done is done – time to move on and find that next job.

The deal is, that you will not be effective in looking for a new job until you get to stage five. While this may sound harsh, you just need to get over it and move on. You might have been discriminated against; there might have been a chance for you to take a cut in pay; maybe there was a mistake; but at the end of it all, you’re sitting at home on the couch watching Judge Judy when you should be out looking for a new job. No pitty-party, no woe-is-me; it is time to get up, brush off your resume, start networking, and get to it.

Looking for a new job is a full time job. If you let your anger at your former employer come out in your interviews, no one is going to hire you. If you pout and whine during a networking meeting, no one is going to refer you to their contacts. If you can’t get off the couch and make some phone calls, your network isn’t going to grow.

It’s hard, but it’s life. I’ve been there. I’ve seen lots of other people and I am confident that you can too. Now get up, get to work, and let’s find that next job.

—————-

If you want more advice on how to write a resume, how to, network or just how to find a job, check out I’m Fired?!? A Business Fable about the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another. Click here for more details.


What are you afraid of?

I have a friend who lost his job following an acquisition. He was over 55 and had 30 years with the company. He hated networking. He tried it and then he simply refused to do it anymore. He mailed resumes, and mailed resumes, and mailed resumes. Ten months later, he took a job that he hated. Two years after that, he simply retired. The reason that he hated networking and his search failed was fear. He was afraid of rejection and did not want to put himself in a position where someone would have to tell him “no.”

Any Star Wars fans out there? What did Yoda say to Luke Skywalker when they first met on whatever jungle planet that was? That Luke was filled with hate and fear. He would have to control or release that fear or he would not be able to control the force, and the dark side would get him.

One more movie reference – what was one of the top songs of 2013? Let it Go, sung by Elsa in the movie Frozen.

So, what’s the connection here? If you’re reading this it is likely that you’ve lost your job. You may be angry with your former employer for putting you in this position. You may be upset with your former boss who wouldn’t listen to you. You might have issues with the last company that said they were going to make you an offer, but didn’t. You might be concerned that you are going to run out of money before you find a new job. You might be angry with your spouse who thinks you aren’t trying hard enough. Maybe you have been rejected so many times you just can’t take one more! There are lots of emotion during the job search process, and not many of them are helpful in finding a new job.

I am an NPR addict and listen every morning and evening. A few weeks ago, they aired a story of a man paralyzed by fear. To help himself he invented a game called Rejection Therapy. Click here to listen to that story. I’m not recommending that you start playing this game, but I’m also not saying you shouldn’t. It worked for him.

If you are consumed with fear and anger, it will deeply effect you, and your job search. You will be unable to convey confidence and positive energy if you are angry at the world or desperate for someone to hire you. As Elsa says, “let it go.” I’ve been in your shoes and I understand the frustration. But whatever has happened has happened and there is nothing you can do to change that. The only thing you can control is your behavior right now. In this very moment, you can act in the manner that is most likely to move you forward in the direction you want to go.

The poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann says, “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

You will find a job. Accept that as a given. Let go of the anger of whatever happened to put you in this situation. Face your fears of rejection or failure and put them behind you. Move forward with confidence and purpose. Embrace the future and you too, may become a Jedi.

———————-

If you want more advice on how to write a resume, how to, network or just how to find a job, check out I’m Fired?!? A Business Fable about the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another. Click here for more details.


The Seven Ps of Job Search

I had an idea – a blog post about persistence. I talked with a friend of mine not long ago and he told me that he was 0 – 60 in applications. He’d applied for 60 jobs and had yet to get an interview. Then, not more than a month later, I saw his LinkedIn update that he had a new job – and a good one. He had shown persistence and not given up.

Then I thought, maybe he had also shown perseverance. Not only had he needed to keep going looking (persistence) but he had also faced challenges. Over that time, he had income pressures. After an extended period of unemployment, it is easy to lose confidence, and he’d worked through that. Yeah, perseverance was a good word.

Positivity is another good word for his situation. During an extended search it is easy, and understandable, to get depressed. The problem is that depression feeds depression. If you allow yourself to feel down, it shows. The people you interview or network can feel it. They are less likely to hire you or share contacts if they sense you aren’t really interested. That interest jumps when you are enthusiastic and exude positive energy.

My friend also understood power. He knew that his attitude affected others and he knew that when you feel powerful, you are more confident and successful. Check out this amazing Ted Talk.

Planning was another constant in his search. Every week he planned his calls, follow-ups and thank you’s. He made plan for finding a new job and he worked that plan.

Another strength was praise. Throughout his search, he showered praise and encouragement on others. He did not miss an opportunity to thank someone for their time or support. He spoke well of his former employers and opportunities.

Finally, he was at peace. It’s easy to get angry. Angry at those who fired you and those who don’t hire you. However, anger is generally not a very helpful emotion. Peace, on the other hand is calming, reassuring, and steady. Peace is not passivity, indifference, or acceptance. It is a calm, controlled, assurance of good things to come.

So, persistence led me to perseverance, positivity, power, planning, praise and finally peace – the seven Ps of job search. Spend some time today thinking about your search and how you can put these Ps to work for you.

For more details about I’m Fired?!? A Business Fable about the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another, click here.