So what do you do?
Situation: Out of work. Limited severance package. Bills? Due. Family? Three dependents. Opportunities.. ?
I left the office with two boxes of junk and my briefcase. One of my pals helped me carry stuff to my car during which I tried to be positive about what had happened.
The wife and kids were at soccer practice. I stood there on the edge of the field with the other moms and dads watching our kids play. All of the other fathers had jobs - I didn't. I was a big, fat loser. My wife would hardly look at me; she just past the time with the other moms and cheered on our kids.
After soccer practice meant an Eating Out night in our house. That meant Chik-fil-a or Luby's. With small children, you don't get many choices. Chik-fil-a it was.
My wife glared at me over our chicken sandwiches and as soon as the children went into the play area she hissed "Why didn't you see this coming? What are we going to do? Do you have a Plan B?".
I love this. Who did I piss off this to get this winner of a day?
"I am going to call Paul over at Txxxx. He told me to call him if something happened", I said.
Her eyes narrowed.
"Does he have a job for you? When will you start? What will you do? Will you work for him? How much will it pay?".
"I don't know, I have to call him when we get done here".
"Well you better get something fast. The poor kids." she said looking forlornly at our son and daughter in the play area, "Where will they go to school?. What will they wear? Will we lose our house?"
She turned on me again. "I can't believe you let this happen. Jane's husband was let go from his job on Friday and started his new job the following Monday. He called one of his friends and had an offer on Saturday."
"Who is Jane? Who cares about her husband?" I thought to myself. "You should have married Jane".
BUT, what my wife said struck a chord; what do we do when thing go wrong? What did Jane's husband do when he lost his job? What about all the other people I know and have hated over the years? What did they do different?
We have health insurance when we get sick. We keep a spare tire in the trunk for flats. We keep pizza coupons handy when dinner burns. Why can't we keep another job handy when we get the boot? At the very least, what is the plan of action which keeps some cool and collected while others turn to blubbering idiots?
Right now, I was an out of work bum as far as I was concerned. It was time to get down to action. I kept finding myself looking at the people working the counter at Chik-fil-a: they have a job and I don't.
With my wife fuming, we went home and tried to figure out who I could call at 7:30 on a Tuesday night who would hire me for work the next morning. I called Paul, but only got his voicemail.
When I came up empty, I called my friend Stephanie in Atlanta.
Stephanie is a former sales wiz for a wireless company who two years ago decided to go full time in the Mom department with the birth of her second child. She has over ten years of practical sales and marketing experience, a Bachelor's in English, a healthy dose of cynicism and a great sense of humor. This makes her a natural to bounce ideas off of and receive the truth in return.
After her initial "I can't believe they let you go!" we got down to business.
Her first question was "What do you want to do?". Over the next week, I would hear this a lot. (Hint: Get used to hearing this - you are the only person on earth who can answer this question).
"Sales. Commissioned sales, business development, contract negotiation. Quota-driven", said I with determination and resolve.
"Okay, what was your base, commission and quota at your last position? What was your percentage against your quota the last year? What sort of base are you looking for now?"
Great. I did not have these answers at hand. My last job was sales, but we were new and had very few customers. At first, we did not even know what to charge for our product.
I explained this to Steph, "Don't worry, we will make you sound like a rock star".
It was time to get busy.
Rule One: Always have a spare job on hand. Know people who hire. Know people who work at companies which are hiring. Know people who work somewhere else. Make friends with your competitors and rival companies. Know people who think highly of you and would want to work with you.
I know this sounds impossible, but the best way is to become an expert at what you do - or at least let others think you are an expert.
Rule Two: Have a plan. Who to call. Where to go. What to do. Leave the crying, the therapy, the shock, the anger and everything else for someone else. When times and employment are good, maintain and cultivate the list. Always prepare for tomorrow.
Rule Three: Which should really be Rule 1 or better yet, Rule 0 - Know what you want to do. Be passionate about something or a few somethings and know exactly where you fit in.
Answer the question: What do you want to do to? Describe your perfect opportunity. You have 20 seconds - and no help.
Market Me First - The Positive Career and Work Action Plan Market Yourself | Make Money | Be Happy
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Since 2005. Market yourself. Find better work. Make a name. Survive Layoffs. Be successful.
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