Last week, I spoke to a gentleman who had been laid off from a job he had worked at for over 15 years. He was like many people who I have spoken with who know that the economy is going through a seismic shift but thought he was safe and that it would not reach him. He either thought that he would retire before it touched him or the company would protect him because he was very valuable. Many people who are finding themselves in this predicament have been exemplary employees and often sacrificed for the company. Now they have to live with the fact that the company can continue.
Now he found himself out of work, adrift, without purpose. Totally unprepared.
I have spoken to people who after being unemployed for months still were in shock. When I went through this I was surprised to see that you do go through the grieving process. But it is not from step 1 to step 2, you may cycle back through the process. Anger was the emotion that surprised me when it came back. My wife was telling me what we needed from the grocery store and I began to get angry. At a grocery list? No, I was still hurting from my lay off.
Men have a reputation for getting their identity from their work, but I have found that women will often take ownership of their job, especially the relationships they have with their coworkers or clients. One lady was talking about how unfair it was to be let go when she often worked overtime and Saturdays without pay. It was what she made her priority. Even though the company never asked her.
When a person loses their job unexpectedly, it may take a while for them to be able to see how they can come out of it. With unemployment rates over 8 percent, and holding, this is an all too familiar situation.
I am one who believes that the economy is going to improve. I also believe that it is up to each one of us to take ownership of our own careers. To me this is very empowering. The polls tell us that the majority of workers are not satisfied in their jobs. I believe that for those with jobs, now is the time for them to look at themselves and see what they want to be: do they want to stay in the same field, change fields, advance, or step back to a less stressful role.
When I came out of college, finally, I wanted to know what God’s plan was for me. I felt like it was going to be like a drag strip. Once you discover the secret code, it would lead you directly to a life of prosperity and fulfillment. For some people this works. But for most of us, life is more like a maze with many possibilities to get to the goal.
Statistically, Americans average 6 careers changes in their lifetime. Not job changes but career. Changing jobs have become a common experience. It is even more popular among the millennial generation.
So is now a good time to look for a job? Instead of focus on job searching and job security, we should focus on career development. No matter where you are on the career ladder, you should be developing and defining yourself for where you want to be. Many people look back at their careers with regret because they did not do more, maybe follow a passion. Why not? Is this you?
I encourage you to look at yourself and determine where you want to be. Then determine how to get there. The next post will include some tips in making you the person you want to become.