Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Take advantage of losing your job

I experienced and survived my first round of corporate RIFs (Reduction in Force – the nice way of saying people are being fired). The office had a funeral home like atmosphere for the entire week and everyone left as quickly as possible on Friday thankful they dogged the bullet.

The person who was fired from my group had worked at the company for over 15 years. He was experienced and well educated (MBA, Chicago Business School and CPA). However, I noticed that his role within our group was underutilizing his skill set and he seemed to have no problem with churning out more years while remaining under the radar.

Even though it was sad to see him leave, I believe that he’ll be better off in the long run. Not only was he underutilized within the group, but he had been lulled into a false sense of security within the company. This feeling probably lead to his lack of motivation to standout and achieve something beyond his day-to-day work. But now he has the opportunity to take some time to think about what he really wants to do and search for a better position.

For those of you who are in a similar situation (and have appropriately prepared yourself for such an event financially), take the time to think about what you really want to do with your life. Explore alternative positions within your industry or different career paths. Catch up and network with individuals you haven’t talked to in a long time. Losing your job can be the opportunity to find the job you always wanted.

Here are some other ideas of way to maximize a job loss:
• Investigate alternative careers
• Begin to obtain an advanced degree or complete an unfinished one
• Volunteer
• Network through local business organizations or alumni organizations
• Take a job exploration test to broaden your ideas
• Spend time with your family and friends

The main point is to be optimistic about your unfortunate circumstance and to stay busy. Most importantly, don’t just site around your house trying to “discover yourself”. Discovery and realization only come through active involvement and exploration - not sitting around your house playing video games and debating philosophy.

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