Big change. Little change. It's all change. I was thinking about this after writing yesterday's post on Seth Godin's post Pivots of Change where he shows how little changes can make the difference between success and decline.
I was thinking about this in the context of two friends and colleagues who have lost their executive positions over the past month. Neither leaving was entirely unexpected. However, when it happens, it is the kind of change that most people dred.
Losing a job is a big change. It is symptomatic of the transitions that we all go through in life. If we are tied to our current position, then a sudden change in employment can be devastating. However, if we look at all that we do as in the process of change, then we are of a mindset to adapt positively to this change.
If you are in a situation where your job situation is in jeopardy, consider answering my Four Questions.
First ask, "What is the impact that I want to have over the next five to ten years?"
What difference do I want to make? What am I passionate about that directs me toward a different arena for employment?
Second question to ask is, "Who do I want to impact?"
If you want to make a difference, what group, business or need to you want to focus on? Think in terms of markets. You are not marketing to sell them something. Instead, you are acting to influence them by the work you have to offer them. Who are these people? When you figure this out, then ask, who do I know that can help me to find the people within that group that I need to reach? Treat this as a systematic process of analysis and then act to reach out to those whom you need to meet.
Third question, ask, "What opportunities do I have right now to make a difference?"
If you cannot identify any opportunities, then more than likely your experience level in this area where you have a passion to make a difference is not sufficient to secure you a job. Look at this realistically. Just because you dream it does not necessarily mean it will come to pass.
If there are opportunities, divide your time between acting on those opportunities and doing the due-diligence to find employment. By engaging in impact-oriented activities while looking for work, you accomplish three things. One, you make a difference in the area that matters to you. Two, you network with people who share a common interest who may provide the connection to the next job. In so doing, you gain experience and potential positive recommendations from people. And three, you don't get trapped in a cycle of self-pity, denial and depression.
Fourth question, "What problems have I created that I must address in order to put me in the best possible position to get the next job."
What kind of problems?
Financial. Do your best to pay down any debt that you may be caring.
Physical. If you are not in good shape, start working out. The stress of looking for a job is a physical drain upon your health. Get some moderate exercise everyday, just a few minutes, to feel good about yourself. Your potential employers are going to be looking at this, even if they don't say so.
Emotional / Spiritual. Join a support group. In some communities, the local office of the state Employment Security Commission has support groups for out of work executives. Many religious congregations host support groups for men and women under stress. Many professional counselors have support groups for people who work in stressful situations. There is an emotional and a spiritual dimension to how we deal with job change. Take advantage of the opportunity to grow through this transition in life.
Skills. Sign up for courses at your local community college to strengthen or expand your skills. Community colleges have courses that begin all through the year. Enhancing your education and marketable skills is also a demonstration to your next employer of your sincerity to be at your best for them.
Big change. Little change. It is all constant change through a life's many transitions. Stay focused on the difference you want to make and you'll come to see what is required to get where you want to be in the future.