Leadership Excellence

Upside of a Job Loss
Expect that the best is yet to come.

by Pam Lassiter

As published on Leadership Excellence

Yes, there is an Upside in job loss. Satisfactions can happen when you are in job transition—if you notice them, and sustain sufficient income so that you have the option of being reflective. You can find a way. Perhaps you have a spouse who works, severance, savings, a side job, an assignment, or project. Assuming that you have some transition financing, look at the good things that happen along with the planning you’re doing.

Losing your job may enable you to care for your elderly mother or teenage daughter, travel, or volunteer with a nonprofit group, get through an illness, or plan a wedding. When you are in transition, you are under less stress and able to be fully present in an important moment in your life. How satisfying.

I love working with people during their job transitions for four reasons:

It’s a rebirth. If you had to leave a company that you’ve been with for years, you likely had a painful departure. What I found, though, is that you may thank the company a year later. If you know how to approach the job market, you’ll be working at a place that’s a better fit for you a year from now where you’ll have the opportunity to grow. Having to do a re-start at middle age or mid-career feels like shock therapy, but you may look back and say “thank you” to the company that you originally didn’t want to leave. Part of that journey has strong spiritual components of rebirth and rejuvenation if you listen for them. How satisfying!

It’s self-discovery. You’ll learn about yourself through testing, self-assessment tools, peer feedback, self reflection, observation, or professional guidance. Are you reaching out to people and building relationships by helping others? You will learn about your personality and find parts that you cherish and want to grow and other parts that you may want to tweak; you’ll also learn about the types of workplaces and bosses that enable you to flourish. How satisfying!

It’s re-connecting. Often old friends are happy to reconnect. Facebook makes it easier, or you can volunteer to work on a reunion committee. You need not hit on people directly for a job. First, you build the relationship; later you can ask a question: “I’m researching how health-care companies are re-writing policies given the healthcare reform bill. Who should I talk to?” This is a reason to interview a cross-section of people, and then write an article. You’re building your reputation, connections, and your relationships. Pick up the phone, or see people face to face. How satisfying!

You’re smarter. Not only are you a highly competent person in your profession, you’re picking up a new job skill that most people don’t practice career management. Now’s the time to get it, then take it into your next company—it is a life-long survival skill. If you take advantage of this transition to analyze how companies think, make decisions, and respond to market forces, you’ll see that there are patterns that you can predict and be prepared for that will enable you to grow. You can learn to anticipate and minimize the job roller coaster. What’s your Plan B? Having one in place within six months of starting your next job enables you to think about the competencies, relation-ships, and reputation that you’ll need to develop so that the world will beat a path to your door. How satisfying!

Not having an alarm go off, visiting with an old friend, exercising more, or volunteering for service can all bring a sense of peace and fulfillment. The satisfactions, once you look for them, are endless. You’re growing as a person, friend, and professional. Life is getting richer.

What satisfactions will nurture you and move you ahead in your job search? Identify three that you can start on.