About being retrenched (cross post)

Most people would have experienced at least one retrenchment by the time they are 40. Right now there are many people experiencing this for the first time, so before we start on strategies to deal with it, let’s debunk some myths and face some harsh truths:

It hurts. No matter what a person says or who you are, it is an emotional knock-out punch from which you take time to recover. Everyone doubts their self-worth to some extent for a period of time after the blow.

It is harder than you think to get another job. The people who evaluate your application invariably wonder if you are damaged goods, and why the previous company did not value you. And they judge you accordingly.

People get painted into a corner to start their own business because it seems like the only option – and apparently gives you at least something to call yourself. This may not be the right decision if you are not the entrepreneurial kind. Circumstances are powerful motivator, but your future success or failure is going to be determined by your dedication and discipline; which will wane if it does not suit your personality. You risk failing again. Make your decisions very carefully…

What can you do?

KNOW that all organisations are dysfunctional – directly proportional to their size – and that they make really poor decisions. (If you need any proof, just think about how many great coached have been fired, only to achieve even greater things elsewhere? Does Wayne Bennett ring a bell?)

KNOW that you are still a human being with much to offer. Don't let the job be the only source of dignity. The adversity may actually be in a good thing (in hindsight) but one should not say that before the event because it might earn you a slap even if it is true - ex post facto.

ACCEPT some responsibility for being in the situation and not anticipating & planning better. (Do it quickly, and then move on by taking charge.)

STICK your pride in your pocket and focus on the key issues.

KNOW that it won’t last forever, if you are lucky enough to have a job; do this before it happens:

  • Get your profiles up on LinkedIn and Facebook and while you are at it, also RetailSmartResults. And do the work required to make it worthwhile.

  • Get yourself a kick-butt resume - and include an online one - maybe try VisualCV.

  • Make contact with the people you have blown off because you were too 'busy' with your job. If you hit the street, unemployed with a big mortgage, you want to know who your friends are.

And you will also learn that your future success or failure depends on PEOPLE - not on your job skills. I recommend you learn that before it happens.

  • Re-evaluate your life, because you need to pick a direction before you have to pick it. Time will be precious when it happens - and that is usually when you least expect it.

  • Learn new skills - in your own time. If you take what the company has to offer, manage your away time very carefully - that makes you vulnerable.

Footnote for employers.

  1. Right now is a really good time to pick up some really good people. (I know a few and you can have them for no commission.)

  2. Accept that good people will legitimately take jobs which they are over-qualified for - and if you treat them right, they won't necessarily leave when the tide turns.

  3. The tide will turn...

And whatever the climate... try and have some fun.

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