The Amarillo Pioneer

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The Career Corner with Sandra McCartt: It's Your Career. What Are You Doing About It?

All of us at some time in our working lives have thought, “I wish I had a better or higher paying or more interesting or more responsible or, or, or J O B.  Most of us at some time in our working lives have heard the words “sorry but we have to let you go” or “sorry but you are being laid off” or just plain old, “You’re Fired”.

NO job is a whole different matter than a “career change with a challenge”.  {That term by the way makes recruiters roll their eyes or in the event they are trying not to choke or be rude they get a glassy eyed stare and a tight little smile.}  I’ll “splain why later.  You just found out you don’t have a job.  You may or may not have gotten a severance check.  The rent is due along with all the other bills and like most of us you don’t have a lot of cash stacked in your mattress.  You need a job and you need one pronto.  What to do?

1.         Get over whatever happened that caused you to be out of a job.  Not easy but at least you have to present yourself as someone who is not mad, hurt, scared, panicked or defeated.  Great, how?  Take a day or two days.  Talk it out with a friend or family member.  Write down on a big chief tablet every hurt, scared, unfair, mean, ugly, violent thought you have about what just happened.  Let it all hang out on paper, keep writing until you are sick of it yourself.  Fold it up put it away and go run around the block, go to the gym, take the dog for a walk, ride your bike, go for a long drive. Oh and if you qualify, go file for unemployment.  Today , get that done.

       Physical exercise gets rid of all kinds of things and long drives or talking to the cat are therapeutic.  The cat is not going to tell anybody that you think your ex boss is a vampire who should have a stake driven through his or her heart at sunrise every day for the rest of their lives.  If you have any thoughts of calling the boss to tell them about their vampire status…two words…DO NOT.  You will wish when the emotion subsides that you had not done that.  That troll is , after all, the guy somebody may call to find out why you don’t work there anymore and why they decided you were a lesser life form that was expendable.

That being worked through or while you are venting your spleen, work on a resume.  More on that later but start with a rough draft that has your name and contact info, education and where you got it then start the section that says; Professional Experience.  List your jobs starting with the most recent and working backwards.  Name of company, what they do, skip a line, your job title and what you were responsible for doing.  Don’t write a book but don’t just list the company and your job title.  Some detail of what you did, technology used or specialized training will be of interest to the reader of your life story.

2.        SURPRISE, THE MORNING OF DAY THREE YOU HAVE A NEW JOB.  Your new job is looking for a job.  You have a product to sell , that product is you and your skills and abilities.  Congratulations you have a great product, how do you do this new job to be sure you are successful and get yourself sold to the highest bidder or in some cases whoever is willing to take a risk that you might show up on time and not blow up the computer system.  Any new job has a learning curve but you know your product pretty well or you should by now so polish it up and develop a game plan on how you are going to sell this GREAT , WONDERFUL , DYNAMIC EXPERIENCED, SMART CAPABLE Y.0.U.

Any new job requires you get out of bed and get ready for work.  This is one is no different.  Get up , clean up, get dressed business casual, comb your hair and put on makeup if you are a girl type.  Review your resume.  Make a list of every companyyou can think of who might hire somebody with your skills.  Get on the net and go to their web sites to see what you can find in the “careers” section.  That should take up most of the morning.  Resist the temptation to hang out on Facebook or watch TV and feel sorry for yourself.  This new job you have of selling yourself is just like any other job .  It has hours and requirements and goals and demands.  This one you can’t afford to lose, so don’t blow it off thinking you and Scarlet O’Hara will worry about this tomorrow.  That would be weekends just like every other job.

Ok, morning gone you should have already saved your resume in word on your computer so you should have sent it several new potential victims of your sterling abilities and superior brain.  You deserve lunch.  Like a lot of things maintaining balance is important.  Don’t let your self get too lonely, too tired or too hungry.  Grab a bite and get back at it by 1:00.  Stay with it for an hour or so. 

Now, think.  Who do you know who might know of open positions that might be a fit for you.?  Make a few phone calls.  Don’t go into the whole bloody story.  Get your reason for being let go down to one or two lines.  Even your good friends are not interested in hearing that four years ago you were late due to ice and that is when your boss started putting you on the brown list.  Until you get “the story” worked out to a reasonable two or three lines just say, “oh unfortunately I lost my job and need to find a new one.  Sort of accumulation of a lot of little stuff that resulted in my boss and I deciding we needed to end our relationship, I will fill you in later , right now I am in job hunting mode, if you know of anybody looking for somebody that might have an opening please let me know.” 

Don’t make friends or family feel that they are responsible for finding you a job.  That is not their job, it is your job.  The way to be sure you don’t make them worry about you is to simply say, “hey, if it’s ok I will shoot you a copy of my resume, just stick it in a file and if anybody mentions they are looking for somebody feel free to pass it on.”  I will look at several different things at this point so don’t worry about convincing anybody to hire me just shoot them my resume and tell them if they think i might be of interest to give me a call”.

By about 3:00 or 3:30 if you have worked at your new job with a little dedication since 8:30 with a lunch break , call it good.  Pick up the kids or play with the dog, run errands, clean out that closet or garage that needed to be cleaned for the last six months.  Might as well get some stuff done while you are your own boss.  You may want to dedicate some evening hours to following new thoughts or leads later.  Now go do something fun for a minute or take the dog for a long walk.  New jobs can be stressful , blow off some steam. 

By the way, after 40 years as a recruiter, I have never heard of anybody who wants a job starving to death in a refrigerator box under a bridge so when you start thinking those kind of thoughts , stop it, It is not going to happen and you are not going to ruin my record. “ What if” is rarely, “What is”.  Self defeating thinking should be left to those who like beating themselves with sticks. It also screws up anybody’s ability to interview well so there’s that.  Besides your mother-in-law has room..arrrrggghhh.


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