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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Surprise Meeting

You’ve been meeting your numbers. You’re within budget. Your recently trimmed team is focused and flourishing. Then your boss arrives for an impromptu meeting. You’ve been let go!

Anger, shock, denial. All of these reactions rush through your brain. How could this be?

The reality is that it can happen to any of us at any time. A change in business strategy, a merger or acquisition, or even a divestiture or restructure and… bam! You’re joining the ranks of the unemployed. No one is invulnerable.

While there is no secret recipe to dealing with the emotional response to job loss, it can’t hurt to always be prepared for what the future may hold for your career. It is up to you to be prepared.

Here are some best practices to help you stay one step ahead:

1. Take time off to re-assess your career and determine what you want to do next. Immediately following the loss of a job, many people are not completely prepared, are still too emotional, and have no comprehensive plan to launch an employment search. Assess strengths, identify goals, focus on the future and create an action plan before moving forward.

2. Use your network wisely. Successful networking means gathering and sharing ideas. A helpful attitude and a genuine desire to be a useful contact or resource for others will make you a valuable connector of people, ideas, and information. Our research shows that networking is the #1 method for sourcing new opportunities.

3. Be Prepared. Most employees can typically expect to be displaced from their jobs at least once during their careers. Keep your resume up to date. It should describe you at your highest level of accomplishment. It should tell the story of your career, how you can help contribute to an organization, and provide solutions to their needs.

No one is really emotionally prepared for the surprise meeting that involves losing one’s job. But you can be active in managing your own career.

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