The Resilient Executive: Bouncing Back in the Job Market
Some executives, faced with job loss, do this well, and find a new situation in good time. Others sit out longer and in some cases never return to the job market in a meaningful way at all.
What creates this kind of bounce-back resilience in the laid off executive? First, the successful executive doesn’t shy away from what happened. If job loss was painful (and it almost always is) he admits that, and gets the help he needs to acknowledge his anger, frustration, fear, or sadness, so that he can get on with his life. (A good career coach is an invaluable ally in this regard). In this he is like anyone mourning any other loss – without naming and expressing his ions, he can gestuck in them and never successfully move on.
Second, the bounce-back executive doesn’t accept the slow economy as an excuse not to look for her next situation. The job seeker who says “Things are slow, but I’ve got people to connect with and ideas to pursue,” is miles ahead of the seeker who says “There’s just nothing out there.”
Because the truth is that even in the roughest markets, there is opportunity out there. It’s competitive – and you may be one of dozens of qualified applicants for a single position. But all this means is that you need the faith, the planning, the focus and the flexibility to connect.
By faith we mean a grounded, realistic optimism – the kind that believes that what I am doing today will yield benefits tomorrow. In the job search, this means planting the seeds of conversation and connection today in the faith that opportunity will arise next month – or three months from now.
By planning we mean just that. No qualified executive would think of launching a new product without a plan. In the job search, you are the product – and the successful seeker understands the features that set her apart; the target market that needs what she has to offer; and the strategies to connect to that market.
Focus will grow out of your planning. Before you contact a search firm, networking contact, or potential employer, stop to examine your values, passions, and talents, and make an inventory of your accomplishments and ideas – especially the ones that were the most fun. This will build your confidence and prepare you for the question: What are you looking for?
By flexibility we mean the openness to the multiple situations in which your talents can shine. The job search begins with possibilities: Invest in a company? Buy a franchise? Take a consulting contract? Do some pro bono work? Run a small company for a friend? Work part-time? Start your own business? Go back to school? Each is a path that can lead to something new and better.
Finally the resilient executive relies on the qualities of creativity, accepting and giving help, thoughtfulness and persistence that created his last success. He’s personable, available, interested in what’s happening. She focuses on the needs in the market and the value that she brings to meet those needs. And they both have working with others to think up new flavors of lemonade.
2010-02-22 11:06:39 -0500