Your old job is a good place to be FROM

This post was inspired by the article “You want to be fired from your job this year” that appeared on Successful Workplace on Monday.

Bottle CapHaving been through a ‘job transition’ several years ago, I wanted to share a few lessons that got me through a tough time, and doubtless will come in handy in the future.

Your old job is a good place to be FROM

Face it.  You weren’t happy there anyway. There’s a reason you’re not there now.

Don’t dwell on the fact they told you of your layoff over the phone, or that they cancelled your unvested stock options.

Be sad – Hell, be mad! – but only for a day.  Then get over it… You’re better off, and you know it.
But there were good parts, too.  Take pride in them and take credit for them.

Were you exposed to emerging technologies?  Did you help to enter a new vertical market?  Did your company cross a major sales threshold during your tenure?  That stuff’s a big deal.  Gather those positives and incorporate them into your own story.

Volunteer

Give back to the community.  Fill a hole in your resume.  Make connections.

I am paid back exponentially by the time I spend volunteering.

During my ‘down time’ between jobs, I picked up a volunteer gig helping run Six String Concerts, a non-profit acoustic music concert series.  As a budding young marketing guy, I was looking to gain experience beyond my work history, and they needed the help.

I led a complete re-branding of the organization – new logo, colors, tagline, moving online, incorporating social media, and targeting a younger audience.

It proved to me that I love what I do – and I’m good at it.  And importantly, that I do my best work when I’m proud and passionate about the organization and people I’m doing it for.

(Plus, I’ve got a no-fail ice breaker for any conversation or interview.)

The hand you’re holding is full of wildcards

Spending part of my time in the music world, every situation reminds me of a song.  I like to say I have a Phonographic Memory.

A favorite song of mine came up on my iPod during today’s jog. “One Good Year” written by Slaid Cleaves and Steve Brooks*.

“Just give me one good year, To get my feet back on the ground
I’ve been chasing grace, But grace ain’t so easily found
One bad hand can devil a man, A good one can turn him around
I gotta get out of here, Just give me one good year”

The song’s protagonist will never improve his lot, because he believes his fate rests in the luck of the draw.  He’s wrong.

Whatever the cards you’re dealt, those are the cards you’ve got.  It’s up to you to choose which ones are the wildcards.   When you decide you’re holding an unbeatable hand, there’s no way you can lose.

Help people help you

When people hear of your situation, you’ll receive all sorts of offers of help. “My aunt knows a guy who’s in marketing.  I could call him for you.”  If you went down every one of these well-intentioned rabbit holes, you’ll never find your passion, and you’ll wind up taking the first job offered to you – relieved to land anywhere.

Take inventory – a serious, hard inventory.  Strategize. Then come out swinging with the ability to clearly articulate what you’re looking for.  Your networking will be much more effective, and your friend won’t keep asking why you haven’t called his cousin yet.

Your true allies will reveal themselves along this journey.  But they can’t help you if you can’t steer them in the right direction.

“The planet has needs for your deeds”

Unfortunately, some people look for strength in the bottom of a bottle.  I get inspiration from the cap.

I love a company with a sense of humor and personality.  One of my favorites is Magic Hat Brewing Company.  Each of their bottle caps has a message underneath.  Some are clunkers, but every once in a while there’s one that can serve as a credo.

Recently, I found this message: “The planet has needs for your deeds”.

However much your old company didn’t think they needed your deeds, there’s one out there that does – probably several of them.  Timely affirmation for many readers, for sure.

Now, go get it.

* Steve Brooks is a man after my own heart.  He’s a six-time winner of the O. Henry Pun-off World Championship in Austin, TX.

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Categories: Human Resources

Author:Doug Evans

Doug Evans is an accomplished marketing leader with wide-ranging experience in diverse business environments including non-profit, small private business, major national bank, and Silicon Valley software company. He has a knack for bringing together teams from across geography and organizational lines. He keeps active by playing and coaching soccer, and is also Marketing/PR Director for an acoustic music concert series in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

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