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Losing Your Job Does NOT Mean Losing Your Free Will

Posted March 22, 2009 4:30 PM by DrDoug

Losing your job does not mean losing your ability to create, think, and thrive. Nor does it mean losing your free will. Yes, you'll probably feel emotions such as anger, resentment, fear, disappointment. Most of all, you'll feel betrayal.

The Biggest Mental Roadblock

Historically, large layoffs were an isolated phenomenon. In others words, if company A wasn't doing well, you could look to companies B, C, and even D for a comparable job – or even a better one. But that mental model is now the biggest mental roadblock.

Today's situation is very different because there is now a "domino effect". There are very, very few places to go and lots of really smart, talented people out there fighting for those few job opportunities.

This is precisely why you need to think about your next move and use this time as a great opportunity to do that.

How You Can Rebound

Here are some steps you can take to land on top while the economy is hitting the bottom.

1. If you get a pink slip, avoid doing anything drastic right off the bat. Wait a few days or even weeks so you can gain some perspective on what just happened, and how things are unfolding around you.

2. Remember the only thing you can control is you – and how you think and behave.

3. Let go of any anger and resentment you may be feeling towards your old boss, co-workers, or company because it adds no value to helping you get back on track.

4. View this volatile, remarkable situation as a gift. It's an opportunity to redefine yourself and career.

5. Make a list of what career paths you would like to follow. Don't get bogged down with wondering if this or that is possible or not. Just make that list!

6. Now go down the list and, for each job, identify the ideal characteristics for that job. Use your head and start to think. If you don't have the answers, then go and ask someone who has that type of job or research it on the Internet. You can even post a question to the new Engineering Careers forum on CR4.

7. For each characteristic you identify, rank yourself on a scale of 1 (weak) to 6 (strong). Analyze how you add up in that area. This will give you an action plan for making that new career choice happen.

8. Write down the single, biggest reason why you absolutely cannot purse that career. And once you have it written down, I want you to commit your time and energy to solving it.

If you get stuck and need help, respond to this post and I may be able to coach you through it.

Dr. Doug

Editor's Note: You can visit Dr. Doug online at www.DrDoug.com or by email: DrDoug@DrDoug.com. His next CR4 blog entry will run in two weeks, on Monday 04/06.

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#1

Re: Losing Your Job Does NOT Mean Losing Your Free Will

03/19/2009 4:19 PM

FYI - Last week, Dr. Doug appeared on a CNBC special called "Where the Jobs Are". Click here for the Web extra afterwards, where he took questions from the audience. The other members of the panel were Jeff Taylor, founder of monster.com and eons.com; and Jim Citrin, executive recruiter and best-selling author.

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#2

Re: Losing Your Job Does NOT Mean Losing Your Free Will

03/23/2009 12:01 AM

Tell that to The Japanese workers, whose whole upbringing is feudal in nature, and expect to work for the same company their whole life (now lots of suicides and murder-suicides here, and no backup system for the large Temp workers japan now have).

In Large Companies you see the signs from a while before if a restructuring is starting to happen thus meaning lay-offs, you have to decipher the local Manager speak and Job changes in management is also a signal.

What also important is to learn to humble yourself, Meaning some people expect that they can get the same kind of job and pay, but in these economic crisis you may have to work for less and (the horror!) below your status.

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#3

Re: Losing Your Job Does NOT Mean Losing Your Free Will

03/23/2009 1:37 AM

Dear Doug, I suggest you look at the career choices that airline mechanics have had to deal with over the past 30 to 50 years. As an airline mechanic if company A wasn't doing well, company B probably wasn't in much better shape, and you likely were just going down, regardless of how good you were.

I guess what I am saying is that in Aviation the situation has been pretty much the same, and not very different. You work to get skills, tools and certifications, get a job for Eastern Airlines, Eastern Airlines goes bust, and you don't get another job ever again as good.

Okay, if you get fired, and are forced to take a job that pays half what you were making doing the same things, don't shoot people.

Remember if you call your dog, they will likely come. Be Cheery.

If you get fired try and get as much money as you can from the people that fired you, and don't call them or write them, and be glad for your unemployment check, file for whatever disablility and retirement possible, and figure you are just another thrown away worker factored into the off book accounting standard for the modern corporate state.

Take up pottery. Assemble Chinese Scooters. If you have money invest in casket and cemetery companies, or robot companies that pay dividends.

Toy companies are good.

When all is gone, remember there is hope.

There are a lot of people hoping you won't shoot them. Become three or four people, since to get a job you are required now to be three or four people.

For instance you need to be an electrical engineer, a software designer, and a black belt with CDL truck drivers license and a pistol carry permit. Don't become a comedian, it is unseemly. Really really, refrain from shooting people. Do not build bombs. Just because you have worked in good faith, done the best you could, face it, the world has changed and you need to retire.

Just because your savings are devalued, all your investments have been stolen with fees, your pension is abrogated, because the State and the Federals thought you would die before you noticed, it will do you no good whatsoever to get upset about it.

If in fact, you do feel upset and do understand that you have rational reasons to be upset, angry, and do feel a bit dangerous, understand you cannot find the people who are responsible for your destruction.

The US government is doing all it can to put the people who have stolen all your money in jail, and further since now they have motivated you, realize that it would be good to put you in a rest home, or jail too.

I highly suggest to all who have some money left, like 100 grand, that they buy citizenship in Canada.

During the Vietnam War there was a braindrain to Canada. The only things I dislike about Canada are it is very cold for 9 months out of a 12 month year. They really don't approve of real Free Speech, and their Milk Shakes are these Malted Milk sort of drinks less fun than watered Ovaltine.

Otherwise Canada is a great place.

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#4

Re: Losing Your Job Does NOT Mean Losing Your Free Will

03/23/2009 9:09 AM

Losing my free will? Did I ever have this?

This illusion is comming to an end for a lot of hardworking people.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Losing Your Job Does NOT Mean Losing Your Free Will

03/23/2009 9:23 AM

We all have the freedom to choose our attitude and how we think - regardless of the hardship, circumstances or reality. the challenge is to do it.

A good book to read about this is called "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl which documents his experience living as a prisoner in the concentration camps during WWII.

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#9
In reply to #5

Re: Losing Your Job Does NOT Mean Losing Your Free Will

03/24/2009 10:13 PM

I am aware that I can choose to go crazy, and disregard reality, and then I can choose not to care.

You can get a prescription for Prozac, for instance.

Better yet go dig ditches and buy a prescription for Prozac for your girlfriend or wife, so at least she doesn't care.

Frankly, though I am certain there is some value in Mr. Frankl's book, these days I'd rather read a book about how to stay out of the concentration camps, than adjust my attitude towards life in them.

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#6

Re: Losing Your Job Does NOT Mean Losing Your Free Will

03/23/2009 3:10 PM

I work in the aero-space industry. As you all know, we've taken some big hits as of late. I was just informed of a 50% reduction in the work force early next quarter. That's over 500 people.

Thankfully, I'll still have a job. I'm a department leader, and I work hard to keep this job. It means keeping my education updated, and becoming an expert on the equipment I'm responsible for.

Now, I know that I'm not irreplaceable, nobody is. And if things got bad enough, I'd be gone too. But I feel my biggest enemy is complacency. I'm always taking courses, and studying technical literature. Perhaps it's a character flaw, but I never feel secure. I feel compelled to keep learning, so the industry doesn't pass me by.

But if I did get laid off, I'd take a few months off, and go lay on a warm beach somewhere. That would give me some time to think about what I want to do next.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Losing Your Job Does NOT Mean Losing Your Free Will

03/24/2009 12:43 AM

Hello Bricktop,

What a great name.

I GA'd you for your lack of complacency and compulsion to keep learning. You will never be long without a job. Hang in there and Good Luck.

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: Losing Your Job Does NOT Mean Losing Your Free Will

03/24/2009 3:37 AM

Bricktop

Great response.

I have only ever held jobs so that I could finance other, very important projects in my life. I have done 4 apprenticeships and am glad that I can fall back onto some basic skills if really needed.

What I have found is that knocking on the door and seeing eye to eye is the most important step one can do. Even getting a bit informal by using the net can bring results. One has to rely on instinct and it is a slow process and not only looking for jobs but creating them should be part of the agenda. Some of us are on the case even in such difficult circumstances.

There are enough qualified people out there to do any kind of job. Be it in the sports advertising or in photochemistry or any other field of expertize one wishes to mention. The potential is there, we just don't have appropriate lines of communication yet. Maybe a bit of a diet was on the cards anyway and after that all will be good again. I've seen it a few times and never was the food eaten as hot as it was cooked.

Me, wanting a job, I would knock on a door and say G'day. See what comes after.

One can never be at the wrong place at the wrong time all of the time. Make us do something and let it be for the common good, I would suggest. At all levels, for a change.

You never know if you loose your job and if you are as keen as you say you are there is more involved than money in your future. It is the salt in the soup that counts not the celery. It is the do'ers that count and not the salary.

Warm beach Mate. Take time out if only...............

All the best, Ky.

Hope all goes well, Ky.

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