The Sky is Not Falling

You’re rocking along, loving life, your job, your co-workers and ka-bam, you read the morning paper and find out your company’s been sold to a competitor. You bolt from the house, hair on fire, tear into work, the place is spinning, phones are ringing, rumors flying, and the sky is falling. After frantically searching for someone who ought to know you corner your boss who tells you, eyes averted, (long pause)… don’t worry. Yes! Momentary reprieve. I’m safe. I won’t worry. I’m just fine. I’m OK. You look for him later, for a little more assurance, and he’s in meetings. All day. Every day.

By the end of the week you’re all nerve endings and no nerve. You’ve managed to avoid your customers, your neighbors, your friends, and your spouse. You’re scared to go to work and don’t want to go home. Wherever you are, you want to be somewhere else. You’d curl up in the cabinet under the copier but three of your colleagues have already moved in.

Finally. A meeting. All hands. Sounds official. CEO. Be there.

You are. Wide screen TV. HR introduces Head Honcho who conferences in from an undisclosed location.

After a minute, maybe two, you tune out. For the next five minutes, (fifteen, fifty?) your brain picks up a different frequency; one that’s telling you the planet is about to explode. You tune in to the CEO just as he’s signing off: The future of our company will be even greater than the past. That’s good news!

You’re getting two messages from two messengers: Your CEO says the company’s future will be better than the past. Your brain says find another job. The company’s future will be better. That’s good news. But the company’s future may not include you. Find another job because it’s up to you, not the company, to take charge of your career, meet your financial obligations, and make you feel whole. Whether you choose to stay or to leave, develop a plan and work it.

Go slow to go fast. Get centered and think before you act. Focus on what you do best and how you contribute most. Name it, so when you say it, new owners or prospective employers will immediately know what it means and how you make a difference. Focus on organizing your resume around the job you want that delivers defined benefits to this or any other employer.

Tighten your resume. Lead with your objective and follow with your experience. List your current position, name of employer, location, dates of employment, and in reverse order, list the positions you’ve held. Highlight responsibilities and accomplishments that are congruent with your objective. Keep it brief, easy to read, and error-free. Next: Create your cover letter.

Your cover letter should focus on the specific job opportunity you seek. Address it to the individual to whom you would report. Make your case by getting right to the point: This is what I do and here’s how I add value to the business. Next: Stay in the game.

Network externally: Crack the “unpublished” market and you’ll find up to 75% of what’s available. Respond to on-line and newspaper ads and you’ll find the other 25%. Put your energy where you get the greatest return on investment. Network internally and externally: Contact people you know and respect, who can put you in touch with people they know and respect, who know of opportunities that match your credentials, talent and abilities.

Heads up. Demonstrate your ability to move through turbulent change with professionalism and composure. Think strategically, work objectively, behave optimistically, and you’ll land on your feet.

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Joyce Richman (www.richmanresources.com) has been specializing in executive and career coaching since she started her own practice in 1982. She works in a variety of environments including: higher education, manufacturing, sales, marketing, media, technology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, banking and finance, service, IT, and non-profit sectors. A member of the adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership, Joyce is certified to administer a number of feedback and psychological instruments. Joyce has appeared regularly on WFMY-TV and is the career columnist for The Greensboro News & Record. She is the author of Roads, Routes and Ruts: A Guidebook to Career Success and co-author of Getting Your Kid Out of the House and Into a Job. A popular speaker, Richman conducts seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her coaching profile can be found at TheCoachingAssociation.com.

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