Travel or Trouble? Career transition goes both ways

People leave jobs. Sometimes voluntarily, sometimes not. A career transition is always an emotional roller coaster, even if it is the employee’s idea to leave, but more so when the separation is involuntary or when the voluntary separation is a result of job dissatisfaction of some kind.

What happens during that emotional upheaval? An employee leaving voluntarily has some reason for doing so, and will likely share that information with friends, family and coworkers during the transition. A few of those reasons…

  • Better hours – spin that into “I had to work too many hours, I didn’t have flexibility, I couldn’t take off for my child’s school program, …”;
  • More money – the story is your company didn’t pay enough to meet needs;
  • More supportive environment – turns into “I never felt valued, my boss didn’t listen to me…”

Whatever the reasons they have, even employees leaving under their own power can cause bad PR among their friends and acquaintances. If that is the case, imagine what damage a fired or laid-off employee could do! Given the digital world we live in today, the bad news can spread from friends to acquaintances to friends of friends and beyond in the blink of an eye. Stories will be embellished, small incidents magnified, misunderstandings become truth. Trouble!

Be ready when you need to separate an employee with a good career transition coach or outplacement provider. An objective third party can help ease the transition pain and refocus the negative energy into something positive that will help them travel forward into a new position that will hopefully be THE job they were meant to have. Finding THE job will help fade the memories of the past and open new and exciting highways to the future, limiting the trouble that could be caused during the search.

The bottom line is that separated employees who have career coaching or outplacement assistance move on to the next opportunity faster and more positively than those who don’t. If you must separate from an employee, do it in the best way possible – help them travel, not trouble!

 

Taking the curve successfully; a new career awaits

You have just been told there will be layoffs, big ones. Probably you. That understandably strikes terror in most people’s hearts, and you start thinking about where you can get another job like the one you have now. After all, you have a set of skills that perfectly fits what you have been doing, so looking for something just like it seems logical.

Is that approach truly logical, or even realistic? If people with a strictly defined set of skills and abilities just like yours are being laid off, how likely is it that other jobs just like yours are out there waiting? Maybe it’s a great time to really examine your work, job satisfaction, and options for the future.

Many, many people get a job early on in their careers that isn’t exactly what they wanted, but it’s close enough and it works out fine. Another opportunity comes up, and it is even a bit farther from what you really wanted in the beginning, but it’s a next step up from the job you took, so it works out, too. A couple more promotions or job changes like that, and you can look back and see how far off course you have gotten from where you originally intended. Maybe that’s ok, too, for a while. Then, through no fault of your own, the layoff happens. Where do you go from here?

It isn’t unrealistic to go back to your original goal, get back on the road you started out to travel. I live near an old stretch of Route 66, the original “Mother Road” running from Chicago to Los Angeles. The old road has been replaced in places by a new road that runs pretty much parallel to the old original road. There is one spot, though, where the new road veers away from the old, in a place marked with a sign, “Dead Man’s Curve.” When the new road was built, it was moved so that the old and obviously dangerous curve was bypassed, and the road straightened out. That curve is not unlike the curves we all take in our career path. Losing a job may mean you have the opportunity to straighten out the curves and get back on the road you began.

Straightening out that road may take some research, extra work, education, and determination. If the original career goal you had is still something you want and are willing to work for, now can be an ideal time. To make those first steps easier, an experienced career coach can help you decide what you really want and the best way to get there. Especially if you have been in the same job for a while, you will need help to find out what the next steps should be, how to prepare, and how to land in the place you want to be.

Don’t go alone around that curve, get the help you need from a coach to navigate it successfully into a new, better career.

A Journey of 1000 Miles

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. So said the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu in the fourth century BC. Wise words then, and they still apply today for anyone embarking on a new venture.
In my practice, I talk with a lot of people in career transition. Some of those transitions are by choice, but most are not. It’s an unfortunate fact of modern life that as business needs change, so do the staffing needs. The days of working for the same company your entire life have come to an end, and most of us will go through some changes during our career. That means we will all start new journeys, perhaps several times.
Taking that first step on a new journey can be very hard. What step to take? What direction? How fast do I have to move? If you are in that position for the first time, it’s really hard to take that first step. Even if its not the first time, it’s still really hard to start! Every journey looks different, starts in a different place and has a different destination – which may not be at all obvious as you begin.
It helps to have a guide; a Sherpa, so to speak. You need someone who will not judge, criticize, or let you dwell in the past. A career counselor or an outplacement provider can help you take that first step with purpose and direction, and start you on that journey to the next destination. They can help you make sure your goal is the best possible fit for you, and provide encouragement along the way.
If you need help with that first step, don’t wait to find your Sherpa to help you start that journey in a positive, purposeful way.

Helping Them IN – Better career transition

In the world of career transition, practitioners often focus heavily on the “out” in outplacement. I even find myself locked in that mindset from time to time – helping people transition “out” of a job – because leaving a job is where I connect with someone in a career transition.

The “out” may not be the best way to think about a career transition. Job loss may be painful and feel like the end, like it really is “out” with no way back in. I think we should look at it from a different perspective; a career transition is a beginning of something else, we just need to discover what that is. Career transition can be “in” as well as “out.”

All the wisdom of the world can be found in the words of Mr. Rogers, even for those in transition.

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” ― Fred Rogers

Isn’t that a much better way to think of what happened? You aren’t going out a door with nothing in sight. You are opening a door and seeing a wide horizon and vast possibility.
I would be the first to tell you that is easy to say and harder to really believe. Losing a job, when the termination was out of your control and had nothing to do with your performance, loyalty, or skills, can be very hard. Right here in the city in which I live, a major employer is reducing its workforce dramatically and the reductions have little to do with job performance, only numbers. Many, many people have found themselves without work after years with the company.

With a good career coach or outplacement counselor, a person who finds himself in this position can shorten the time living with shock, disbelief and sadness and grab that door handle to open a new world of possibilities. He or she may need coaching and support, but look what lies ahead! This could be the opportunity to make a complete career change, to try something never attempted, to follow a long-held dream.

My goal for my outplacement clients is not to provide “out” placement, but turn that into “in” placement – a new and better beginning for their careers.

The Importance of Work

As I get ready to celebrate Labor Day this weekend, I was thinking about this holiday. My natural curiosity led me to look up the history, which began with a workers’ march in New York City in 1882. Congress made Labor Day an official holiday 12 years later in 1894, spurred by an American Railroad Union strike in June of that year.

Why do we still celebrate today? I believe it is because work is important. Aside from the last barbecues and outings of summer, the holiday celebrates the value of work and those who perform it. Labor Day gives working people the opportunity to pause and reflect on the value of what they do.

That value is not only measured in what hard work means to businesses and to our country, but to each person. Each of us must define our individual worth in some measure, and for many, that measure is the work we perform. Promotions and salary increases are tangible measures of our work and our worth to our employer and to ourselves. Work defines us, provides a source of self-esteem, and gives a sense of pride in job well done.

What happens when a person no longer has a job to define his or her value? Losing a job is devastating, not only financially but in terms of a worker’s self-esteem and self-value. Job loss can be especially hard if it is a result of circumstances beyond the worker’s control, having nothing to do with performance. A worker who is used to being rewarded for a good job, performing his or her best, and gaining self-respect as a byproduct will need some kind of support to maintain drive and the will to move forward.

This is where a career counselor or outplacement provider can help. Support to move forward to a new opportunity can maintain a person’s sense of worth and value, which in turn will make it easier to find a new position quickly. Employers, if you need to lay off workers, please consider this as the best thing you can provide to help them transition to a new place.

Work is important. I hope everyone celebrates the opportunity to work this Labor Day!

Still the Waters

You decide to let an employee go. For whatever reason, it’s a difficult decision and one that affects someone’s life. You want to do the right things for the right reasons for both your business and for the employee; reduce your unemployment costs, lessen the likelihood of legal action, help the employee get a new start.

Your decision may not have considered what’s going on with the remaining employees. They are watching, talking, and probably fearing they are next to go. The upheaval caused by separation has a profound effect on those left behind, and you need to do all you can to calm the situation and keep the waves from turning to a tsunami.

One of the easiest and best ways to do the right thing for the separated employee, as well as those who remain, is to provide outplacement support. Outplacement helps the separated employee get back on his feet and start taking positive steps forward to the next opportunity. Outplacement is proven to get people back to work faster, often in a better fitting position. It benefits your business by reducing the costs associated with separation. But it also assures the remaining employees that their friend is going to be ok, is getting the help he needs, and will be back to work as soon as possible. It shows that, while making the difficult decision to separate someone, you care enough to make sure everyone is supported when in need.

Don’t let your current employees worry about their friend, build fear, and imagine the worst. Show them you are doing the right thing and help your former employee land in a great place.