Recommended Reading: “Dismissed: Job Searching in 2013 Compared to 2009”
Writer’s note: One of my “Ten Commandments of Job Search” states that you need to allow yourself one to two weeks to mourn your job loss. I hate to say this but I am guilty of violating that commandment. Like a dietician who eats too many chocolate chip cookies, I failed to follow my own advice. Why did I do this? In retrospect, it is hard to say what motivated me to start my search so early. Maybe I needed to get my mind off some personal issues. I was concerned about the lack of financial planning for my latest bout with job loss. In any case, I was motivated to start my search as early as possible and I have learned to trust my instincts.
Time: 24 hours after my surprise job loss
State of Mind: Ready, willing and able to start my next job search
There were only two times in my life when I was unprepared for a termination meeting. The first was when I lost an entry level position I accepted a few years after college graduation. The second was yesterday, when I was called into a surprise meeting with Human Resources. Although there were other “dreaded meetings” during my career, I was always ready for them. In one case I was able to get the termination board to reverse their decision. On two other occasions, I had just accepted offers with other companies. I used the meeting to give my customary two weeks’ notice. In both cases, those employers decided to keep me for the two week period. I was proud of myself for thinking ahead.
This, however, was not the case yesterday…
I was caught off guard and found that I was angry at myself. “I will never let this happen again,” I thought as I logged on to my home computer. I thought about what one of my friends told me many years ago: “Everyone has to pay the piper sometime; there will come a day when your intuition will fail you. I hope you will be prepared for that moment.” That moment of doubt passed quickly. There was work to do and it was time to get started.
My first step was to write “thank you” notes to managers and administration officials who provided me with assistance during the last three years. After I e-mailed about a half dozen notes, my computer froze. I remembered my previous job search. During a critical time, my hard drive crashed. Although I was eventually able to recover most of my data, it was a slow and painful process. “What‘s going on here? The last thing I need is another problem!”
After a few minutes of investigation I discovered the problem. My cat was hiding under the desk and playing with the CAT-5 cable. “Bad kitty,” I shouted. The cat, startled by my tone of voice, ran out of the room. I reconnected the cable to my computer and I was back in business. As I finished the “thank you” notes, I recalled some advice I had given in the past: Once you finish your mourning period try not to look back at your last position. Just remember your best achievements and move ahead.
It took most of the morning to update my resume. After several re-writes, I completed the update. I was pleased with the results. Suddenly, I remembered Daniel’s call yesterday. His father, Dr. Warren was seriously ill. “Take time to handle issues that are just as important as job search,” I heard my inner voice saying. At that moment, my phone rang.
It was Daniel Warren. We had a brief conversation. I had promised that I would see his father today. The timing of the call almost made me feel as if I had a psychic connection to the Warren family. Somehow, I knew that it would be my last conversation with Dr. Warren. I rushed out of the house to meet Daniel at the hospital, which was a short drive from my home. I greeted Daniel at the entrance.
It was painfully sad to see Dr. Warren. I remembered him as a young college professor, full of hope and energy, with a fondness for Canada Dry Ginger Ale. The nearly lifeless man lying in the hospital bed bore little resemblance to that professor. He could barely speak and I knew his time was close at hand. He weakly moved his fingers, indicating that he wanted me to come closer so I could hear his words.
I had so many questions I wanted to ask. He had given me so much insight into my future. Why didn’t he give me some insight into more recent events? What advice could he have given me to prevent my recent job loss? What can I do to get re-employed as soon as possible? As he struggled to speak, I knew these were all questions that would remain unanswered. His voice was barely above a whisper.
“The darkest hour is before the dawn,” Dr. Warren held my arm and then drifted off to sleep.
After the visit, Daniel told me that his father had not spoken much over the past several days. “What could he have meant?” I asked Daniel. “I really don’t know,” Daniel responded, “I guess you will eventually find that answer.”
I went back home to continue my job search. I had received a few calls from contacts who quickly discovered my change in employment status. Next, I uploaded my resume onto several job boards. While I was researching potential employers I thought about Dr. Warren’s words. What was he trying to tell me? Would this be a long painful job search?
Best not to think about Dr. Warren right now. Instead, I recalled some other advice I received several years ago.
Everyone has to deal with problems. Sometimes our problems keep us from moving forward. The best way to keep moving forward is by just putting one foot in front of the other until you reach your destination. Forward, march!
-Howard K. Young
Special Thanks to Lori D. Young for assisting with this writing.
Find more articles in Howard’s series “Good Hunting”
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