Before getting back to the “Coaching Chronicles,” I wanted to report on some recent progress on my job search, in the hope of providing encouragement to folks who may be dealing with unemployment despondency, discouragement, desolation, loss of confidence or even depression (all familiar experiences that I’ve personally lived through since the lay-off in September).
It has been five months now since the announcement that thrusted me into the world of the unemployed for the first time in my career. And because I had not paid attention to the need for networking while I was still working, it has taken until now to begin to see tangible positive results. But this week, suddenly two very “hot” possibilities have surfaced, both resulting from contacts that I made weeks or months ago either through Linked-In or through using Linked-In as a research tool to find the names of key people at a particular company. One important interview is scheduled for Friday. As a “newby” to being out of work, it took me a long time to learn the ropes of networking. So my first word of advice to those who are still working, is:
Please start taking advantage of Linked-In and other networking opportunities while you are employed, even if you believe your current position is utterly secure. Lesson #1: There is no such thing as “utterly secure” in today's economic situation. Begin to build your network while you are still working. It is SO important to keep records of the contact information of business associates, colleagues who have come and gone, vendors, sales associates, and everyone that crosses your path in your business and your personal life. And stay in touch with these people, if only to say "hello" now and again and to exchange small talk. Should you find yourself unemployed one day, you’ll be able to hit the ground running, and start contacting people in your already established network. Remember: People WANT to help you!
(Not sure the butterfly wants to help all THAT much!)
For example, last week I corresponded for the first time in about seven years with the owner of the no-kill dog shelter from which we adopted two of our wonderful pets. When I relayed to her that I had lost my job, she said, “My husband is a physician and he has done work with a lot of pharmaceutical companies. Is there anything he can do for you?” And before I knew it, her husband was making calls to everyone he knew in Pharma and then sending me job descriptions to review!
You just never know who, in your personal circle, might have contacts in your industry and might also be willing to help you out by making phone calls on your behalf. To me, as I wrote in an earlier post, finding out that PEOPLE WANT TO HELP was definitely the silver lining to my unemployment situation. I can’t begin to tell you what a wonderful positive change has come into my life from the uplifting things I have learned about the natural kindness and generosity of most people. You will be amazed and your spirits will soar. You’ll also be wanting to dedicate yourself to helping others once you’ve jumped back “into the saddle” again!
This post was intended to be about working with a coach “peeling the onion” of the psyche to discover the inner reasons that obstacles lie in the way of finding happiness in your career. But this interlude lasted longer than I expected ,so I think it has gone on long enough for now. Stay tuned—we’ll be working on that onion in my next post!
All photography by Michelle Alton
If you have 10 minutes, you might want to listen to the podcast interview that Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Magazine conducted with me, entitled: "Keeping Your Mojo and Your Sanity in a Tough Pharma Job Market" http://tinyurl.com/AltonMojo