When you are told to start looking

It happens sometimes. You think you are doing a good job and your manager calls you in to have a chat. Your are told to start looking for another job. This can happen for many reasons and most of them have nothing to do with you personally.
The primary reasons could be a change in leadership, a change in priorities or scope of work, a cut of expenditures or downsizing, and note that people are the highest expense of any company, efficiency measures that reduce the layers of people or the dependence on people. Whatever the reason, these things happen and most of us have been faced with this type of situation.
Twice in my life I was let go without any warning. Once, I was downsized because the company grew too fast in the dot com era and did not have a solid business plan in place – a great business lesson for me and fodder for a future blog post. Another time I was fired due to the organization not having enough of the right work for me to do. This was after only 10 weeks. I was devastated. I had never been fired before in my life. In hindsight, that was not a good fit and they did me a huge favor.
It feels terrible to lose your job. But, when you are given a courtesy heads-up to start looking, consider that a gift. Take this advice seriously and start your job search in earnest. Don’t wallow or think your manager could be mistaken. If your manager gave you enough courtesy to tell you, ask them for their advice or assistance. Start reaching out to everyone you know, get your resume updated immediately, and look for jobs while networking. Attend industry events…lots are free. Get on LinkedIn to research companies and make connections. But, if you are going to reach out to someone you don’t know, be honest in why you are reaching out. A request with zero note or context often leads to a No from the person. I know I have done that myself in many situations. However, if you tell me who you are and what your strategy is, I will agree to the connection.
Even if you don’t land a job before you are let go, take whatever window you have and get a heads start. Being proactive in a job search is the healthiest step you can take.
Or, if you are fortunate to take a break, spend this time to think about what you really want as your next step. In these two times I lost my job, I mildly regret not taking time to figure out what I wanted to do. I let panic set in and I moved into immediate job search mode to find the next position similar to what I had.
Sometimes, these can be good things, and if we have some savings in the bank, it can be the perfect time to take stock and reflect on what we want. More on that later….

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