Unemployment was one of the best things that ever happened to me. That’s right! No one could have suggested that to me during that painful and difficult time in my life 12 years ago when I was laid off from a major computer firm. However, hindsight has a way of showing you the rainbow after the storm. Unemployment led me to three personal career philosophies that i have adopted and live by today.
To thine own self be true. My job search motivated me to take a career inventory. For the first time in my life, I had to take stock of all of my roles, responsibilities, strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, preferences, and aspirations over what had been a 10-year career. While excruciating, this exercise was critically important before I could package myself in a comprehensive two-page resume. It helped me see where i excelled, what I found effortless, and what I thoroughly enjoyed. These were my strengths, the things I knew I would be good at and could build a livelihood around.
Step out on faith. As a result of my personal and professional inventory, I could plainly see who I was, what I wanted and did not want, and, more importantly, where I wanted to go next as a professional. Playing it safe was no longer appealing to me. I knew I could safely return to sales, but what I really wanted to do was to make a difference for people and particularly professionals, so I switched to training. It was a huge transition, to say the least, but one that has paid off many times over and eventually led me to my current role.
Never be unprepared. One day you’re in. Next day you could be out. Unfortunately, it’s just that simple in today’s business climate. Therefore, I promised myself that I would take advantage of growth opportunities and harvest all the knowledge and skills that I could. It’s the harvest that will prepare me for the next venture—if I need it.
These three philosophies have led me to a wonderful career mosaic that is still evolving. While I’m certainly not recommending trading employment for soul searching, I do believe that you have to take the time to find your true north to energize your career.