I thought it would never happen. I thought I was resilient and could anticipate these things a mile away. Well my ‘superman’ cape got stuck in the door in January and I was laid off from my job.
Being laid off is a very weird situation. One minute you are on the inside of a company and the next minute you are not. Your manager won’t talk with you except to toot the company line that “it’s not personal, it’s business”. They look at you like they care but you know they can’t. They might want to care for you and your family but the job of doing the company’s business is to keep their distance.
I also found out later other people had known about the impending layoffs but didn’t tell me. Now these people were not my personal friends but they were people who I had spent some time with while working there. They were in leadership positions so they knew their butts were on the line if they said anything.
That was weird too. One guy, who let’s just call him Bruce, actually said goodbye to me on my final day. When I ran into him in the hall before I was escorted out, he had that look in his eyes that said he knew this was going to happen. He was one of those friends I mentioned. I later found out after asking Bruce to lunch that he did know I was going to be let go. He knew for over a month! I guess I am more mad that I didn’t fully pick up on it. He is still a good guy and I don’t fault him for it. I would have probably had to do the same if he was on the list.
I left the building at about 9:30 in the morning, the day I was let go. A week before I had been invited to a 9:00 meeting with others from my team. It was a very dispersant bunch (not connected except for on the same team). We worked on very different sides of the overall business. I knew something was up but didn’t want to admit it to myself until I knew for sure. I even emailed our department leader (the meeting leader) and asked what the meeting was about. I got no response.
The reason I tell you this is because I had a feeling that day would be my last. Because of that I brought my running clothes with me. I like to run and especially when I have a lot of stress to get rid of. I left my company, IHS, it was snowing. It was about 30 degrees. I was free. I was a little nervous. I knew I just needed to run.
Before I left and during the short meeting when I was told I was fired, I had sent a text to my wife telling her I was canned. I had pre-warned her if this was going to happen I would let her know. She got the text, said everything was going to be alright. I called her after I left the building. It was a good conversation filled with happiness, sadness and the great unknown. We agreed to discuss all things about the situation over the next few days and she released me to go run.
I had one of the best runs in a long time. I was free. I was free from the stress I had felt working there. I was free from the ‘what’s going to happen to me’ feeling I had over the past few months. I was free to make a change in my life and head in a new direction. I was FREE. Freedom is a very cool thing. The unknown can be daunting but the freedom makes the unknown pill seem a little easier to swallow.
So let’s fast forward to today…I was just hired. Yay. I am so excited. The new company is not perfect but the opportunity is very exciting. It is not permanent position but a contract one that will last until August. I am most excited about it because it gives me the opportunity to explore another great company. Is it the perfect job? Nope. Will it help me in my career? Yep. I am excited.
So here is how I did it. Here is a quick overview of what I did and how I did it. There is no magic to my job search success…only hard work and sticking with my plan. Along the way I learned some new lessons which I plan to share with the world in a video course I am building on how to find a new job. I have been running the JeffonJobs blog for many years now with limited success. I am putting a stake in the ground today and letting the world (well my little world) know that I am here to help other job seekers find jobs quickly. The video course will come out in a few months and I am looking forward to sharing it with you.
After my run on February 14, I came home, talked with the family and got started on my job search. I made some adjustments to my resume and started creating my job search plan. My goal was to find another job in 30 days. I picked 30 days because that was all the severance I had gotten from IHS. They did provide me with some assistance from a placement company called Right Management too which was nice.
With my plan in hand and my newly crafted resume I was ready to apply for jobs. I started in the afternoon. I remembered thinking to myself that it was pretty cool…I got fired and now I am looking for work again. I felt like I jumped a few steps in my grieving process. I was proud of myself. Little did I know there would be some ups and downs along the way.
I bult a system of searching the job boards every morning, noon and night. My goal was to be the first person who saw a new posting to send my resume and credentials to it. I did this every day, even on the weekends. My favorite job boards were Indeed, LinkedIn, Craigslist and then periodically Dice and SimplyHired. Those were my goto job boards. I NEVER posted my resume to any of those sites. I did set up the automated job alerts but knew they would not help much since I was on them so much.
I felt like online portion of my job search plan was good enough to find and apply quickly to the new job postings. I love the Indeed job board the most as they have great features that allowed me to filter my job searches very easily by location, timeframe (i.e. most recent) and job title. The other job boards were good too but Indeed is my favorite. I even created an eBook on how to use Indeed. If you want a copy, let me know in the comments below.
Next I joined the outplacement group at Right Management and started attending various workshops and meetings to help keep me on my toes. I found the most benefit from the weekly networking meeting. It is not truly a networking meeting as everyone was unemployed. What I did realize is it doesn’t matter if people you “network” with are employed or unemployed, they all know someone. They helped me and I helped them.
The networking group was one part networking and one part a discussion about job search topics. Everyone was given the opportunity to share any new things happening in their job search and then we would discuss the topic of the week. Even though I never really felt like going there each time, I was ALWAYS glad I went afterwards. I knew how to job search but I learned something new every time.
In addition to learning new things and sharing what was going on, I made connections with other people there. I helped them with things and they helped me with things. One of the guys and I got together outside of Right for coffee. Most of the visit I gave him some advice on how his resume presented his qualifications and what I would suggest changing. It was fun getting to know him.
After about two weeks I was starting to get my first interviews with recruiters. There was one here and one there. Then at about three weeks, I had to really juggle the recruiter interviews with the hiring manager interviews. It was actually tough to job search and prepare for interviews. Because I was getting interviews I felt like my online job search was going well. It was feeding my opportunities.
The friend I met for coffee sent me a job posting for a contract position his ex-wife had forwarded to him. After I read it I realized this position was a good one for me to consider. I forwarded a resume to the hiring manager and within a few days got a call to set up a face to face interview. That was the position I eventually got. While that one was in the works I was also completing the final round of interviews with a large electronics company and a very small consulting firm.
Everything came to a head late in the fifth week. I was offered the contract position. I used that offer to obtain an offer from the electronics company. I had two offers on the table and the negotiations began. At the end of the day, I picked the consulting position for a number of great reasons. I was thrilled and my family was thrilled.
Here are some stats:
Duration of job search: 6 weeks
Number of resumes sent out: 80
Number of interviews: 25
Number of companies: 11
Number of offers: 2
Landing a job in six weeks was excellent. It wasn’t the 30 days I was hoping for but 45 days is pretty good too. I know a lot of people take many months and sometimes a year or two to find a job. I truly think if someone takes over nine or 10 months to find a job, there must be something wrong with their process or with their presentation. My hope is to someday really help those people who have been struggling for too long. If you are one of them, email me and let’s see what we can do together.
I am so thankful to all my family and friends who helped support me through this transition. The position is a contract position and will end in August but that is ok. I was able to find a job once and BELIEVE I can do it again. If you are struggling with your job search or know someone who is, stay strong. Get some help. You can and WILL find what you are looking for.