I’ve beome part of a great movement, a swelling tide of humanity that suddenly, and without warning, find they arejobless, struggling to survive.
This is not a complaint, and I am not going to bitch; rather, I’m explaining an “awakening.” Several, actually. One realization I’ve come to is that it’s not likely that I’ll work in my chosen profession again (Advertising). At least not in my area of knowledge, which is media planning.
It’s humbling, life-altering and depressing; one day a contributor, the next, locked out of a job, responsibilities, and a sense of being. In between networking, emailing resumes to nameless people that don’t ever return phone calls or emails, calling people that want to help but can’t, and trying to make a break any way possible, there are times when the brain meanders on to subjects of what did go wrong.
The second realization is this; People that are vital to a company don’t seem to get laid off. Period. Deep in my heart, I feel somehow that there’s a kernel of truth in this, and although I asked for reasons and answers before being ushered out the door…to the point of their exasperation…I was never going to find out if there was a reason behind it all.
Unknowing, I move on.
“How could I have positioned myself better?” is one question that runs through my head, closely followed by a second, “Why didn’t I take another job?” I knew in my bones that my previous job was not the place for me, and had spoken at length about that very subject with my fiancée. I had been interviewing for over a year, though sporadically, but I had a couple offers. Yet, I wasn’t committed, and never followed through…mainly out of loyalty to a company that did not deserve it. And that, too, is the sad truth.
(If you know that you’re in the wrong place, take the leap of faith.)
So, I am learning to listen more. And I write more. I’ve done some freelancing, which pays well. I read a lot, and have learned more than any job could teach, taking advantage of every work-related seminar or webinar that’s offered. I’ve been gaining certifications as well as insight. I’ve also realized that there others out of work who are much more qualified, smarter, and more personable.
In a negative light, I’ve begun to second-guess myself, my capabilities, and my life. It’s always darkest before the dawn.
(In a weird sense, I am happier now than I was working for my former bossess. Not the underlings, the big dogs.)
A couple weeks ago, I read a fantastic article on self-branding. It was a guide on “How to Not Get Let Go” …obviously a bit late in my case, but hopefully you’ll benefit from it.
The article is short; the author is Dan Scwabel, and you can follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, VisualCV, and JobFox, among others. Without reproducing his entire work, here is the meat of the article:
1. Become an invaluable asset to colleagues, networks & clients
2. Position yourself as the go-to-person for a specific skill
3. Gain self-confidence and rise to the occasion
4. Focus on social equity, not just monetary equity
5. Build contact lists before you need them
6. Go on a branding spree by advertising it everywhere
7. Make your brand so visible that people can’t avoid seeing you
8. Become so remarkable that strangers talk about you
9. Be a content producer, not just a consumer
10. Have an “endorsement mindset”
Last but not least, and possibly one of the most important things to keep in mind, is the power of positive endorsements. Collect endorsements throughout your life like you would collect baseball cards. You are the chief marketing officer for the brand called you, but what others say about your brand is more impactful than what you say about yourself.
It’s simple and straight-forward. Succinct, yet speaks volumes. Read it. Tape it to your computer. Carry it in your purse. Lap it up, soak it in, and use it. It may save your job.
Jeff Louis is an advertising professional whose background covers Strategic Media Planning, Brand Building, and New Business Account Coordination. His passion is writing, contributing to Beyond Madison Avenue and Digital Pivot, as well as other freelance assignments as a media planner and writer.