You Are in Control of Your Professional Destiny

destiney, professionally, personally

My acquaintance sent an update last night in our private Facebook chat informing her that her skills will no longer be required at the start of the year. At her job, she was no longer required as of January 1, 2017. She informed me that she will be required to work extensively during the upcoming six weeks as well as the holiday season to assist in onboarding her new successor. My friend will be replaced by my friend’s boss’s former assistant. Only because he didn’t want her to overspend on Black Friday did the employer divulge to her these vital details. What generosity, yes?

These are the times I wish we all had a remote control that could pause or rewind events so that I could better anticipate them rather than being paralyzed and unprepared when they occur.

There’s nothing illegal this boss is doing. It is, however, in bad form, and I think we’ve all had bosses like these. I wish my friend could have rewinded the encounter and had her talking points and request for severance ready to help her properly transition because November and December are the months that employers are least likely to hire employees. She could have pressed pause, restarted and presented him with a plan to help the new assistant transition instead of being caught off guard and left wondering, worrying and full of fear.

We’ve all participated in scenarios like this at work. They are the ones that frequently come to mind at odd hours of the day or late at night when we least expect them. My own always tend to occur after picking up my daughter from school. For the first time in a few hours, there is silence, and these memories, questions, and thoughts begin to creep into my mind.

You Are in Charge of Your Own Destiny

I really believe that when one door closes, another one will eventually open. It is entirely up to you which door opens. Your personal and professional destiny is in your hands. I specifically reminded my pal of this last night. Despite being improper, the notice she got was a gift. She was able to spend the following six months actively looking for work, networking, and keeping in touch with friends and family because, unlike many others, she had received advance notice that her position was ending.

6 Immediate Job Search Priorities

I reminded her of that and immediately asked her to do the following as she began to plan her job search:

  • Get your story straight. Be prepared to answer questions and share the why you are actively looking for work. 
  • Write down a list of 12-15 professional contacts who can help you in your job search. 
  • Research your preferred job title and five companies you are most interested in working at. 
  • Plan to meet with 2-4 contacts and colleagues to re-connect, ask for job referrals and introductions each week. 
  • Don’t spend time networking and connecting with people who aren’t influential. Meet with those you have identified as important to connect with in order to reach the goals and targets you’ve set. 
  • Begin the process of updating your resume, cover letter and other personal brand marketing materials. (Download this job search guide I’ve created.) 

It’s the holidays as I mentioned and employers are not normally hiring. It is however, the perfect time to reach out, connect and engage colleagues, mentors or friends. It’s the perfect time to attend holiday parties, events and happy hours letting other professionals know you are in an active job search. We are in a hot job market and companies are desperate to find qualified and engaging talent to fill their roles old and new. Get re-connected to your network on during this holiday season. Because come January it is the beginning of a new fiscal year filled with new budgets, initiatives and hiring, and you want your resume to be at the top of their list.

I encouraged my friend and you to use these next six weeks wisely. Schedule yourself time to call, meet with and catch up with your target contacts and ask for recommendations and introductions. It’s up to you to be focused in what you want and clear in the type of job or opportunities you are looking for and with which companies.

You are in control of your own destiny, professionally and personally. 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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