You Are in Control of Your Professional Destiny

destiney, professionally, personally

Last night a friend of mine posted an update in our private Facebook chat told her this week her services were no longer needed at the beginning of the year. Starting January 1, 2017, she was no longer needed at her work. She told me she was expected to work throughout this holiday season and over the next 6 weeks diligently helping onboard her new replacement. My friend’s boss is bringing in his previous assistant to replace my friend. The boss only shared her these important pieces of information because he didn’t’ want her to spend a bunch of money on Black Friday. How kind, right?

It’s moments like these I wish we all had a remote to pause a moment or rewind a situation so that I could be better prepared for them instead of being paralyzed and caught off guard when they play out.

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 been a part of professional situations like this one. They are the ones that seem to replay in our minds normally late at night or a quiet moments in the day when we least expect them. Mine seem to always happen once I drop by daughter off from school. It’s quiet for the first time in a couple of hours and these thoughts, memories and questions seep into my mind.

You Are in Charge of Your Own Destiny

I am a firm believer that when a door closes another one opens. What door that opens is totally up to you. You are in charge of your destiny personally and professionally. Last night I reminded my friend of this very thing. The notice she received  even though it was in bad form was a gift. She unlike many others received advanced notice that her job was ending and would be able to spend the next 6 months actively interviewing for work, networking and checking in with friends and family.

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

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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