A friend of mine called me earlier this week to share some news with me.
He was just laid off.
To say I was surprised is an understatement. Although he had some challenges earlier this year, he was actually doing quite well. His numbers were solid and his prospects were bright. Now you might remember a post of mine where I talked about Mike. He works (or should I say worked, as in past tense) for a major technology company where he sells high dollar niche product solutions. Long story short, his division was expendable.
Fast forward to today. He has a stay at home wife with two kids, an underwater mortgage, and now, no job. Add insult to injury, his only mode of transportation was his company car. Welcome to the world of capitalism, Eh? In today’s environment one might think that Mike might have a difficult time finding gainful employment. That may very well be the case, but he is determined to be the provider that he has always been for his family.
As our conversation went on, we talked about different options as to what he might do. How he could find not just a job, but a good job. Ultimately we discussed how he had to approach his search. Do something different, think “out of the box”. Hey, we are both sales guys, we’re smart, we can come up with a plan or an outline for what he could do and where he might go to find opportunities.
We started to brainstorm ideas of where he might go or what he might do to find a new job. Also, note that he didn’t want to settle for just any job, he wanted a good paying sales job, one that he could take some pride in. Something that would re-ignite the passion he had earlier in his sales career.
Once we had eliminated some of the crazy and really far-fetched ideas, we had a pretty good list of action items. (which I will share in a future post) As I reviewed the list, I couldn’t help but think about a speech that Chris Matthews (of MSNBC’s Hardball) gave at this year’s Temple University commencement ceremony. His advice to these new grads is something that not only Mike, but all of us can learn from. He called it his “Card for Life” – Five points of advice.
Here are the excerpts from what he told these new grads:
1) Show Up! Woody Allen was right. It’s 90 percent of getting where you want to get. Don’t phone. Don’t e-mail. Put yourself in their face! If you want a job, show up for it! Nobody’s going door-to-door asking what you’re good at, what your dreams are. Nobody!
2) Ask! It comes down to looking someone in the face and telling them what you can do for them. Ask for the interview, Ask for the job. Ask everyone for a job.
3) Take on Investors Everyone that you ask for advice, becomes a stockholder in you. People who helped you get a job will help you again. That’s just the way it is. They’ll want to say: “I helped get him or her their job.” It’s how things work.
4) Don’t do it yourself Keep your friends close. Stay in touch with your classmates. One of them might strike gold and bring you in on it. One might hear of a job that’s not good for them but perfect for you. Network like a bandit. Don’t do it yourself, you’re only in this alone if you want it that way.
5) Maintain a positive attitude and outlook on life. Upbeat beats downbeat. Nobody like a Debbie Downer. Be positive and positive things will happen for you.
His advice to these students was dead on. It’s also great advice for anyone that is faced with a job loss in these challenging times. For that matter, it is great advice for anyone that has a job and wants to keep it.
Bottom line, be positive, be your own advocate and network tirelessly. Words of wisdom indeed!