I received a call today about a colleague who lost his job working at a major oil and gas company. Interestingly, everyone knew him to be an excellent employee, and he often worked on global assignments. During the past couple of years he even earned an Executive MBA. Regardless, today, he is out of a job, and you can imagine the tension and anxiety he is experiencing. With a wife and two kids, the pressure is even more intense.
Many of us feel that if we are committed to our company, we should have “permanent” employment. Of course, you know that assumption to be false. The fact is that you are often one poor quarter away from hitting the pavement. In some cases, a change in supervisor may result in personality differences, and that might be enough to show you the door.
My recommendation is to plan today for the possibility that you might be given the pink slip.
What can you do?
First, develop key skills that put you in demand both in your current organization and with other employers. If your company offers training in areas such as Project Management, Six Sigma, CISSP, or whatever – sign up now! As a Project Management trainer, I am often surprised that many employees fail to take advantage of this great opportunity.
Second, start looking for other companies who might have an interest in what you bring to the table. We know that the best time to find a new job is when we currently have one. The fact that you are employed makes you even more desirable to other employers.
Third, get outside your comfort zone and earn money on your own. You can provide consulting services, teach a class at a community college, or offer a free seminar to your church. Do anything!
For those individuals with a Plan B, getting the boot is no big deal. In fact, it is bound to happen to anyone, nearly for any reason. I am sure that my colleague will soon land on his feet because he was proactive in building his skills while working for Company X. The transition will be tough, but his many years of global experience and Executive MBA will lead to opportunities in the near future.