I Lost My Job – Day# -24

My job doesn’t end until the end of May so let’s call this day # -23.  Until that time I am fully employed, and I also have permission from my current boss to look for positions internally.  So, I have a couple of departments I am reaching out to, but my hopes are not high that this will work both because my skills are a bit specialized and because I have a bitter taste in my mouth when I think of continuing on with a company that is treating me and so many others in such a dismissive manner. I first got the notion that bad things were in the works in mid-April when one of my best friends was blindsided in a “catch up” meeting that HR reps lurking on the phone.  He has basically the same skill set as I do.  He was just working in a different department.  As soon as I got word I knew it was time to take action.  That’s where I’ll start the story today with some critical action steps. In anticipation of potential job loss,

  1. I alerted DW.  There is no reason to hide this kind of information from your spouse.  It’s much easier to have an open discussion about the possibilities.  I know many others are not granted this kind of opportunity, and my heart goes out to those who walk into a meeting and are given 15 minutes to clean out their desks and get escorted out by security.  I feel like these discussions were very helpful for in terms of preparation and being in this together.
  2. I cut my 401k contribution.  Any reader of this blog knows I max the crap out of my 401k to get the most tax advantages I can.  In this case with a potential loss of income coming, I needed to focus on short-term cashflow so I slashed my contribution rate back to the 5% level.  Why 5%?  That’s the match level at my company, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to leave any money on the table!
  3. I cut my student loan payments.  With the same reasoning, I cut about $200/mth from my student loan payments.  I had been paying the variable rate loans at an accelerated rate to take advantage of the favorable interest rate environment.  This was simply taking my foot off the accelerator.
  4. I started aggressively networking.  I think I went to 2 local networking events in that first week.  At the first, I re-connected with some folks at my business school and got invited to teach a course in analytics.  Since then I’ve found someone to co-teach with and started developing the course objectives.  An outstanding opportunity for future networking (not for the $).  At the second, there were about 8 people, and I was a bit disappointed.  But, it turns out I connected well with one guy who operated in a space related to analytics that really opened my eyes to look a little more broadly about my skill set.  That led to a lunch and more discussion.  He took my resume and just yesterday I noticed a job appeared on their website that might be a fit.  I emailed him immediately to gauge from him how to proceed.  Promising.  All of this occurred simply because I bothered to network.  It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but you will be shocked all the people you know that know people you might need to get to know.
  5. I started job searching.  Primarily, I use LinkedIn and Indeed for my job searches.  I also have select companies where I have saved searches that alert me when relevant postings occur.  But, I didn’t stop there.  I built a list of all of the local companies relevant to me and went to their job listing pages.  Not everything you want to apply for is on Monster.  Some companies expect you to come to them, and that’s just what I’m doing.  I now have a long list of bookmarked job listings that I can get through in about 20 minutes.
  6. I applied for some positions.  When I say this what I really mean is I found positions that might be a fit, then I used LinkedIn to find out who I know at the company.  A resume handed to a hiring manager by someone you both know is going to get a lot more attention than one that goes through the HR black hole.  Always network your way in if you can.  I can almost guarantee you my next job will come from networking and not some of these blind resumes and cover letters I’m sending out.  You never know though so I’m participating in this part of the process too.

If there’s one piece of advice I can leave you with it’s this:  Network when you don’t need to.  That is, it’s much better to have contacts and relationships already established before you need to leverage them.  It takes a lot of desperation out of the conversation if you’re reconnecting with someone you already know.

You’ll have to excuse me now.  I have to go prepare for a networking call!

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