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Getting Back In The Saddle...

Joseph Fearn


Parting ways with a job is something that will happen to nearly everyone over the arc of a career. Sometimes this occurs in some predictable or desirable way such as promotion, relocation, or retirement. In these cases, parting is usually manageable and follows a transition by both the employee and employer (notice period, job posting, training a replacement, etc.). But in other situations, the severing is a surprise and does not allow for transition planning. One or the other parties is prepared and likely has planned the change in employment, but the other is not prepared. This can be much hard to manage for an individual and can cause some difficulties returning to productive employment. Having a plan to get back in the saddle can be beneficial and may decrease the amount of time in transition

Get Your Head Right
Leaving a job amicably to both employer and employee can be a very smooth and even happy occurrence. It is quite the opposite when a job is lost precipitously. Hard feelings can occur on behalf of whichever party was surprised. This sudden separation is particularly hard on a devoted employee. Losing a position without some preparation can feel comparable to losing a loved one. Like any other separation from a meaningful relationship, job loss may result in a grieving process. Symptoms of grieving such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance may occur and in no particular order.  Regardless of how you deal with your emotions, be resolute you will get through this situation intact. Negative feelings toward your previous employer are understandable, but ultimately, they do not help you come to acceptance. Avoid falling into a spiral of bad-mouthing or hopelessness as these can delay getting your head right for recovery.

Like any other separation from a meaningful relationship, job loss may result in a grieving process...

To some extent many jobs are about compromise. Not the good compromise of mutual benefit, but the bad compromise of forgoing doing what you like or a paycheck and accepting something short of fulfilling work. Understandably, most people have to work to live and so the daily grind becomes kind of a routine. Losing your job stops that routine cold. Fortunately, now is the chance for freedom to think about what work you might really want to do. Passion is a key trait that accompanies success in many professions, so why not seek a job that matches your passion? Think about what makes you tic and see if there is a job to match. Evaluating your talents is another way to determine what job you should be performing. Combining your passion and talents could be called following your bliss. Take advantage of this juncture between employment to really think about what you’d like to do. The adage “if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life” is true. 

Assemble Your Info
Performing a job search can be like full time work. A first step is to assemble the information needed to tell prospective employers who you are, what you have done, and how you will help them in the future. Your resume, references, and employment history should be collated, telling your career story. Getting professional support is preferable. Like any other profession, career development personnel are specialists. A professional resume and cover letter can set you apart, getting you to the next level of job seeking. Have several people review your documents to see if anything is missed or hard to understand. I also suggest going beyond the normal means of telling your story. Today, our professional lives are online to varying degrees. This is simply the way it is, and one’s online persona is going to become more important and will also become easier to uncover. By adding an online section to your resume, you may help employers find out more about you.

Share Your Info
Your number one objective must be getting your name/history/resume/application in front of prospective employers. Utilizing all your resources is essential. Think about other colleagues and professionals you have a relationship with. Let them know you are looking for work. Word of mouth can be an important resource for learning about job openings. Go online. LinkedIn, TurfNet, Indeed, and others post jobs. Most any employer will have an employment page to review. Many will let you submit a resume for future consideration of jobs not even posted. Volunteering is another way to stay engaged and could also get your foot in the door. Job hunting is not a time for timidity. Be assertive but remember there are protocols to cold calling about employment. Finding innovative yet acceptable ways to make meaningful contact can demonstrate capability to employers. Get out there and get after it.

Let them know you are looking for work. Word of mouth can be an important resource for learning about job openings.

In It To Win It
Being out of work is no fun. The strain and consequences of job loss can be severe and immediate. Most people do not have resources to weather unemployment for very long. It is essential that us unemployed workers do all we can to get back in the saddle because there are no easy answers or magic potions. Do not get down on yourself and do not let anyone else get down on you either. Being unemployed is not about how good a worker you might be. Use all your resources. Now is not the time for half measures as it will be challenging to get back to work. Doing the right things doesn’t guarantee anything, but it does build the odds toward your favor. I appreciate how difficult this time is for unemployed people everywhere. Please do not get defeated. Everyday may be the day the phone call comes with a job offer. 

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fired_download.jpgFurther thought: I lost my job July 28th 2020. As soon as he heard, TurfNet Maestro Peter McCormick sent me his article “Fired”, which he had originally written almost 20 years ago from personal experience. From that I learned that my situation is not unusual for our profession. There are a host of potential pitfalls we managers face... all it takes is one to cost you employment. I also learned it is okay to be angry but to not let your resentment (even if justified) rule you. Several of the takeaways he discussed I had already arrived at myself, thus confirming I was still capable of appropriate situational analysis and had not lost my edge. But mostly what I felt was a supportive colleague and community that was rooting for me and could be a resource in pursuing employment and emotional support. It was  just what I needed. Thanks so much TurfNet and PM and best wishes to any unemployed TurfNetters out there. JF

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Very good piece, Joe.

I lost a couple, suddenly--and probably didn't handle it properly. 

But I did find that standing outside the front gate laughing like an escaped lunatic helped a lot.  Especially if I yelled something like, "Wait til you find it!  HAHAHAHAHAHA!"

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