By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF chair
It was just another Tuesday. I was judging an airports concession contest, then was going back to the office at 1 p.m. for what I thought was a group meeting. I briefly thought it was odd that most of my colleagues were still sitting at their desks, but shook it off. I was called to a conference room where I saw two company leaders, and I knew.
The whole process was very cordial and professional. I listened to the talk, took the packet and thanked them for a great five-year run. Who else do you know that gets paid to do their hobby, their passion? My last day is October 21. One would think that I would be devastated, but really, I’ve been amazingly optimistic. I chatted with a few of my co-workers (actually consoling them), then I went home.
On the train ride home, I started tapping into the network I’ve amassed after almost 20 years in the aviation business. I’ve also tapped my rapidly growing new/digital media network for leads. And the response has been wonderful. I’ve picked up some freelance work, and I already have two job interviews scheduled. Thanks to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter, I have hundreds of folks (and their own contacts) on the lookout for any opportunities for me. And dear readers, if you hear of anything, you can let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
So below are five tips from me to you to use if you get laid off — or if you’re already laid off and looking.
- Give yourself no more than a day to mourn (I took all of 15 minutes). The deed is done, and you need to focus your energies on looking for your next opportunity.
- Have a resume ready. I spent a happy five years at my soon-to-be former employer, but I always kept it ready. I have it on a thumb drive on my key ring, along with a copy on my iPhone, so I can send it from anywhere at any time. I was able to send my resume to three friends on my train ride home Tuesday.
- Create/update your LinkedIn profile. One of my job interviews came from this network. My profile was 95% complete, but I needed recommendations. I tapped my network again, asking for recommendations on my listed jobs. This brings you to the attention of potential employers.
- Don’t be afraid to use social media. One thing you DON’T want to do is bash your former employer. Tell people you’re out and ask them to pass along any opportunities they may hear of. I already have 4 leads from a Facebook post coming from others contacts.
- Think outside the box. People are asking me what I want to do next. I want to stay in journalism, but I’m not going to limit myself to that. So I’m looking at communications/PR, community manager, social media consultant, aviation media/marketing efforts and anything else I think will fit my unique skills.
So here’s to finding that next adventure!!