Rise Like The Phoenix

A number of months ago, I learnt that my former place of employment was engulfed in flames. The massive fire destroyed the main locations of commerce thus providing a rude awakening to the over 350 employees. To make things a bit more concrete, and to help you visualize, the affected persons all belong to the hospitality sector. The business of trade is tourism and being in the heart of the city, was also a blow to the inventory of rooms available to the business community.

In the word of my friend…”wowzer“. An apt word when one is at a loss for words and one’s mind pushes quickly to what the future will now look like. Obviously, a range of emotions will hit, culminating with the challenge of what to do. I can imagine that all the obligations flood into view as you go from 0 to 100 in calculating the debts that will mount if you are unable to find a job.

We expect in our fluid world, that things will happen. People lose jobs everyday for a variety of reasons. But, our response is different when that job loss affects our own survival. The sense of anxiety increases even further when the engines of growth for an economy grinds slowly. Entrepreneurial efforts die as quickly as they are born and innovators are hesitant to commit already scare resources in such a fragile system.

The rollercoaster of emotions is nothing new. The fear of the unknown produces “fight and flight” emotions but eventually that feeling fades. What do you now do?

There is no need to panic. Easier said than done, right? This is the time when you put pen to paper and create a blue print to map your current situation and what avenues are available in the short to medium term. You may have a situation where your job loss could be for a minimum of six months to a much longer duration.

Again…do not panic. Regulate your breathing and begin to analyze your situation.

Phase 1

  • Define the reason for the job loss.
  • Is it as a result of an interruption of work processes which will be resolved in a short time or is it as a result of re-engineering or termination of business?
  • Make a list of all the financial obligations that must be met and rank in place of importance.
  • If you have dependents, you will need to discuss what has happened so each member will contribute to minimizing their expenses.
  • Approach state agencies to verify if there is an apparatus in place to assist displaced workers.

Phase 2

  • Create an inventory of your skills and experiences (Assets Bank). This will be used to re-engineer your resume. Building long term tenure in a job should have provided training opportunities. Take stock of them and how relevant they will be in other enterprises.
  • It is a great idea to find career mentors. These persons are professionals in a variety of fields who will help you to finesse your interviewing skills. Another benefit is they may know of existing opportunities that you may find appealing.
  • Begin to write your application letters coupled with your resume. Remember, you are marketing yourself as talent that they need. You want your skills to stand out, so present them in the first couple of lines on your resume.
  • Send out not one, not two but many, to various industries that fit your profile. This will be determined after you have done some research.
  • Again, explore your skills bank. Are there skills that could be exploited to earn additional income? Talent does not just exist in what we do as employees on a daily basis. What if you love to bake and cater? Conduct a feasibility test to see if there is a need. Good places to start are right there in your community.
  • What about partnerships? Are you able to create a solution to challenges by partnering with a person/persons with similar interests? Seek advice from state agencies on how to proceed with registering a business.

Phase 3

  • Do not give up! The responses may be slow in coming but you must be resilient. Staying at home and praying for the phone to ring will not get you employed. Be active in search for employment. See if you can make an appointment with the Human Resources professional to explore opportunities that may exist.
  • If you decide to go into business for yourself, pace your activities. Assess the market and keep in tune with what can be best described as the subtle changes of your clients. Differentiate your product and service to meet the expectations of savvy customers. Building a reputation takes effort. You want to be careful not to have your new customers “fall out of love.”
  • Finally, take the position that you are re-branding yourself. It may be that you can avail yourself of state-run training programs or if your financial situation allows, you may wish to learn something new. Whatever the situation, constant retooling is necessary if you are to present yourself as the best candidate for employment or as the face behind an innovative entity that will provide a difference.

For those who are now facing this challenge, I trust my blog will help you to acknowledge the fears you have but will prompt you to step out confidently and chart a new journey. Your success depends on how willing you are to chase “the dream.”

(Written for the Wyndham Kingston Team)

Copyright 2013 Suzette Henry Campbell

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