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February 14, 2018
Laid Off? Great. Get the Job You Really Want.
 

If you haven’t been a casualty, you have probably read about the rash of layoffs that have been happening in our industry. The positive spin of “responding to current client needs” and “aligning to a new method of working” is another way of saying the agency model continues to morph. This transformation can be viewed two ways: an obstacle or an opportunity.

 

How can a volatile employment circumstance be an opportunity? Relevance. When your abilities and work are relevant to what is happening in the industry and what will be happening, you become a highly-sought candidate. Work still goes on, albeit in a “new method.”

 

Rather than hunkering down and trying to stay out of the line of fire, you should get busy becoming that candidate. Here are a few key ways to quickly realign yourself more quickly than the industry. Be ready when it arrives and you’ll not only weather any “adjustments” your current employer may make, you could be recruited for a more rewarding job.

 
  1. Read. Not the pubs of our business but the pubs of business. Find out what companies are doing and how they are doing it. The operation of a company includes how they market themselves. The innovation they put in place to succeed in their industry will be reflected in the marketing partners they hire. Learn about how leading businesses are innovative and apply relevant things you’ve learned to how you work.

 
  1. Listen. Podcasts are another way to grow your innovation chops. The One Thing, How I Built This, …. Are a few that inspire fulfilling the dream each of us holds within. We learn how to embrace the fear of risk and how seemingly overnight successes were built over a number of years. In other words, you have to do the work.

 
  1. Reflect. I recently told a friend who asked my advice about their next career step, to not think about what but why they do what they do. In other words, ask yourself who do you want to be before making plans on what you want to do. There are two reasons this is important. A person seeking career success will never content with a paycheck. There must be relevance to purpose. Relevance varies for each of us, so it is imperative you “know thyself.” I coach and train a lot of people who are in the midst of search. The motivation they realize when they understand how who they are relates to what they are meant to do is like a turbocharger. The engagement to grow and learn isn’t a chore, it’s therapeutic.

 
  1. Rethink. You spent years mastering your craft. What if it that craft became irrelevant overnight? Remaining relevant becomes a priority. Your irrelevance happening more gradually makes transformation your highest priority. Do not be the proverbial frog in the pot. You do not earn security. It’s not even about what you’ve done lately. It’s about what can you do to help your company not only survive but grow. No amount of experience or seniority saves you from the evolution of this industry. Evolve or go the way of the Dino.


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Bart Cleveland spent over 30 years helping grow brands like Coca-Cola, The Ritz-Carlton, and CNN. Now, he guides creative professionals to plan and execute successful careers through his business, Job Propulsion Lab℠. He also helps both agencies and marketers nurture customers into advocates through a relationship development program he calls, ACES℠. 
 
Bart launched Ad Age’s most popular blog, Small Agency Diary. He is also a contributing author of the book, The Get A Job Workshop, How To Find Your Way To A Creative Career In Advertising.
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