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August 12, 2011
What to Do if You Lose Your Job, Revisited
 
The good folks over at Talent Zoo told me my comments on “Lost Your Job? Here's Information You Need Now” created quite a stir. I began to realize just how much when I read from “Beentheredonethat” that he/she “will not run out and buy (my) book” and from “Runski” who summarized what I had to say as being “long in the tooth.” 

It’s a good thing I am not the sensitive type — I just bleed easy when socked in the nose. So, while I sit and wipe the blood away, let’s take another stab at this.

First off, thanks to Matt who found some use in what was said as he went through his own “trauma” after being terminated recently. But seems to me I am still 24 cents short of a quarter.     

FOR THE RECORD:  There are a lot better ways to sell books than writing articles that will for sure irritate more people than they will help. If you have gone through this before but are still unemployed and out of money and/or patience, I have no advice beyond “keep the faith” that will rescue anyone from the situation. Let me say that again. I HAVE NO ADVICE THAT WILL HELP ANYONE, EXCEPT FOR THIS…

If you are gainfully employed but worried, or if you have recently been let go, brace yourself both psychologically and financially. After that, work to understand what is happening to jobs in this country and to the economy. If you understand, it will be easier to develop the new mindset required to survive and, dare I say, prosper in the new job market.

HERE IS WHAT IS HAPPENING: Because of globalization, advances in technology, and deregulation, there is a worldwide restructuring of the workforce. Remember in the 1980s and ‘90s when companies moved jobs out of places like New York City to states like South Dakota? Many of the same technologies that made that possible are now pushing those jobs to India, Malaysia, and China. It’s more complicated than that, but Friedman was correct; the world is flat.  

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR OUR JOBS AND CAREERS? Companies are getting awfully picky about who they hire and retain, and the fastest growing segments of the US economy — social networking startups — don’t employ enough people to fill the 20,000 seats in Madison Square Garden. (See Tom Friedman’s op-ed piece, “The Start-Up Of You” in the July 12, 2011 NY Times). The three main types of jobs that will drive the American economy include traditional white-collar, contingent, and entrepreneurial work.  None of it will likely be as secure as what we have known. The volatility in the job market will remain. 

SO WHAT IS A PERSON TO DO? Brace yourself, so you can survive the psychological and financial trauma many of us feel when we are terminated. Then, as aggressively as you can, develop the one credential that has currency in the job market: Learn how to create value for yourself and the company or organization you work for. The mechanics of how that is done in a job search are fairly straightforward and are outlined in Cracking The New Job Market. The more important thing though is to change your mindset and join Generation Global. It is a generation defined less by the years in which we are born and more by the mindset required to participate.

That’s why I wrote the book. For heaven’s sake, don’t buy it. Have the library do it so that several can learn to navigate what is becoming a brave new world. Long in the tooth? I don't think so, because I am gnawing on a piece of fresh meat.

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R. William Holland, Ph.D., a veteran human resources executive, is founder and principal of R. William Holland Consulting, LLC, specializing in career management. He is also a senior vice president at BeamPines, a leadership development, assessment, and coaching firm. He lives in Williamsburg, Virginia.  
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