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Don’t Give Up The Ship When Out Of Work

I saw the best minds of my generation … unemployed in masses.

Unexpected unemployment is plaguing our industry at unprecedented levels. What was once an insignificant blip on the CE radar has now become an unfortunate rampant trend where our most talented colleagues are unceremoniously displaced due to factors beyond everyone’s control.

Contemplating those factors would cover a range of market and economic and global issues. This blog is less about “Why?” it happened.  The focus is on you: “How do you get back on your feet” in the face of stark realities that will soon become abruptly apparent. It’s about adjusting and navigating in unchartered territory because whether you’re an account executive on the frontline, a director or VP, a C-level executive, or a “CE icon,” you are not immune from the unknown. Economic reports suggest the worst is behind us; those indicators are promising, and huge traffic jams on Black Friday are a sign of good times to come. But for the unemployed — and I know the audience is out there — those stats don’t mean anything. It is my hope that these five points will make a difference in your career outlook and search success.

  1. “I’m unemployed … Now what?”

Stop dwelling on why it happened, how could it happen, whether it was fair, or why it happened to you. Some of the best executives among us have been called in with the door closed, and told the news they didn’t want to hear. You need to move on and keep your eye on a different ball: providing for your family. They say “beginning is half done.” Very relevant here as you move on and embark on a new marketing plan: Selling you!

  1. Selling yourself. Who are you, by the way?

I’m not talking about your resume profile. The thing to not do is be inflexible and unwilling to change. Can you start recalibrating your thinking and your place on the organization chart? Being “underemployed” is acceptable in the short term. Explore second-tier companies that can use your industry knowledge. It allows you to stay in the game, earn an income, and, hopefully, provide health benefits for your family.

  1. NOS (Networking on Steroids)

Take the networking of yourself to a whole new level. Reach out to all friends, colleagues and acquaintances in the industry. Make it clear you are available immediately for any relevant career opportunities. At the very least, your name is out there. No shame in being unemployed or underemployed. They will understand and help (spoiler alert: you will find out quickly who your friends are). Some will post a static resume on career/job sites. That will ensure you remain unemployed for months to come. The odds rival hitting the Mega Millions Lotto that your resume will get plucked, screened and ultimately result in a job offer by simply “posting” your resume. A clever tactic is to update some small detail in your resume every day. The database will refresh and your resume will ascend to the top of the mountain of job seekers.

  1. If you’re not humble, you will stumble.

I’m about to turn the conventional wisdom of “job searching” on its head. Whether it’s an HR manager, hiring manager, recruiter or the countless connections you’ve networked with, be humble to a fault. They have too many available candidates and don’t need to deal with someone who is inflexible, unwilling to relocate, arrogant, reluctant to travel 50 percent of the time, or is demanding from the first interview.

  1. HOWL!

Explore all opportunities outside your comfort zone. Use your vast industry contacts to broker “opportunity buys” across multiple channels. Bring retailers and vendors together as a consultant. Wall Street hedge funds pay over $300/hour consulting fee for your expertise on CE trends. Also, a prospective employer’s search methodology may not be aligned with your search broaden your search; instead of “VP, sales, televisions” put “VP, director, manager, sales, consumer products.” Your scope of results and leads will substantially expand.

Considering these pointers in combination will get you back on track and alleviate the sting of uncertainty during this holiday season. But the most important thing to keep in mind is to maintain your confidence and embrace the holiday spirit. Worrying is unproductive. Enjoying and embracing quality time with your family will allow you to decompress and recharge your battery. You will glide into 2014 fully energized with your head held high. Happy holidays, and best wishes for a better 2014!