Get a Job: Networking Your Way to Success
Since this is Work Truck Review, it seems fitting that we should talk about work, or, in this case, the lack of work. I know it’s not the hottest topic, the whole laid-off, out-of-a-job, looking-for-work genre, but it’s a reality that many have faced or will face. It’s often the pink elephant in the room. We try to ignore it, but it’s right there, staring at us and impacting absolutely every other facet of life. Some, like my dad and maybe your parents or grandparents, will enjoy a 30- or 40-year career with the same company, where loyalty, on both employer and employee sides, runs deep. However, I think our generation and the generations to follow will bounce from job to job over the course of eligible working years, both by choice (discontentment) and by an instability in the marketplace that causes layoffs to become commonplace.
If you’ve ever been laid off, you probably know the accompanying feelings: shock, guilt, shame, frustration, anger, and sadness. Yes, for some there may be relief. It’s like getting hit with a freight train of emotion, especially when you didn’t see it coming. Mid-project, you may be asked to leave the building or turn in your keys. What you have one moment may be gone by the end of the day. And then you have to tell those you love that your livelihood has been stripped away. You’ve always wanted a Wednesday off, but now that you have it, you’d give anything to be at work on a Wednesday. It’s an emotional roller coaster.
So what are you to do, my jobless friend?
First, you’ve got to keep your thoughts and emotions under control. No, you can’t go burn down the building. You can’t kill people. You can’t smash up your ex-employer’s laptop or wreck the company car. You’re a grown-up, and you really don’t want to end up in prison over this. Don’t burn bridges with your former employer, because that’s your number one source for recommendations. Make the company regret letting you go! You never know—you may even find yourself rehired by the same guy who let you go, so always be professional. Likewise, you don’t want to spiral into depression. Nobody likes to be Eeyore, and no one likes to be around Eeyore. We don’t live in a fair world, and that’s really important to understand. You need to make good choices and take care of yourself mentally and physically.
Second, you’ve got to step up your networking. A layoff can turn into a scarlet letter, a symbol of guilt and shame you want to hide from the rest of the world. If you’ve been there, you may know what I mean. You don’t want anyone to know, because you don’t want to talk about it and you don’t want the sympathy. You don’t want people to identify you as the laid-off-guy. It’s hard not to internalize the whole situation as somehow being your fault, that you somehow weren’t good enough or valuable enough. It can make you second-guess everything. The problem with this internalization, this silence, is that it prevents you from networking, and networking, I’m convinced, is the best way of finding a job. You’ve got to shout it from the rooftops that you are wholeheartedly, gladly, and enthusiastically looking for a job. You have to spread the word to anyone and everyone who will listen. Somebody knows somebody who is hiring, but people have got to know you are looking. You’re bound to be at the right place, at the right time, eventually! I think the guy who knows you personally is more apt to hire you than the more qualified, cold-call applicant. I’m convinced it’s all about who you know.
Third, you’ve got to see the good in what’s happening. What if, once the dust clears and the pain goes away, a layoff lands you a higher-paying, higher-clout job, with, say, an additional part-time side gig? What if a layoff shoves you off of your comfortable, cushy cloud of complacency, forces you to grow up a little, and builds within you some character traits that would otherwise never have the opportunity to be developed? Contrary to what society promotes, hardship is not always a bad thing.
So, my jobless friend, what will you do with that workless Wednesday? It’s up to you, really. The Enthusiast Network’s Truck Group is hiring. If you can figure out what to do with that tidbit of information, you just may be who we’re looking for.