Thursday, May 8, 2008

Career Interruptus

It's the first "UFO" citing for the Executive Tribune ...

An "unforeseen occurrence" has hit many of corporate America's high-potential executives, stopping them in their fast tracks.

One of last week's top stories from Reuters on all the news feeds ... "Layoffs Rise 68% from March to April, Highest Since 2006." (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24403091/)

Announced layoffs through the first four months of the year have grown to 290,671, up 9% from a year ago. Financial companies announced 23,106 layoffs in April, including major reductions by Merrill Lynch and Citigroup. April marked the largest cuts in the sector since last September. Telecommunications companies announced 8,007 layoffs, more than half at AT&T.

This week was more of the same as Wall Street giants Lehman, JP Morgan Chase and UBS announced another wave of layoffs.

Is the sky falling?

Having seen this many times, I can safely say more UFO's are coming.

An impending or existing recession or slowdown (depending upon which source you believe) not only creates financial problems for employers, it impedes the upward trajectory of their hardest working employees. To add insult to injury, many find their stock options are underwater and the icing on the cake is the looming threat of job loss through no fault of their own.

So how do you avoid "career interruptus" when UFO's happen?

First step, unlike those strange flying objects, recognize that these are the real things. They happen on a regular basis. It's not an "if", but a "when" phenomenon.

Second, plan for it. Your career is a life-long venture. Decide what you'll do if things don't always go your way.

Third, no freaking out. I've seen too many folks agonize and beat themselves over the head when their jobs are lost. "I didn't see it coming" is a popular refrain ... that's why they're called UFO's.

Armchair quarterbacking is a waste of time ... get right back into the game.

Don't forget ... you're a leader.

Take charge of your career with the same dedication, determination and effort you've been using in your job. Identify and evaluate options. Explore alternatives. Monitor your progress. Make informed decisions. Essentially, bring the same commitment to your career as you do to your job.

Start by trying the 2% investment criterion, e.g. if you work 50 hours/week, put 2% of time into your career ... comes out to one hour each week. Probably less time than you'll be spending at your next meeting.

So when the next UFO appears ... you'll be prepared.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

UFO! 2%. Great stuff. Thank you!

NYer1969 said...

Thanks for putting up something worthwhile. Your 2% tip is on the nose.

dandwon said...

after reading this post, i'm putting out a ufo alert in my office. congrats. nice job.

gkr10514 said...

First time UFOs made sense :)

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