My Medical Device Sales Career
The new year brought new jobs and also many people who were laid off in January and February. I guess some companies now wait until after the holidays to lower the boom! I actually was surprised at the number of calls from those laid off and they came from an array of different medical companies. At first, I felt very badly for the callers and they all said the same thing in a very quiet and somber voice;
"I was laid off earlier this week and I was just shocked, in fact too shocked to call you right away. I still feel shocked and I guess I just feel numb. I have never been unemployed let alone laid off, fired or whatever you want to call it. I just worked so hard and for so long for this company. I did not see this coming. I was doing well and I thought I was a valued employee or at least I use to be."
As the calls poured in I could hear what I could not see in their faces. One person, I'll call him Tom, simply said this when I picked up the phone,
"Linda, I just lost my job and I'm scared. I'm over 50 years old and I have been at the same job for 15 years. I won sales awards, even up through last year, I was doing well. Now, I am just scared and I don't know what to do or where to start. I never thought I would be doing this at this age."
I quickly replied,
"Well I do."
"I know what you need to do now, tomorrow, the next week and the next month and frankly what you should never stop doing until you are retired or perhaps even thereafter. Are you interested in finding out?"
That at least evoked a small chuckle from Tom and an affirmative reply.
I then went on to tell him the first thing he must do. He must go ahead and not push away the feelings of shock, numbness, regret or whatever he is feeling on an emotional level. This is a loss, a real loss on every level. It's ok to feel terrible about this situation. In his situation of long term employ, his co-workers were like family to him. In fact, he spent more time at work with them than with his family, especially after eliminating sleep time from his agenda. So of course he must acknowledge the loss and let it run its course, but HE MUST NOT LET THE LOSS RUN HIM OVER. I told him, please Don't let a job loss define you now and certainly not forever!
I shared with Tom what I know from my own personal experience and working with others. Now I will share it with you, my readers.
A job loss can be freeing. The handcuffs or what we use to called the golden handcuffs, especially if you had a defined pension plan, are now gone. Yes, those handcuffs of any variety or strength have fallen off your wrists. You have been rendered a free agent with nothing to lose and everything to gain as you venture forth to a new company or career. The loss has already been defined by your FORMER company. Now begin to accept and embrace the job loss as a gateway to your future regardless of your station in life.
Whether your are young, mid-career or late career, take a deep breath and begin the adventure of finding a job that will be better than the one you had before.
It is time to place yourself on the path to a brighter future or a lifestyle that is more conducive to your current needs vs. the needs you had at the time you picked that last company as your employer.
Chances are, in hindsight, you may never have selected that company or job if you could turn back the hands of time. So take the knowledge you have accumulated during your employ and, with that wisdom, direct yourself to your future.
As I concluded my call with Tom, he reminded me that I was going to tell him what he should always do and never stop until his last breath.
I laughed as I replied that I thought I had, but I would try to summarize,
You need to stop being scared about a job loss, this most recent job loss or possible future ones. Being afraid of a job loss usually means a person is looking backwards clinging to what he fears he will lose instead of looking ahead at the possibilities of career growth and embracing the adventures of what is new.
The silence on the other end of the phone gave me the permission to continue,
So Tom, you will find a new job, this I know. So every day in that new job embrace it, learn what you can from it and challenge yourself to do the best you can while you work it, but don't cling to it like you are hanging on to it by the tips of your fingers dangling from a cliff.
Approach your job and life as a springboard to the next opportunity. Be willing to make the jump forward.
Now it was Tom's turn to laugh as he replied,
This time I was forced to make the jump, no that's not true, I was pushed out because, I guess, when one is jumping they have their sight on where they will land. I may have been pushed out, but I am going to make the most of it. I get it. I need to adjust the way I am looking at this job loss. I was afraid to leave and frankly, I should have left long ago. I could see the writing on the wall. If I used the approach you suggested I would have spring boarded long ago to a better opportunity. Those opportunities were there, but I was too afraid to make the jump.
I repeated his earlier statement, "You were too afraid to leave." He quietly said, "Yes." So at least that fearful decision is gone, they made it for you. He stepped right in, "Yes, and I won't ever allow myself to feel that way again with any company." I simply replied, "Then perhaps you need to send your former manager a thank you note!" We ended the conversation with a good laugh. Tom will be fine and in fact, better than he ever has been.
©Linda Hertz, All Rights Reserved
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