What To Do Before You Lose Your Job

At the end of 2019 my director role was phased out leaving me starting 2020 with a clean slate. I could see it coming from afar as part of broader global changes that eventually affected our office. While it was admittedly daunting, I am optimistic because of the time I invested in my own learning over the last several years. Doing so has helped ease the transition and as I navigate the next steps, here are three things you can do to keep yourself in career “game shape” should life throw you a similar curveball.

Sh*t Happens – Get Over Yourself

Sometimes we lose our jobs. It happens – you cannot take it personally. The corporate machine ebbs and flows; one day you are riding high and the next you are out the door (note: I was lucky to be treated fairly on the way out). Which is why it’s so important to build skills outside of your 9-5 gig; in the wise words of Jim Rohn, “learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” It builds a certain level of confidence for the future. So, such an event can been seen as a major blow to your career or a chance to hit pause and determine the meaningful work you want to pursue. It’s rare to have moments like this to recalibrate. Be grateful, get over yourself, and move forward!

Embrace the Work

I can’t stress enough the importance of finding a skill that you can build even when things are going well. When I wanted to start writing more regularly on my personal website and LinkedIn, I pushed myself to write weekly. That was in April 2017, when I really liked my job and had recently been promoted. It can be easy to settle into a job and at times its what we do (life happens). But had I not started back then I wouldn’t have the momentum I have today (ex. my LinkedIn articles have been read over 379k times and 8k+ readers follow my work. No fancy marketing or ad budgets, just me trying to help people.).
I’ve also learned to find reward in the process. Of course it’s easier to watch Netflix on Monday night instead of writing, but I know damn well if I don’t do it I’ll feel like a tool on Tuesday. Embrace the work! Just like you have to push yourself physically when getting back into shape, the same goes for building new intellectual skills. You gotta show up and do the work. That means doing what you have to long after the feeling of motivation wears off. Which leads to point #3.

Show Up – Be Consistent

I really believe the ability to control one’s attention is a formidable skill for this next decade. This means that whatever skill you wish to enhance, you need to be focused and consistent in developing it. If you are writing, pick a day/time in which you commit to sitting and writing. If you are getting back in shape, nothing beats consistency. As K. Anders Ericsson said, “in the long run it is the ones who practice more who prevail, not the ones who had some initial advantage in intelligence or some other talent.” We live in arguably the most distracted time in human history. Now, more than ever, an advantage exists for those able to sustain their effort over time.

You just never know when you’ll need the fruits of your labor.

Be great today,

Ian

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