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January 20, 2012

    “You’re Fired!”

These are the words you never ever want to hear! But in this tumultuous economic storm our country has been in for the last two years literally millions have had to deal with it. In fact, Black Enterprise magazine reports in its September edition that by November 2008, the US had experienced the highest unemployment rate in fifteen years. By March 2009 nearly 186 million were in line collecting government assistance to pay their bills. This domino effect has toppled the retail, sales and service industry. Even the steady business of car retailers have resorted to “cash for clunkers” schemes to lure folks back to the lots.

In this season of uncertainty one thing has become abundantly certain; no one’s job is safe. CEO’s and janitors alike are on a seemingly even playing field. Those with degrees are standing beside those with a GED filling out paper work to get an extension on their light bill. What we need is a strategy, a plan of action, and a rally point to divert our fears from the market place and put it on the bright horizon.

I want to focus on four things we all can do immediately to stabilize our emotions. I have found that nothing calms you like a great Plan A and a realistic Plan B. Options are the spice of life in these times when we seem to be all out of them. With that said, wipe your forehead, steady your nerves and become proactive about your future instead of waiting in your cubicle for the bad news.

(1) Dust off and revise your resume now instead of waiting until you are let go: Now is the time to get documentation from all those in services, training’s and extra duties you have performed for your current employer. In fact, speak candidly to your managers about obtaining a recommendation letters to put up for future use.

(2) Start putting ‘feelers’ out to friends and associates in other industries and companies: Sometimes the fastest way to a face to face interview is not through the HR department. Did you know a verbal recommendation carries more weight with most managers than fancy titles on a piece of paper? Find out who you already know and where they work so you can extend your range of motion.

(3) Do a scan of your online reputation: This means taking inventory of your Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, email address and all your voicemail messages. You have to make sure that everything you have is screaming PROFESSIONAL! You will only get one chance to impress most potential employers so make yourself look good. The bad thing is most people will not tell you exactly why you were turned down for the job, and it could have been avoided.

(4) Don’t get ready, be ready: Some companies conduct phone interviews on the spot while others may call and only give a days notice to meet. Keep a clean, conservative suite, white shirt and modest accessories at arm’s reach. During your search you don’t even want to go too long without a trip to the salon or barber shop. If they call at 3:30pm on Thursday and want you there at 9:30am on Friday, you may not have time to get ‘fresh’ so stay fresh!

Although these things are very simple, most often they are the difference between moving on to bigger things and staying stuck a victim of the job market. Keep positive and I am sure we all can land on our feet.

See you at the top!

About the Writer
Early L. Jackson is co-founder of New Direction Coaching Associates and author of “Groomed For Greatness: 31 Days To An Empowered Life”.

Until next time…