How I lost my job and got a career.
First, some definitions:
“Job” - something you do to earn cash.
“Ca-reer” – a pursuit of an ambition
When my boss came into my office on a Monday afternoon a few years ago, closed the door and sat down in front of my desk and said, “This isn’t working out”, I was relieved that I did not have to continue doing a job I no longer wanted to do.
In truth, I was so excited that my legs started bouncing up and down underneath my desk. I knew that the company had to offer me a severance package since I was not being terminated for cause. I got my package that afternoon.
Just because you “can” doesn’t mean you “should”.
That expression had been ringing in my ears for a few years. I had worked my way up to a senior level position because I COULD do the job very well, NOT because I loved it. Sound familiar?
Getting the package made me have to honestly admit to myself that I wanted to pursue my passion . But I was afraid to do so when I had a good job that paid well. And, now with a paycheque ensured for awhile (I took the salary continuance option), I had the chance to take the leap.
Ask for career transition services!
Unfortunately, my package had no provision for outplacement assistance to help me transition to a career. I went back to Human Resources as my lawyer advised (legal fees are tax deductible BTW) and asked for these services. My company agreed and gave me a budget for this transition.
Some friends said, ‘why not just bank the money?’ Although this was tempting, I knew that to make the leap from a job to a career I had to invest in and know myself to make real meaningful and sustainable change.
Do your due diligence.
I interviewed three firms. None had a program that matched my requirements so I went with one that allowed me to select from their menu of services to create my own program. I needed help figuring out if I had the ability and inclination to make the big changes needed.
Are you getting what you need?
Over the next three months I took tests and spoke with a counselor to evaluate whether I was ready to launch my career. While that time gave me more confidence and propelled me forward to pursue my career, I was left wondering if there was a more comprehensive career transition program that would have helped me:
· Know myself and my brand
· Provide more clarity on what I should be doing
· Know how to properly take myself to market.
· Pursue opportunities in my field
I always thought that having these things would have helped me to propel my career even faster.
Know what’s available today.
Wow have times changed! Fast forward 10 years and I learned about Higher Landing’s proprietary process for Career Transformation. I became very excited for anyone in a similar situation to myself to have the opportunity to participate. However, I was also sad such a program did not exist when I was looking around for assistance after my own termination as I believe it would have enabled me to know myself better and go to market faster, with a more confident and strategic approach.
Remember these 4 things if you are facing transition:
I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges and opportunities in my chosen career and would encourage anyone who finds themselves with a severance package to do the following:
1. Negotiate a budget for transition services. This is a benefit to both you and your employer as it's meant to get you back to work faster.
2. Select your own provider. If you receive a career transition option or budget in your severance package, ask to select your preferred service provider.
3. DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE. If you are given the option to select your transition service, DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE! Ask lots of questions about the services offered. There are tremendous differences with the offerings available; make sure you pick the provider whose programs suit you best.
4. Make the investment in yourself and push through the fear of doing the hard work necessary to transform your career. Believe it or not, a severance package offers you the option to find out what you really want to do in a career. And aren’t you worth it?
Knowing yourself and appreciating your unique gifts is an awesome starting point for any endeavor in your life. I believe that the Higher Landing programs can help anyone know themselves and share their gifts with the world, so much so that I joined its Advisory Council to help others to land higher.
Jane Depraitere, LLB, CGA, MBA
Chair, Higher Landing Advisory Council
More from Jane: E2E: Transition from Employee to Entrepreneur