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Chapter 10. The Flexibility Hand > SUCCESS CARD 52: Move Forward

SUCCESS CARD 52: Move Forward

The last play in the Flexibility Hand is to move forward. Nothing happens without action. Great ideas and attitudes are only the beginning. You need to put them into play. Watch, listen, and learn what's going on around you so you can make a winning move.

“I was laid off but I moved on.”

I had been in the telecommunications industry since 1980, working for a company that had seen several transformations as the telephone industry grew, broke apart, and rebuilt itself. In the mid-90s, my company was Wall Street's darling, but by the end of '99, the company started to spiral downward. In December of that year, right before Christmas, I was let go. Officially, I was “relieved of immediate duties” and was given sixty days to find another job within the company. I never had any plans to switch careers, and if I did leave, I was sure it would be of my own volition. But now that decision was made for me. I spent those sixty days calling everyone I knew within the company, but there just weren't enough jobs to go around. On my last day of work, I packed up my office and left. It was devastating. I never had the need to market myself before; my job transitions had all been pretty seamless as the companies I worked for recreated themselves. But now it was different. Many of the people who were outplaced set about reinventing themselves, but I wasn't ready to leave telecommunications yet. I took advantage of the outplacement services offered me and took workshops on interviewing and resume writing. I worked my network but had no luck. The telecommunications job pool was just too saturated on the East Coast.

I traveled to Seattle to visit my son at school. I stayed with an old friend who was a real estate broker. As I learned more about his work, I started thinking—was this something I could do? When I returned home, I talked with lots of real estate companies and related businesses, did Internet research, and then took a short training course. I was feeling good about myself again and started to feel encouraged in my job search. As I continued to look for work, I started to also consider the retail industry. I thought it could be fun; it would certainly be different than anything I had ever done before. I interviewed for a home products store opening up close to me, and wouldn't you know, I got two job offers in one day—one with a real estate company and one with the store! I decided to work in retail. Even though the other job would mean more money in the long run, I could make money faster in retail. So now I'm a department manager at the store.

My wife and I have always wanted to move back west, and we've decided to do that now. She's in pharmaceutical sales and we both see this move as an opportunity for a fresh start for both of us. We know we'll be able to find work when we get out there. In fact, I think I'm probably more marketable now than I ever have been before. My confidence has certainly improved, probably because of all the interviewing, retraining, and communication skills practice I get everyday with my store customers. If I hadn't been laid off, I'd still be working at the telecommunications company. There were times at my old job when I questioned my happiness. If I had ever really asked myself if I was happy, I wouldn't have liked my answer. I think I'm better off now having gone through what I've gone through. I'm not bitter about the past or scared about the future. I've found satisfaction doing something different with my life.

Tim, department manager of a home products store



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