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My Career Disappeared Out From Under Me — Now What?

Source | LinkedIn : By Liz Ryan

Dear Liz,

I worked in a bottling plant where I started as a summer worker and ended up as the Director of Logistics. I had no warning that our plant was being shut down until just a few weeks before it happened. I had completely lost touch with the job market, because I was so focused on doing my job.

It wasn’t just a job to me. My teammates were like family. Some of us worked together since the eighties. We were devastated when  our plant closed.

When I finally got it together to start a job search, there was nothing available in my field. Unless you’ve got a big manufacturing and distribution operation you don’t need someone like me.

A lot of the jobs in my area are either healthcare jobs or other jobs I’m not qualified for.

I would be willing to take a pay cut from what I was earning before, but I can’t even get a foot in the door. I feel like my career just dropped out from under me. I didn’t know what hit me. They gave me a decent severance package but now I should be job-hunting aggressively and I don’t see any jobs to apply for.

I’m adrift and I could use your help. Where should I start? Thanks for being there, Liz.



Dear Dave,

That’s a tough blow! Although you are in a challenging spot right now, take heart in the knowledge that you are ahead of the curve. All of us are going to have to learn to do what you are beginning to do right now: take charge of our careers.

You haven’t seen any ads for jobs that sound like a good fit for you. That’s not surprising. Fewer and fewer jobs are getting filled through published job ads, and beyond that, more and more people are earning their pay by working on contract or taking on consulting projects than by sitting at a traditional job and drawing and salary.

Virtually every company has some kind of Business Pain that you can solve for them. You have experience in leadership, logistics, supply chain management, project management and tons of other areas.

Your skills cut across functions and industries. Right now you are looking at your talents and your value too narrowly. Almost everybody does that.

When I left my last full-time, salaried job I was in a fog. I wasn’t sure what to do. At Human Workplace we call this confusing place the Desert of Reinvention. It’s a hard place to be.

I said the same things to myself then that you are telling yourself now. I said, “Well, I’m an HR person, so I guess I’ll do something related to HR.” Over time I realized that my narrow self-description and self-perception were the biggest barriers holding me back.

People who meet you don’t really care what your past job titles were. They meet you and get to know you and they say “Hey, could you help a buddy of mine who has a company with a production process that could use an overhaul?”

You could run that project with your eyes closed. You could do a million other things to help organizations with their problems, too!

Read On…

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