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7 things to do the day after getting fired

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Canned. Sacked. Let go. Forcibly retired. Getting fired, no matter what sweet-sounding name you try to pin on it, is still a pretty bitter experience. Even if you’re expecting it to happen (or you’ve been secretly praying for it to happen), nothing ever quite prepares you for the day you get fired.

Yet, in our continually uncertain economy, getting fired is an experience that more and more people are having to deal with. Naturally, most people react to a firing in an emotional way – with tears, anger, idle threats, feelings of isolation or low self-worth. But the 24 hours after you’ve been fired is not the time to be paralyzed by emotion, it’s the time for some very simple actions that can pay off big in the long run. You can always come back to the 5 stages of grief later.

 

the 5 Stages of Grief, by Jack Donaghy

 

Here are 7 suggestions for what to do the day after your last day on the job.

Tell Everyone

Though shame and embarrassment at losing your job might make you want to keep the whole mess a secret, don’t. Think of it this way: if nobody knows you’ve been fired, nobody will know you’re available for new opportunities. A quick email message (or tweet or Facebook post) to your network of friends and associates saying something like, “Guess what guys, I’m looking for employment again,” followed by a very brief, very clear description of what kind of employment you’d prefer, could work wonders. Many of those people that you tell will likely reach out to ask for more details. Resist the temptation to go into a long diatribe about what an evil cad your now ex-boss was, or how you never liked that filth-flarn company anyway. There will be much time for ranting in the days to come. When pressed for more deets, simply say, “I’m not in a space where I can talk about it right now, we’ll have to get together soon so I can tell you all the gory details. But if you can keep an eye out for (fabulous next job I’m looking for), I’d really appreciate it.”

 

Ask for Recommendations

Even if you were fired for less than stellar performance, there’s probably at least one person you worked with who actually liked you and the work you did. Instead of avoiding them like the plague, reach out and ask for a quick letter of recommendation. Or better yet, send them a LinkedIn request, so they can put their glowing recommendation of you on the interwebs for the whole world to see. Wait. You do have a LinkedIn account, right?

 

Get LinkedIn

If you don’t already have a profile on LinkedIn, shame on you. I’m sure it’s because you were so busy with work before that you didn’t have time to get it done. Well, now that that’s no longer a problem, it’s the perfect time for you to create or update your LinkedIn profile. Search for and make connections with your now-former coworkers. Consider this the part of the job loss chapter that you get to write yourself. You decide which characters you want to continue in the story, and how you express what your experience was like.

 

Update your resume

Even if you don’t intend to start looking for a new job right away, it’s best to update your resume while the details of your last position and accomplishments are still fresh in your mind. You may even consider putting up a free or inexpensive website to post your skills, your resume and examples of your work.

 

File for unemployment

Labor and employment laws differ for every state. And if you were fired for misconduct or negligence, you may not qualify to receive unemployment benefits. But it never hurts to try. Even if you and your former employer disagree about the reason for your termination, you may be able to appeal an initial denial of unemployment benefits.

 

Schedule some coffee dates

The unexpected change of routine that comes with a job loss can be a bit jarring. You’re probably used to getting up, getting dressed and going somewhere at the same time every day. The day after you get canned, reach out to a few friends and schedule at least 2-3 coffee or lunch dates for the following week. That way, your daily routine won’t be totally obliterated, and you won’t be tempted to hide in your house like it’s a dark cave of emotion. Plus, when you meet with your friend, you’ll get to vent, rant, ask for advice and suggestions, or receive a much needed dose of cheer.

 

Write your own training plan

Take some time to envision what sort of job or position you want next. Spend an hour or so searching on Careerbuilder, Monster and other job hunting sites for job descriptions that are similar the position you want. This will allow you to see what sort of skills or certifications are preferred for those roles, and which ones you may need to brush up on. Make a list of 2-3 classes you want to take, certifications you want to pursue, or professional skills that you want to improve upon. In the coming days (or weeks or months), your new job will be to find and complete training classes, self-directed projects, or pro-bono gigs that will prepare you for your next job.

 

Let’s be honest, it is statistically probable that you’re going to get fired at some point in your life. Your reason for being terminated may not even be your fault. And even if it is your fault, it isn’t the end of the world. Life goes on. You learn from the experience, pick yourself up, and move on to the next chapter. You aren’t the only one this has happened to, and you certainly won’t be the last. By taking small, immediate actions you’ll go a long way in dispelling the feelings of powerlessness that may come with a job loss. And by taking those actions you’ll remind yourself that, in the end, you are the only one responsible for your career destiny.

 

cheers,

k
photo 1: You’re Fired! by bjornmeansbear, on Flickr

photo 2: via jericapng, on Tumblr

photo 3: Unemployed Dad 488 by Bearman2007, on Flickr

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what’s next – tips for overcoming stagnation

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Making your own money – and by that I mean, not from a typical 9 to 5, but from something you created and you own – is like a drug. Once you’ve had even the littlest taste of it, you’ll always want it again. Be careful what you wish for when you wish to be your own boss. You might get hooked for life.

I say be careful because it’s not an easy path. It’s a #@$&! scary ride. But… it’s a ride that changes you for the better. You learn to become bigger than yourself, if that makes any sense. You learn to use your strengths and your weaknesses to your advantage. As master of your own work domain, you have to know yourself well and still continually try to outsmart yourself, to outdo your last move. That’s innovation. That’s growth. That’s ultimately sustainability. Because if you’re always thinking about where you’ll get your next entrepreneurial fix; if you’re constantly asking yourself, ‘what next?’ you’ll have an answer when someone else comes asking the same thing of you.

In business, that ‘someone else’ is your customers, your employees, your partners, your teachers and mentors. When those people come asking, ‘what next?’ you’d better have an answer. If you don’t, you’ll be cheating yourself and them. Or worse…. you’ll become stagnant, and ultimately irrelevant.

“What next?” is a question that I’ve been continually pondering for the last few months. I’ve been an independent freelancer for almost a year now, and have had plenty of ups and downs, direction changes and lots of opportunities to test different approaches in marketing, selling and delivering my services. I finally feel like I’ve reached a level of comfort with the ambiguity and the sometimes unpredictable nature of self-employment, and I’m preparing to kick off some new projects and partnerships that will continue to propel me down paths I want to travel. I recently shared one of those projects with you, and I’m looking forward to sharing the others as they progress.

In the meantime, I’d like to pass along some highlights from a blog post entitled ‘How to Overcome Stagnation’ by Dean L. Forbes. Work – whether done for yourself or for someone else – is one of those areas that it’s extremely easy to become stagnant in, and Dean has provided some excellent insights for recognizing the symptoms of stagnation and developing strategies to deal with it.

Symptoms of Stagnation:

  • Lack of focus – feeling scattered and unsure of the goals you’ve set
  • Indecisiveness – unable to make a decision because every option is too risky and/or impossible
  • Doubt – feelings of self-doubt, lack of confidence in your skills and abilities
  • Hopelessness – inability to see the silver lining, the upside, the light at the end of the tunnel
  • Cynicism –feeling like the cards are stacked against you, that everyone (especially the ones who ‘don’t deserve it’) is getting ahead except you
  • Depression – lack of energy or will to do anything positive, productive, or progressive

Like any emotional or mental state, stagnation is temporary. The amount of time spent in a state of stagnation depends on your willingness to take the right actions to move beyond that state. Forbes recommends the following right actions to overcome stagnation.

5 Ways to Overcome Stagnation:

  1. Re-evaluate your core values – Make sure that the principles you wish to live by – your own personal definition of ‘the good life’ – are intact. Make a list of the things in life that really matter to you and be sure that your daily activities and decisions reflect that.
  2. Redefine your mission – What is your purpose? What are you here for? What do you feel that you were uniquely created to do? You may already have an idea in your head. Take some time to reflect on and re-envision this mission.
  3. Change your mission – Does the mission you previously envisioned for yourself no longer make sense? Maybe it’s time to find a new mission.
  4. Change your circle – If you’re on a journey to somewhere, your travelling companions can make or break the trip for you. It can be difficult to change or sever associations, but if you find out that people in your circle aren’t interested in going where you’re headed, you’ll all be much better off going your separate ways.
  5. Take a different route – There’s more than one way to reach a given goal. Maybe the path you’re on isn’t the one that’s going to work for you. There’s no shame in changing directions or scrapping what you thought was a well-planned route. What matters is that you keep moving towards your ultimate destination.

If you’re looking for more help dealing with stagnation, here are a few of my favorite stagnation-killing books:

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Pigs Eat Wolves by Charles Bates


photo by: Crystl

cheers,
k

after the affair event staffing – an intro to my latest project

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I have fond memories of summer from childhood. Long days of building forts, scraping up cash for the candy lady, playing kickball, jumping on trampolines, going on four-wheeler adventures in the woods…. Back then, that was serious business to me.

These days, though, it’s all about trying to balance the competing demands of life (read: a hectic social calendar) and work (read: the ups/downs of freelancing). But the good thing is, when you find the right people to collaborate with, serious business can still seem like play.

My latest collaboration is one that I’m especially excited about. I’ve partnered with my longtime friend Edwina Cleveland on an event staffing company called After the Affair. Edwina originally launched After the Affair late last year, and has gotten outstanding response from her clients.

After the Affair’s service was created specifically for two groups of people:

Event professionals (i.e. caterers, event planners, event venues, etc.) who occasionally need helping hands to execute an event, but don’t want the cost and hassle of a full time staff

and

Home entertainers who’d rather enjoy their parties than spend the whole time working them.

Edwina and I are familiar with both sides of the event planning coin – she was a caterer in a former life, and we’re both serious home entertainers who make mini-productions out of birthday parties and dinner gatherings. We know that having the right staff to execute the vision can be the most critical piece of the event planning puzzle. With After the Affair, we wanted to make the job of finding well-trained temporary event staff easier for the people who are likely to need them most.

We’ve assembled a solid roster of highly-experienced, on-call staff that can perform a variety of roles at a special event. We’ve hand-picked some of the best bartenders, wait staff, kitchen help, and setup and breakdown crews around, and we’re eager to keep them busy throughout the summer months.

Right now, we’re putting the finishing touches on our new website, but you can check out the almost-there version at: www.hireeventstaff.com.

I’ll be handling the ‘Atlanta division’ (as we like to call it) of After the Affair, while Edwina focuses on the Macon and central Georgia area.

Friends of After the Affair should receive an email containing a special limited-time offer inside very shortly. If you’d like to be included on this list in the future, sign up here. You’ll receive discounts on standard staffing rates, party recipes, and tips from industry professionals on entertaining and event planning.

Here’s to the start of new summer adventures!

photo by kelvin255

cheers,
k

8 steps for turning your craft into a career

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Your day job is what pays the bills. So you get up every day and go to work faithfully. But secretly (or maybe not-so-secretly), you harbor a passion for some other work – your craft – that one thing you feel like you were destined to do with your life. The only problem is, if you were to jump head first into pursuing your passion, you might not be able to keep the lights on. So, maybe you should just give up on that dream of yours, right?

Wrong. If you’re focused and willing to put forth a little extra effort, there’s a way for you to make it happen. While there’s no guaranteed path to success, here are 8 steps that will undoubtedly help you transform your part-time hobby into a full-time career.

  1. Educate Yourself – Either enroll in a paid course or do some targeted self-study. Buy books and read articles in industry publications. You need to get very smart about the history, and current and future trends of the work you want to do. Is there a viable market for what you want to do? Also, get a feel for what goes on behind-the-scenes of the craft – those things that you’ll have to do that aren’t necessarily related to the craft itself. For instance, if you want to be a writer, you need to learn how to write pitch letters. If you want to be a musician, you might need to learn about putting together a press kit or music copyright law. Find out what average salaries or pay rates are in the field. This step alone may make you second guess your decision to pursue your craft as a full-time career.
  2.  

  3. Carve Out a Niche – How do you do your work differently? Are your products and services for a certain type of person or audience? What can you do with your work that’s totally unique? Develop your own persona, your own set of offerings that’s just a little bit different than what’s already out there.
  4.  

  5. Build a Resume – Whether you want to work your craft as an employee or as a business owner, you’ll need to show that you’re experienced. Early on you may not have a lot to put on a resume, so seek out volunteer or non-paying opportunities that will give you that experience. Look at previous jobs that may have required you to use the same skills, even though you might not have had the exact title. If you have the time and energy, consider moonlighting or taking some one-off projects or a part-time gig in the field you’re looking to break into.
  6.  

  7. Join a Flock – Seek out a trade association, industry organization, or just a network of people who are doing the same work. Be active, ask a lot of questions, let people know that you’re trying to break in to the industry, ask for ways you can lend your talents to the group, offer to take people out to coffee, to collaborate with them on their next project. Above all, be genuine with this group. They’ll be like your new family.
  8.  

  9. Tell Everyone – Tell everyone you know – friends, family, former co-workers, the guy who makes your coffee at the corner café – about your ‘new’ line of work. This is for two reasons: 1) so you get comfortable claiming your new career, and 2) so people you know start seeing you as this person. Ideally, you should get some self-promotion tools in place – business cards, a website or blog – so you can showcase your talent to the world.
  10.  

  11. Define Your Prey – Clearly define who your target customer is or what type of organization you want to work for. How far are you willing to travel? How many hours do you want to work? What types of people do you want to work with? What kind of salary are you willing to accept? Get clear about what it is you’re actually looking for, and then…
  12.  

  13. Go Hunting – Talk to contacts in your network that can introduce you to your target clients. Hang out in places where your clients hang out (be sure to bring your self-promotion items with you), meet people and follow up with them, even if it’s just for personal reasons. This step is about building the relationships that will get you closer to your ideal client or type of work.
  14.  

  15. Be Patient Persistent – If you’re lucky, you may achieve success overnight. If you’re patient, you’ll wait as long as it takes for success to come to you. But if you’re persistent, you’ll realize that it takes both time and consistent effort for you to reach a desired level of success, and you’ll continue to do the work required to meet your goals.

Have any other tips for how to make your part-time passion your full-time career? Drop ’em in the comments.

photo credit: Tony the Misfit

cheers,
k

the bonvivant gets down to business

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Change

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.”

-James A. Michener

I’ve been writing this blog for about a year and a half now. For those of you who’ve been reading for a while, you know that I mainly rant and ramble about: food, music, culture, and occasionally, society and spirituality. In a word – life. Or the ‘good life’, as I define it.

It’s occurred to me, though, that there’s one pretty big chunk of life in general and my life in particular that never  gets touched on this blog.

Work.

Well, I shouldn’t say never. One of the more popular posts I’ve written was one in which I counted down the days before I left my last job. I thought it would be fun to share the idiosyncracies of my daily work life, since  that we all know and hate.

Apparently, I hit a nerve. Something about that clearly resonated with every one of you, because I never got so many comments on your own experiences (and frustrations) with work and the workplace. Case in point: 

I am so envious of you!!!! I’ve been looking for a new job for 8 months now — and it is a slow and painful process. I feel trapped in hell. I can’t wait for the day when I can quit.

I’m jealous. My job is sucking the life right out of me and I can’t seem to find anything else at the moment. It might better if I go on commission; I might double what I’m currently making. However, money isn’t everything, and if I could find a job that I love doing I’d take it even if it doesn’t pay much.

I’m quitting my job for a better Federal job between now and springtime, and I’m only giving these fools three days notice. When they lay people off (company terminology is surplus), the lay-off list comes out on Wednesday to let people know they will be out of a job on Friday. So when I do that, and they beef, I’ll tell them I’m just following company policy.

I am sooo happy 4 u! I needed that motivation as I am still on the plantat…. I mean the same dead end job….

 

Most of us spend more hours of every day working than doing anything else – including sleeping – but it seems to be the one part of our lives that we get the least amount of satisfaction or enjoyment out of. It seems that work – or at least the way we are used to experiencing work -presents the largest barrier to our ability to live the ‘good life’. Work is either not providing the financial benefit that we need to acquire material comforts, or it’s not providing the emotional or mental satisfaction that we need to feel fulfilled.

If we could make our work – whether it’s working for ourselves or for someone else – as enjoyable as our play, wouldn’t our lives be so much more…good? It’s a question I’m interested in answering, because I think I’m not the only one who could benefit from knowing how to make that possible.

I’ve decided to add a new category to the blog for all things ‘work’. In this category, you can expect to see commentary, books, articles, links, and my own personal opinions on how to make work more fulfilling, productive, rewarding, and fun. Hopefully, we’ll all learn a little from it, and move that much closer to integrating our work with the rest of our lives.

Before I go, I’d like to pose a question as my first act of research.

Are there any of you out there that truly enjoy your work? And it doesn’t count if you say, “I  like my work, but, or with the exception of….”

I want to hear from people who can say that they enjoy and are fulfilled by what they do for a living.

For those of you who can’t say that wholheheartedly:

What is it about your current work situation that is less than ideal? Is it the environment, the people, the pay, the commute, the crappy coffee in the breakroom?

Inquiring minds….

 

happy monday,

k