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7 November, 2011 Posted by John G. Self
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Are You Prepared If You Lose Your Job?

Posted December 4th, 2019 | Author: Admin

Take Away

5 important elements for your career emergency preparedness plan

Read Time: 2.5 minutes

Are you prepared? Not just emotionally but strategically?

Smart organizations spend a great deal of money on emergency preparedness.  If there is a disaster or some other form of business disruption, they want to be prepared to continue serving customers and generating revenue.

Our economy is booming at the moment but right below the surface there is a wave of market and financial instability forcing changes to business models in a number of industries.  Not a week goes by without new reports of corporate mergers, restructurings and layoffs.   There are human, career casualties.  


An astounding number of executives across the country who know how important emergency preparedness can be in protecting the integrity and financial stability of their businesses have no such plans for their own careers. 

Are you prepared?

Here are 5 important elements for your plan:

  1. Focus on our your  performance.  Deliver results in every job you take on.  Nothing is more protective during a layoff than being considered a star performer, essential to the company’s future.  
  2. Build your cash reserves.  Many organizations are curtailing or eliminating severance payments for all but their most key senior executives.  Create a cash reserve that will afford you the time and resources to look for your next better position.  That is a full-time job.  Having adequate cash reserves will allow you to avoid credit card debt or eat into your retirement account.
  3. Engage a career advisor.  Begin by developing a longer range career plan and then support that work with a transition/job search strategy you can activate in the event of an unexpected termination.
  4. Define your professional brand now, not when the ax falls. Establish it in the marketplace and then execute on your plan to keep it front and center of your strategic network.
  5. Build and sustain a robust professional network.  Connecting with people on LinkedIN is nice but it is just that:  connecting.  Convert your relevant connections to members of your strategic network, executives with whom you enjoy a deep sharing relationship.  This can take years to accomplish.  If you haven’t started, if you do not have a plan, now is the time.

At JohnGSelf + Partners, we offer our clients one thing:  career guidance that will enhance your success.  From career planning and intensive job transition programs to monthly check-in sessions, we provide you the security of career preparedness backed by a depth and breadth of experience and personalized attention. We are there for you.  

For more information on our affordable personalized career management support, email us at info@JohnGSelf.Com.

© 2019 John Gregory Self

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How to Avoid Wasting Your Time In An Executive Search

Posted December 3rd, 2019 | Author: Admin

Take Away

Four questions to ask recruiters about internal candidates

Read Time:  2.5 minutes.

No one likes to waste their time, especially when the outcome was disappointing.  This rule applies to so many facets of our lives, including consideration of a new, better job.  

When a search consultant comes calling, it is a special feeling.  It boosts our ego that another employer thinks we are valuable and they are interested in wooing us to join their organization. Our imaginations immediately race, we cannot help but think — more responsibility, more money, a clear path for future professional growth. This is heady stuff.


Your time is important.   So is your confidentiality.  Any time you stand for another position in a formal search process, there is always a chance something could slip out that could compromise your position with a current employer.  So being prudent is an important quality.

 As a former executive recruiter, I never objected to being quizzed about internal candidates but as a cautionary note, there are some recruiters at very well-known search firms who do object to being pressed about the possibility of an internal candidate.  Their defense for being less than transparent  is almost always constructed around the theme we have a duty to protect the confidentiality of our candidate panel.  Good, we all get that.  Your questions about possible internal candidates should be designed not to uncover an identity that should remain confidential, but for you to avoid wasting your time.

Here are four questions I would ask before getting too excited about being recruited for an executive position:

  1. Is there an internal candidate either under active consideration, or someone the company would like to consider?
  2. If yes, ask if the internal candidate is as qualified and is he or she well-liked in the company? 
  3. Is the internal candidate’s experience more than, less than or about the same as your’s?
  4. In other similar searches, with an internal candidate, how many times has this company selected the internal candidate over other well-qualified external executives. (Yes, some companies have a tendency to run  beauty pageant searches just in case a super star shows up.) 

An external recruiter may not have the answers to all of your questions but internal recruiters who handle the majority of executive search assignments, certainly should.  

Do not let the ego rush of a recruiter’s call preclude you from asking questions that could help you avoid wasting your time.

© 2019 John Gregory Self

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It’s What You Know For Sure That Ain’t So That Hamstrings Your Job Search

Posted November 20th, 2019 | Author: Admin

“It’s not what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.  It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

This quote is filled with so much truth on so many levels. It is frequently attributed to Mark Twain but when you tell people it ain’t so they often don’t believe it.  “But they used it at the start of a movie, it must be so,” one friend pushed back She was right, it was used at the start of The Big Short, the wonderful movie based on Michael Lewis’ brilliant book of the same name that chronicled events that led up to The Great Recession in 2009, but the truth is there is no evidence that Twain ever said that or anything similar.  


However, I  really like the quote and so I drag it out now and then to illustrate an important point, in this case, an immutable truth.  When an executive suddenly, unexpectedly, finds him or herself in the job market, most get off on the wrong foot because they assume they already know everything they need to know to find a new job. This mistaken assumption is aptly illustrated by my quote’s kicker:  Its what you know for sure that just ain’t so. Here is a sampling of what he knew for sure:

  • He was convinced that social media was irrelevant for executives
  • He could send the same resume for each job he pursued
  • The most qualified candidates always got the job
  • He did not need to practice for interviews.  The clients are smart and will figure out the best person for the job.

I wish I had come to you a lot earlier in my search.  You really helped me.”  While that was nice of him to say, he deserves all the credit.  He was the star of the process. When we identified what he needed to change to succeed, he zealously focused on mastering the new rules for finding a new job.  He was disciplined and worked hard.  It paid off.  

On Friday a client called with the great news that he had been offered, and accepted, a new job as the CEO of a community hospital near his home.  He will not have to relocate, a possibility that he and his family were dreading.  “I wish I had come to you a lot earlier in my search.  You really helped me.”  While that was nice of him to say, he deserves all the credit.  He was the star of the process. When we identified what he needed to change to succeed, he zealously focused on mastering the new rules for finding a new job.  He was disciplined and worked hard.  It paid off.  

One day, at the end of one of our mock interview coaching sessions, he confided that he was truly surprised at how the job market had changed so much in recent years.  ‘I thought I understood. I lost a lot of time in my search.”

If you find yourself in the job market, don’t waste valuable time or your severance allowance.  Engage someone who can guide you through the process.  If you are tempted to save the money because you can do it yourself, remember, “Its what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

© 2019 John Gregory Self

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