TYLER, Texas — I am here meeting with contractors regarding the reconstruction of my home. For those of you who have not been following this ordeal, a very, very large tree inflicted major damage to my house on Memorial Day. It is amazing how time consuming an insured loss can be. The adjusters and the contractors have made a lot of progress but it is not moving as fast I want it to move.
When you experience a huge loss, in my case, property — and we have excellent property/casualty insurance through Kemper which has been unbelievable in their customer service — you can appreciate how a person feels when his or her career/financial livelihood has been uprooted. It’s shocking, and nothing moves as fast as you want it to — the house repair, or the job search.
As I absorb this upheaval in my life — all our personal belongings in storage and living in a temporary condo (the active word being temporary), and not really knowing how long any of the reconstruction will take — I have been thinking a lot about the hundreds of candidates I have interviewed who have found themselves in career transition – in a massive life transition – far greater than mine.
They usually do not have a superb insurance company like Kemper backing them up as I do, and it is easy to understand how panic can set in. In my case, I know exactly how much I am responsible for. For a candidate who has experienced several job rejections and sees his severance quickly evaporating, there is no certainty and little comfort.
Disruption, the destruction of your home, or the loss of a job, is terribly unsettling. Throw in the uncertainty of healthcare reform on the job loss side, and you have an unholy, uncomfortable reality.
When you loose your job in the face of unparalleled industry change it is a fast way to develop high blood pressure. If you are one of those people who doesn’t embrace change, the pain is just that much more daunting.
I am one of the lucky people. I love change. I did not like seeing a large part of my house obliterated by this huge tree, but I quickly processed the event: I knew that I had excellent insurance with an incredible company. While all of this has been disconcerting, I have been able to put the management of rebuilding my home in the hands of my highly knowledgeable and compassionate claims adjuster as well as the skilled construction company and focus on my business and the other parts of my life. I am able to trust that the house is being taken care of.
The truth is that many executives, even those with good severance benefits, have enormous emotional difficulty when they experience a disruption in their professional lives.
A tree has crushed their career house at the same time business reform has destabilized the job markets. For those who sit around waiting for people to offer them a new opportunity, most will be disappointed. The job market rules have changed. It is up to the individual to pursue his or her next opportunity. It is up to them to manage their career dreams.
I may have many weaknesses but the one thing I do well is excel at dealing with change. For me, if change is in the middle of a busy freeway, I am the guy dodging traffic trying to understand it and trying to understand how I can benefit from it.
Behind the upheaval, there is always opportunity.
© 2017 John Gregory Self