When we lose our job we all — and I mean ALL — want someone to step in and make everything OK and to find us a new job. That is just a natural human reaction regardless of whether it is rooted in reality or not.
The reality is that the mainstream practitioners of career transition are not in business to find executives a job but to teach them the ever-changing rules of the road as well as the skills that will help them find their next job in this new economy.
There are some of these firms that claim they have the inside track for highly paid jobs, if only you will pay them a handsome fee for the service.
Bernard Haldane was one of the earliest experts in this business — in fact, he credits himself with creating the niche. This London-born innovator who originally planned to study in medicine, did very well with his idea until he sold his firm. His successors ran his company’s name into a quagmire of consumer complaints and lawsuits; they over promised and under delivered.
Today, there are still practitioners of this too-good-to-be-true, smoke and mirrors game but they no longer enjoy the lofty status of Mr. Haldane or even some of his modern-day competitors. By the way, o be clear, Mr. Haldane earned his fame by getting Boeing workers jobs following World War II, and advising thousands more on career management skills. An author of several books on career management, he was actually one of the first consultants in what we now call Transition Management, or Outplacement. Despite the bad press and recurring consumer complaints regarding the successor firm, he got it right.
The Bernard Haldane brand left the rails when his successors began promising — some guaranteed — anxious out-of-work executives, worried about the mortgage and other bills, that they would find them a job because they had secret lists of the best paying opportunities. While Mr. Haldane may have had such a golden list of top jobs there for the asking in his early days, the whole idea got out of hand.
Finding a job in this economy is tough work. For every executive who lands a new, well-paying gig in a month or two, more and more are taking six, eight, 16 months or longer, to land their next position. In looking for a job there is no silver bullet, unless of course you consider hard work,five-days a week and a boat load of rejection a silver bullet.
The reality is that after getting past the shock and grief of losing a job, the successful candidates are those who develop a plan and stick with a routine, the subject of a previous blog post.
Take note, based on my interviews with thousands of executives, many of whom have experienced the surprise of an unexpected career interruption and the gut-wrenching anxiety of not having a regular paycheck, say that it is a fool’s errand to look for easy, quick solutions. Get organized, get a routine — work at it every day, every week — and do not let the “No’s” get you down.
As a respected outplacement consultant Jim Wiederhold once said, “Finding a job is a full-time job.” Truer words were never uttered.
So back to Mr. Haldane. In the past I made the mistake of being overly critical of this innovator. Instead, I think his memory —his memory, not those of his remaining successors who operate under his name in franchise arrangements — should be respected. That is how I feel. Whether you agree or not, or even care, do not make the mistake of allowing yourself to believe in the silver bullet theory. It does not exist.
No one is going to find you a job. You must be the CEO of that effort and it requires a lot of hard work, courage and, most of all, resilience.