Getting fired or laid off is a part of the life. In our new economy, with changing market conditions and revisions to long-standing business models, it is an uncomfortable reality.
In some professions, like coaching a college or professional team, it is all about winning. That is the gold standard for job security, typically speaking. In business today, winning — performing well, reaching your performance targets — is no guarantee of job security. In fact, in some industries like retail, healthcare and publishing, there are some excellent executives wondering the halls of unemployment looking for that next door to open. They found themselves without a job through no fault of their own.
To ignore this reality, to believe that it could never happen to you, is probably not the wisest of career management strategies in this climate. At a recent national meeting of healthcare executives I heard a senior leader offer this advice: “Do your best, achieve your performance goals but be prepared for that which you cannot control — a job loss through a merger or restructuring.
Building and nurturing a professional network of colleagues and industry executives throughout your vertical is now ground zero for career preparedness. If you are not devoting time to this vital career management tool, then you are setting yourself up for a nasty surprise if you are forced into the job market. Here is why:
- Most jobs are not posted online
- Search firms handle only a fraction of the total number of executive openings each year
- An increasing number of jobs are filled based on a referral
But wait, there is more. It is not enough to have the professional network, you need to know how to use it to your advantage. It is not enough to build the network. It is not enough to nurture and prune it — keeping your list current with relevant members. If you do not know how to use it, then you will not maximize its potential benefits when you are looking for work.
This sounds bleak, I know, but it does not have to be if you take the proper steps now. Career management is not just a blog category or book topic, it is as important today as producing the performance results that your job requires.
Building and engaging your professional network is a good step to successfully mitigate any career interruptions that today seem inevitable.