PRIOR PLANNING…. Well, you know the rest!

Today a long time friend was laid off “unexpectedly” – she was given no notice and turned in her company computer and phone on the spot.  Nothing against her employer (business IS business), but she was left ill-prepared, to say the least.

“I have a few cards,” she told me in a flat monotone.  “I am eerily calm.”  Of course, I offered my commiseration and any help in the way of a resume and contacts.  HOWEVER, I was absolutely FLOORED when I heard the next words out of her mouth, “I never saw this coming.”

In today’s economy, with all it’s recent upset?!  How is this possible.  I preach to everyone who will listen about preparation and presences, but think that most don’t really understand that their careers and/or jobs can be within their control….

Most of us do kind of fall into our career paths (there is actually a whole theory which explains how this happens, but that class is far behind me – not the lessons, though!).  We are brought to various cross-points and presented with various opportunities and each successive one builds on the former ones.

Sometimes we end up lucking into something that really revs our engines and we purposefully alter course toward this exciting end… Not often enough!

I work with people faced with an unexpected career change everyday and the primary reason I am working with them seems to be that they didn’t plan for their careers and/or jobs!

Often it is a 40 + year old worker who has spent (unbelieveably) 20 or more years in a physically demanding position and has actually heard and ignored advice to plan for the day when he (or she) might not be able to function at this level.

“My wife has been nagging me to get my GED,” I will often hear.  Or, “My kids tell me I will never be able to get another kind of job without computer skills.”  Mostly, it is the “I never saw it coming” that kills me.

Knowledge, skills, and abilities are like savings accounts.  We should all be scrimping and saving for the day WHEN (not IF) every tidbit about our industry, computers, technology, information in general that has been squirreled away can be pulled out and shined off for use on a rainy day!

I have been guilty of not doing so often enough in the past:  Just because I preach it doesn’t mean I do it all of the time.  BUT, events like my friend’s lay off do sure perk up your ears and make you think about it!  At least it does me….

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About Mary Sherwood Sevinsky

Masters-prepared Certified Disability Management Specialist. Over eighteen years experience in vocational assessment, counseling, and testimony, primarily in rehabilitation services.
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