I recently lost $6,000 of revenue scheduled for November.
This week, a very good friend on the east coast lost his senior-level job, as did dozens of his colleagues.
Last night I learned another neighbor/friend, a controller at a medium-sized company, lost his job he landed about 18 months ago.
CNN reports this morning that “84,000 more jobs lost in August,” bringing unemployment to 6.1%, and total jobs lost in 2008 to 605,000. Let’s just assume each job loss has a family of a spouse and 2 kids behind it, which means that 336,000 people were affected in a very personal way this month, and 2.4 million people have been affected in a very personal way this year. Not to mention extended family, friends, creditors, etc.
For me, I know what I need to do – find ways to replace that $6,000. This is a normal thought for me, since I don’t count any money until it’s in my bank account. When I had a real job I never thought about this kind of thing, I would just sit fat and happy waiting for my paycheck to hit my account every other week. It was pretty comfortable.
In my comfort, I had done no preparation. When the paycheck stopped coming, and the bills continued, I realized I had done nothing to prepare for the dreadful and inevitable day.
If you own your own business, or do contracting or freelancing, you know what you need to do.
But if you are sitting fat and happy at work, like I was, getting those nice, secure paychecks, let me suggest you do something critical:
Make a list of companies you would like to work for. Right now.
Get out a sheet of paper (or an excel spreadsheet, so you can then import them into JibberJobber), pretend you just got let go (your boss died, your biggest account just imploded, your project finished, your job got offshored… there are hundreds of reasons why it will happen to you), and think about where you would have any interest in going now.
This is a brainstorming activity, so put EVERYTHING you can think of. Put names of your current customers, vendors and partners. Put names of companies outside your industry, companies in the same business park you work in, companies right down the road from where you live. You can cross companies off later, but you never know what network contacts come out of the company names you put on that list.
If you have a list of 50 companies you have any interest in, you’ll be way ahead of most people as they start their job search, filling their pipeline.
You have a pipeline. If it is empty, you’ll feel the pain when it comes time to use it. One friend has a full, active pipeline with relationships he’s been nurturing. He’s ready to rock and roll in his job search. The other friend? I don’t think he’s done anything for his career management, and his job search will likely be longer than he wants.
Fill your pipeline.