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. 

This post is sponsored by Linsey Levine of CareerCounsel. Linsey Levine is a Career Counselor, Career Coach and Resume Writer with a passion for helping people create conscious career choices and connections that are aligned with their values, talents, interests, and unique strengths. She helps clients get unstuck; get clear, get focused, and get moving – toward successful career and life management goals. Linsey Levine is a JibberJobber Career Expert Partner.


4 thoughts on “Pipeline”

  1. Linsey.

    Great post – you make an excellent point about being ready well before you need to.

    Couple of further tips which build on your point:

    1. Add to the pipeline every week (Even if its one new company or contact)
    – It keeps up the momentum whilst also keeping your mind alert to opportunties. Chance meetings and convesraions suddenly become opportunities to add to the pipeline.

    2. Diarise an appointment with yourself
    – Put time aside each week to review the contacts, cultivate relationships with individuals in those firms, making calls, sending emails, doing the follow up

    Successful job search is about creating habits so that you take consistent actions (making calls, filling applications, reviewing ads, networking, follow up etc)

    But you’re right, setting up the pipeline spreadsheet (or jobberjobber account) before you need it, really is the foundation to building those habits.


  2. One tool, my better half gave me, was how to smooth the curve of choppy income. She came up with the idea that I should “smooth” income by accrual. Her idea was that revenue received was only “paid out” over a 24 month period. It really kept up the pressure on me to keep earning, developing new clients, and anticipating trends. It DID take the sting out of the loss of one contract because I was continually developing a “diverse string” of opportunities. It was VERY hard as a one man consulting show but it is “do-able”. Just a hint, something to think about, it worked for me. But as I always say YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) and IISSWAIR (If I’m So Smart, Why Ain’t I Rich). 🙂 reinkefj

  3. Jason,

    Two suggestions I would make to this post. I agree wholeheartedly that you need to always have your pipeline as full as you can, whether it be for work you are doing or possible job searches for the future.

    The first suggestion I would offer is to begin putting together a profile of what kind of positions you are interested in. What is it you would do, regardless of what it is, that you would do if you weren’t getting paid? what passion do you have, what interest area do you follow, that you could parlay into an income stream? It’s great to look at other companies that may be around you, but finding those places where you get “revved up” to go to daily, or to spend time on is the key. As Steve Martin once said, and I believe is the epitome of the best work, “The most amazing thing to me is…I get paid for doing this!”

    The second suggestion is to begin thinking about saving. I’m SERIOUS! Many people are so inclined to live paycheck to paycheck that putting money away for a rainy day is not considered. I am appalled at the number of Baby-boomers now nearing retirement that have no idea how much they need to retire on, much less live on. I have always heard the idea of at least six months of salary at present set aside specifically for a downturn. Saving money, really saving money, is tough to do (my wife and I are doing so, but with a goal in mind – not always the best way to save!) but is vitally important to not become another number in the statistics that we see today of mortgage crisis, etc.

    The pipeline needs to be full with networking contacts that you connect with regularly, but also with the purpose to pay it forward now so it may come back and help you later.

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