Are you READY?

A few years ago, there was a fire on the hillside near our home. This post, which I wrote from a hotel instead of my house, has more information…


It’s interesting to read that post from a few years ago. We evacuated, and then I left to speak in SLC and then jumped on a plane for more speaking, leaving my wife to take care of getting the family moved back in. It was really no big deal, and she was capable… but it was weird to have family and work responsibilities, and not be around to be the dad/husband.

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about… I want to share something that I didn’t write about in that post.

When it was time to go, we drove away with hastily packed bags (including my speaking clothes and stuff for my meetings that week). It would have made the most sense if we drove our van and our car, so that my wife would have a vehicle and I could drive myself to my presentation the next day, and then the airport.

But, we couldn’t drive the car.

Simply because it was about out of gas.

We were not ready.

Shortly after this incident, I heard someone say that they always have at least a half tank of gas, at all times.  If we had a half tank of gas in our car before this evacuation, we would have easily left in two cars.  But we weren’t ready.

When I got laid off, I wasn’t ready. I knew it was coming, just as much as I could see the fire coming over the hill towards my neighborhood. But, I still didn’t do stuff to get prepared.

What should I have done?

I wish I would have:

Started understanding personal branding. They say “it’s not who you know, but who knows you, and what they know about you.” This means we need to (a) understand who knows us, and (b) figure out what they know about us, or better, how they would describe us.  Then, we would figure out who should know us, and how they should perceive us, and do things to help the right people know the right things (about me).

Figured out networking. Networking was a dirty word when I first started my job search. A necessary evil. But man, I WISH I would have understood what networking really was, and started to grow my network.  Wider (meet more people) and deeper (nurture relationships).  Networking is not a bandaid solution for job seekers… it is a lifestyle for career managers (that is YOU and ME).

Set up a workable schedule. They say that “finding a job is your full time job.”  I took this to heart… I spent about ten hours a day from Monday through Saturday working on my job search.  Unfortunately for me, I was not good at a job search. Luckily, though, I was bad enough that I didn’t find a job and had to start JibberJobber instead :p The key to this third point is to set up a schedule, and ensure that your schedule is realistic and something you can and will do.

These are my “fill the gas tank” things I should have done, before the fire came.  NOTE: if you didn’t do any of these things, it’s not too late to work on them now (and forever)!!

But I didn’t do any of them. Partially because of ignorance, partially because I didn’t want to “cheat on” my company.  How could I network or work on my brand when I was the general manager of a company?  Ah, if I was only wise enough back then to take care of myself!

Will you fill your gas tank?