Be continuously employed

Make sure you stay employed continuously. Being out of work depletes your savings besides damaging your confidence and increasing stress.

Always feel for your job situation, i.e. whether your boss and employer will still want you during the next few months. The formal employee performance review is a good starting place if you are established, but it is sometimes not reliable when your boss (or his boss) changes, or when you have just been hired. Always have contingency plans –continually check the job market (it might help you find a better job).

A friend of mine who was in a government department was talking to a small consulting firm over several years; when it was time for him to move on, he was well prepared.

Realize that the most important difference between successful and unsuccessful job hunters is their mindset and flexibility. If you happen to lose your job, consider the following.

  • Be prepared for a long job-hunt. It is quite common to get a job only after many months, and 100 or 200 attempts. Reorganize your finances quickly.
  • Know how to get a new job quickly. Use a range of approaches.
  • Make the job search a full time job. Spend as many hours as you would in a regular job. Keep to an active routine, dress as though you are going to the office, think that you are working for yourself.
  • Define your potential in terms of your skills rather than your previous jobs. Think of new situations to apply them – it may be a near industry or a very different industry. Most of my colleagues in the beer industry came from soft drinks. A training manager in a consultancy firm had been a teacher previously.
  • Target multiple companies (big and small), consider alternative locations, and be open to the benefits of temporary and part-time positions.
  • Be prepared to accept a lower paid job – it is better than waiting for a higher paid one later, which may not come.
  • Consider some type of self-employment. A trained mechanic and hobbyist fisherman used his skills to take tourists fishing.
  • If you lose your job, try to get enough payout from your last employer to cover at least the likely period of job search.

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