The job search: A roller coaster of a ride

September 18, 2019

How networking can improve your job prospects-and why getting those networks in place now is critical.

You just learned that your job was eliminated. What does that even mean? 

In my eyes-and in many others-it means the practice must cut costs somehow. Staff is usually the biggest expense. But in your eyes, it means you got fired. No matter how you look at it, you are now separated from your job, from your work family, and most important from your paycheck and benefits. It doesn’t matter whether you did anything wrong or if the practice is doing poorly and they had to let you go. Let’s face it: the floor is dropping, and you can’t quite get your bearings. 

Marnie, a dental hygienist friend, saw me yesterday and told me a particularly horrible story. She has been working for a dental practice for two years. The dentist brought her on to do marketing to help grow the practice. The results were a 10-percent increase in new patients over that time. She was sitting in a staff meeting last week, when the boss announced that Marnie’s position was being eliminated. 

Marnie was shell-shocked. So was the rest of the staff. Who announces a layoff in a group setting? There are only 12 people who work in that office. Marnie is a single mother who is also a recent cancer survivor. She stayed after the meeting and asked when her last day will be. The boss said, “September 24.” She asked if it could be postponed until October 1 so that the health insurance could cover her the month of October. She has her two-year check up with her oncologist coming up and this would be a big help. Also, it could buy her some time to find another job. The boss, whom she thought of as family, said “Nope, your last day is September 24.” Marnie felt her world crumbling around her. It felt that way because quite literally it was. 

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I share this story with you, because these things happen. It happens in every industry and across the board in every discipline. This is America in 2019. You are hired and are kept based on what the business owner wants. Many times, it boils down to whether they need to cut expenses for the business to survive. But, sometimes, it is personal. You are out of work with bills to pay and a crushing fear overwhelming you.

You will survive this. I know that seems contrite, but it is the truth. Trauma-and a job loss is trauma-impacts people in so many ways. We are plagued with questions: Am I too old to find a job? Are my skills too rusty? Will anyone see the value that I bring to the table? Does anyone even understand what I am going through? 

So, what are you supposed to do? You put one foot in front of the other and you survive. You talk to people. Tell all your friends and acquaintances exactly what kind of work you are looking for. Tell them what your target companies, locations, practices and industries are. That is the easiest way that they can help you. If you aren’t on LinkedIn, get on it. Build a network now whether you are working or looking for work. People work on their network when they are in the search, but once they land, they stop. They get caught up in their job and life responsibilities, and don’t realize until it is too late that they should have continued their networking while employed. 

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I reached out to a high school friend, because I had someone who was looking for a connection at her company. The high school friend when contacted said, “I don’t network.” I was speechless. I get it; not everyone is a networker. But, answering some questions about the place that you work at seems incredibly harmless to me. How does one say no to that? 

The gist is this: Networking is not about what you can do for me, but what I can do for you. It is about relationship building. That is something everyone in every industry needs to do. My question to you is this: what are you doing to network? Marnie wasn’t a networker. But, after this experience, she changed. She saw that she needed relationships with people to help her figure out her next steps. There are people everywhere who are open to providing you with some career advice. Reach out and ask for 15 minutes of their time. Be prepared with questions ahead of time. Know what your goal is for that conversation. 

The search is a true roller coaster ride. The days of working for a practice your entire career are over. Yes, there are some of you who have worked all your career for one dentist, but things have changed. Employers aren’t committed to you like they were in the past. People move around within their industry as well as outside. Don’t get caught without a network. Build it and help others. That way, when you are in need, you will have one. The result being, a very short roller coaster ride.

Email me at diana2@discussdirectives.com to share your experiences searching for a job and what has worked best for you.