Life is a series of opportunities to grab the brass ring (does anybody still know what that means??) and as I grew up hearing, when opportunity knocks, you answer. Another of those moments has presented itself to me.
At the beginning of the year the company I was with made some structural adjustments that resulted in my being on the job market for the first time in almost 20 years. That is an awakening moment and one that will test your core. You wonder about the job market and your viability. You wonder about your solvency and whether you can last to the next job. Whether you are to be one of those poor souls who are out of their home. And absolutely everyone has the choice to dive into despair and dread or accept the challenge as an opportunity – or to waver between the two.
First and foremost, I have no ill will toward the company or the leaders that made the business decision to eliminate my position. In fact, I have spent the past two years creating a structure that begged for my position to be eliminated. I worked to place de facto leaders in titled leadership roles and to foster the existing customer focus that runs so deeply within that team. I modified the skill set of the team through a change in the interviewing and hiring processes. I installed a support operations manager and spent time with him painting the picture of success and the importance of recording and reporting to that success. I implemented a performance management system very specific to our true KPI, and identified the coaches to assist the rest of the team get on board. Both within the business and with our customers I altered expectations of what ‘Support’ does to align better with business and market realities. In short, I shaped a culture of 21st century support and nudged a support team toward a path to being world-class and being able to show it. I take no small amount of pride in the long way we came in a short time. I am confident that this team is in good hands to continue that journey and that feels good.
Another opportunity to feel good came when I started looking for other employment opportunities in my Nashville home town. We are really in a boom! There are several very large organizations setting up shop or growing in Middle Tennessee, in many different disciplines. From banking to healthcare to automotive, Tennessee is attractive to businesses. And speaking as someone who has been a hiring manager in Middle Tennessee for many years I can attest to the fact that there are more jobs than qualified candidates in this area. However, with the influx of people that may be about to tip the other way so look now!
All those positives combined, the high point of this whole experience has been the response of my network. Within minutes of the news hitting the wire I heard from people in several states, with several organizations, wishing me the best and asking how they could help. I have had friends point me to jobs I did not know existed, reinforce my application with their HR, even escalate me to hiring managers before going to HR. Never underestimate the power of the network, and always act like people matter – because they do and I would be remiss if I did not use some of this space to thank them all!
This story has not yet ended. I am still on the hunt, still positive and actually grateful for this opportunity. I have been given the chance to really look at where I am and how I got here – in excruciating detail – as well as truly consider what I want my next step to be.
Whatever that step is, I intend to make ‘journaling’ a part of the rest of the journey. It is cathartic, expressive, an artistic outlet (?), and just plain good for the soul. You should try it!