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How Prepared Are You?

I woke up on a recent Tuesday morning to a cold bedroom, no smell of coffee brewing, and the realization that we had no electricity in our home. I'm guessing you have experienced this too. My natural reaction was to hit the doze on the alarm, pull the warm covers up over my head, and hope that power would be restored in a few minutes. That didn't happen.

As inconvenient and admittedly surprising as the loss of power can be on a workday morning, we were informed and prepared. I had received text messages from the power company that it would be hours before power was to be restored in our area due to high winds, downed trees, and branches. I found a flashlight, checked my calendar, reached out to the people who would be affected by my delay and lack of internet, and began to do the things necessary to keep going.

Having a plan for the unexpected is important in nearly every aspect of our lives.

From an employment perspective, no one can truly know what the future holds. I believe we can only truly control our actions and attitude. Supply chains can be interrupted, business ownership can change, leadership may change direction suddenly, layoffs occur, new technology can and will change our lives in yet-to-be-known ways.

You can control your preparedness and your attitude when your job and career trajectory changes suddenly and unexpectedly.


Here are 4 things you can control:

1. Your Network

Developing and maintaining your professional network can be a wonderful support system for changes and goals towards growth in your career. Those relationships matter. The cliche "it’s who you know", will remain true in the future.


2. I Love Me File

Some years ago, a colleague taught me about the "I Love Me File". He learned this strategy from his military career. Keeping track of training accomplishments, company awards, certifications, continuing education, and any accolades that you receive at work, should be placed into your "I love me file" or online folder for future reference. Don’t rely on your memory. During stressful transitions, having that dated and detailed information at your fingertips, will give you a sense of control and preparedness.


3. Professional References

Jobs will come and go, and when you separate from an employer, getting references, whether in writing or through a professional online networking group, will serve you well in the future.

A letter on company stationary, stating what a good job you have done and noting anything specific about your contribution, can be memorialized in a simple letter. You can even offer to write it and send it to them for their signature, for them to scan and send back. Details about your dedication, commitment, dependability, creative contributions, leadership, and customer care are topics all future employers will be interested to read.

I suggest getting professional references before your last day on the job. References from former employers may be prohibited by company policy, so obtaining these before you leave is a smart move. References from vendors or customers that do not cross the line of confidentiality, or go against employment contracts you've signed, are also valuable.


4. Résumé

Unless you're a professional resume writer, no one likes writing a résumé. It can be daunting when you need to write one for new job prospects, and are in a high state of emotions or concern. Having an outline of your résumé, updated every six to twelve months, is a good practice. Set a reminder on your smart device so you don't forget.

Your outline may include a change in your employer's name, or changes to your position. Have you been promoted, or taken on additional tasks or responsibilities. How many direct or indirect reports do you manage or lead? Are you involved in training new hires, or in the interview process? Are you a trusted colleague who is considered a subject matter expert in your field? Have you represented your employer at tradeshows, or rode along with sales associates? Are you the closer, or someone who supports new customer implementation? Have you covered the absences of other employees with a different skill set?

The lesson here is that being prepared means taking steps to ensure that you are ready for whatever may come your way. First and foremost, it increases your chances of future success. When you are prepared, you can act quickly and decisively when obstacles or opportunities arise.

If you are interviewing to hire, or to be hired, you MUST read our FREE DOWNLOADABLE E-BOOK, Interviewing From Both Sides Of The Desk.

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