Reading: 3 Ways to Prepare for a Job Loss

Second Acts

3 Ways to Prepare for a Job Loss

Stay on top of your game so you can move on and thrive

By Judy Herbst

Photo by Jonatán Becerra

Losing a job can feel as shocking as a death or divorce —you struggle with grief, mourning, and anxiety. Job loss can be an emotional rollercoaster of anger, sadness, distress and confusion. But don’t let yourself get blindsided when you can be prepared.  If you act with grace, poise and dignity, you will move on and thrive. I can tell you —I’ve been there.

I’ve worked for six companies. I’ve been promoted 12 times and moved up and out on my own three times to advance my career. But I was also downsized out twice, due to circumstances beyond my control. All of a sudden, I had to confront the task of finding my next new gig.

The first time it happened I was working at Tiffany & Co. I was there for 13 truly remarkable, memorable and impactful years. It was where I had my three children, where I went through 9/11, the 2003 NYC blackout, and new security changes in the city. I was part of an amazing team launching the Tiffany Fragrances. We had an outstanding run, winning multiple  acclaimed FiFi awards, plus ranking within the top 10 for sales at Bloomingdale’s, Neiman’s, Nordstrom, Saks, and Macy’s.

Life was good. I had my dream job, and this was the job I was going to retire from. Or so I thought.  I was in my early 40’s. Tiffany vertically integrated the division, the entire Tiffany Fragrance department was dissolved. The demise of the department was beyond my control. While I stayed on a few months to vertically integrate the short list of products they wanted to keep for trademark purposes( I assumed), I had to come up with a plan. I was angry, heartbroken, anxious, and so not prepared. I hadn’t written a resume in 13 years, hadn’t even thought about what the next job could be, let alone how to go about finding one.

Judy (third from left) and her TCO Fragrance former colleagues, still connected all these years!

My life and Tiffany were intertwined. I had always been thinking about ways to build the Tiffany brand, to partner and promote Tiffany. Luckily, a PR colleague told me the words that forever changed my mindset: “now it’s time to market you.” That was my game-changing moment, to never be caught off guard again. The second time it happened, 12 years later, I was far more prepared.

My top 3 tips for being prepared:
1. Extend your network.

Always be helpful to everyone, because you never know who will ultimately come through with networking introductions. It may surprise you, as the ones you think should be helpful do not know how. It’s totally frustrating, but you realize not everyone knows how to help someone looking. So while you are working, help out others. Mentor and join as many professional organizations as possible – university, sorority, various women’s groups. If you haven’t already, upgrade to The Nest, CoveyClub’s exclusive membership offer with monthly networking events for women. While adding to your network, keep in touch with your former colleagues. They are usually your best advocates and supporters.

2. Build your brand awareness.

Have you Googled your name? Know that everyone searches your name before they meet up for a face-to-face. This is your chance to own your space and create your personal brand. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or even your own website or landing page to be in control of your story. Craft your narrative, showcase a project, build a portfolio that you want people, companies, and new employers to see when they search for you. , Also, include your contact information and remember to be current  — that’s key.

3. Leverage your expertise.

Write and share your perspective on topics in your wheelhouse. Become a guest contributor with various blogs, online publications where you can publish articles. Find your voice @ Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., Thrive Global, Elephant Journal, Worthy Living, NextTribe, or Life Experiences to name a few places to pitch that are open to new writers.

Judy Herbst is an executive brand leader who knows how to speak to her audience. As a passionate, charismatic, strategic thinker and doer, Judy has worked with iconic brands growing businesses across retail, e-commerce, and direct channels. She is currently with Worthy, an online diamond jewelry selling C2B auction marketplace as Director PR & Partnerships.

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