Unemployed In The Upper Echelon

You were at the top of your field. You were the person that everyone else looked up to and could be found at the top of the organizational chart. You were the top dog, the big enchilada; numero Uno. The keyword is, ‘were’.

As financially rewarding as it was, and good for your ego, its many years into the future before you are ready to hang them up entirely. So the big question now is, “What’s next?”

It’s hardly likely that you’re one of those people who says they are prepared to do anything; in fact, I think it far more likely that you’re only interested in an extremely small number of options. You may be considering a consultative role, parachuting in to lend your extensive expertise in matters you are well-versed in. You might be on the prowl for a position of similar stature and prestige. You might even be contemplating taking a year off to travel, reduce your overall stress level, spend time pursuing your personal interests and hobbies you never found the time for while working.

Sooner or later however, that pull will start to do something. And while the pull to do something is the same for anyone looking for work, your network and connections are in different circles than many other people, and you may be openly wary or doubtful that anyone in an Employment Counselling function has the necessary skills and expertise themselves to help you land that next career.

Like anyone looking for a service, I think it only prudent for you to prepare a number of questions and interview people before you invest your time and potentially your money with them. Questions you might want to pose have to do with their bottom-line success rate helping people who come from similar backgrounds as yourself. The kind of work they ended up obtaining, the time it took for them to achieve their goals and how best to launch yourself into this career search to reduce the time out of work are also good things to ask.

However, expecting your journey to be identical to others who have gone before you is not a fair expectation to put on yourself or transfer to someone helping you. Your past experiences are unique to you and as much as you want the person helping you to give it their all and help you out, you’re likely only one person they are dealing with.

Here’s another tip that may require a spoonful of sugar to help with the mental digestion: the sooner you realize you need to give your advisor the absolute truth the better they will be able to help you. So many people who have held positions at the top of organizations have been trained over a number of years to only reveal information on a need-to-know basis. And most personal information doesn’t need to be known.

However, being candid in a confidential environment with someone whom you are paying to advise and coach you is a huge step forward in reducing the time you will take looking for that next position. Most will only reveal a little here and there, and as the time draws out that they are looking, more and more gets divulged. After all, if you’re going to get a job in a matter of weeks or months, why be entirely forthcoming with information that you deem isn’t entirely necessary if it compromises you in your opinion or demonstrates a weakness?

What I’m referring to here are your own insecurities. Where are your weaknesses? What haven’t you kept up at that it is assumed otherwise you have? Are you genuinely insecure or frightened inside when your outside tells others you are calm and in control? That self insecurity if not bolstered can reveal itself otherwise in the most unlikely – and awkward of situations.

You were a long way up in the organization, and now you feel it’s a long way back up to where your mental expectations should meet with the physical reality. Truth is, with mergers, relocations, takeovers and new models of business delivery, some positions are just redundant. And if you were the poster child for an organization who is no longer viable and in business, by association, perhaps you too are no longer relevant and viable.

There are organizations and individuals out there whose clientele are ex-executives, CEO’s and business leaders. Their expertise, much like your own, is specific to a niche market; namely you! Oh you can waste an extensive amount of time if you want questioning and doubting their abilities to help you, but in the end you do or you don’t. Find the person, (and don’t waste time doing it) you want to work with and can trust to put as much enthusiasm into you as you do yourself.

One of the best things you can do is determine for yourself and then give anyone working with you a clear idea of what it is that you are now after. Finding out all your options might take a short time, but exploring those options more time. Exploring your choices so you move ahead with conviction and confidence is imperative. You know you could be in for a change in lifestyle. Are you and those around you ready for that possibility?