Surprise! You No Longer Work Here

            Over my career, I have held positions at 13 different companies from entry level to President and CEO. The companies include ones from the Fortune 100 and very small companies. For whatever reason, workplace change has been part of my career path since entering it in 1979. As I write this note in 2011, I am in search of my next opportunity.

Speaking from some significant experience walking this walk, it is devastating when you are asked to leave regardless as to how it is handled. Some popular expressions used with me included words like “reorganization”, “lay-off”, “downsizing”, “we need to take you off the payroll”, “we voted you out”, and the ever popular “you’re fired”. No matter what they say when you have the “talk”, it doesn’t feel good at the time. The timing is never right. It is like a fist to the gut. You feel helpless. You feel unnecessary.

            Moments like this felt to me like a loved one just died, even when I was expecting the news. At that instant, my career with that company died. Grieving the loss is part of the healing process. But moving quickly through the stages of Denial/Isolation, Anger, and Depression to Acceptance is crucial.  But when you are a follower of Christ, EVERY situation is an opportunity for God to reveal Himself to you in a deeper, more personal way.

So, how do I deal with it?  First of all, I turn to God who knows me best. God is never surprised and I take immediate comfort in this fact. Secondly, I know that everything I did in my career is training for the future and no one can ever take these skills away from me. Lastly, I get moving on several different fronts. Some examples are career planning, analysis of my career likes and dislikes, networking, self-reflection, personality tests, taking time with other male friends, exercise, and sleep. It is time to reflect on, and then market, my most valuable product, Me.

God loves you and has a plan for your life. This plan includes your working career. Whatever your situation, sudden job loss changes your immediate priorities. Use this opportunity to stop, look and listen for what God wants your next big adventure to be.


Coach Kirk Novak


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