LEAVING a job is something that will happen at least once in a person’s career, especially at this time of change as organisations restructure and adjust to changing market conditions.

Sometimes the option to leave is your choice and at other times this is not the case.

Even though you may not have control over what happens to you in terms of work tenure, you can plan for an event like retrenchment and how to respond to it. Here are some tips:



 Be proactive

I have talked many times to people who have lost their job, and they invariably tell me that they knew this was going to happen — it was something they sensed.

If you get the feeling that you are been pushed aside, explore further. It is better to face reality instead of pretending that the problem does not exist.

I always believe that “you can either catch life by the collar or wait for life to catch you by the collar” — and when life does it, you may not be ready.

Planning for a rainy day and setting money aside is good. Ideally, plan to save at least six months of your salary, as it may take time to find another job.

Having some money set aside also gives you the confidence you need — it takes you from being “needy” to “It’s ok, I can do this”.

Do some financial planning, track your living costs and put them into three groups:  “must have”, “nice to have” and “not necessary”.

Even if you don’t have six months’ savings put aside, you can start now and review your finances.

Enrol your family in this process. Having a plan and direction will make a difficult process more palatable.



 Get testimonials along the way

One thing people don’t do enough of is to get testimonials when they are employed; they usually wait till they are leaving their job to get one.

Business networking site LinkedIn makes it easy to do this.

It is important to make sure you get them from people you consider important in your career. Testimonials help to build your profile for prospective employers and enable headhunters to get a broader perspective of you.



 Clarify your goal and game plan

Spend some time thinking about what you want, what is special about you, what you have to offer your next employer and which companies are likely to need someone like you.

A friend recently landed a very senior role and he did this by reaching out to recruiters in the United States and Europe. He did not wait for something to appear and find him; he was willing to travel to meet recruiters and prospective employers.



 Get support

Support comes from unexpected places, especially if you are open about what you need.

Write to a list of people you know and even people you don’t know that well, and reach out to them — not with the specific aim of finding another job but to just catch up.

If the conversation drifts to career and work, then share where you are. If people like you and relate to you, they are more willing to help you.

Appreciate the extra time you now have for coffee or lunch with friends and online contacts. (That said, you should never again be too busy to meet friends!)

Carefully choose who you catch up with, especially if you are still employed but are looking for other options; you don’t want word getting back to your boss!



 Focus on what matters to you

Volunteer to help out in an association or charity or be an adviser to other businesses. This not only looks good on your resumé, it also gives you something to talk about at interviews.

Start a blog or write some articles. And if writing is not your thing, “borrow” someone else’s, repost a good article and acknowledge its source.

Find your platform, identify what you stand for and find opinion pieces in these matters and offer your views. Be seen and be heard.



 Study, teach or both

Is there something you have wanted to learn for a long time? Do you need some new skills? Or do you want to start a new career altogether?

Many people find more success in their second career. A friend who always wanted to lecture in a university decided to sell his business and go into full-time teaching.

The last time we spoke, he said he was so happy because he was learning as much as he was teaching from the young people that he had the privilege of working with.



 Stay inspired through action

Find things to keep your spirits up. Daily consistent action creates habits, and staying inspired is a daily action that requires discipline.

Successful people have habits like waking up early, exercising, reading inspiring books, planning their day and making time for family.


Brand new journey

Sometimes, the second act is better than the first one. Coping with change is about not giving up on yourself or giving in to excuses about age, education, lack of skills or knowledge.

Every day, there are people out there who are taking the opportunity to start again on a brand new, spectacular journey!


Article by Laletha Nithiyanandan, founder of the Behavioural Consulting Group and Talent Design Potential. She is passionate about ethical business and transforming the workplace. For more information, visit www.behaviouralconsulting.com