You’re hired! … And it took me a year.

I could have high-fived everyone in sight as I walked away from a career that lasted 16 years in a stable, global financial institution.  After being promoted five times, to five different areas in the company, my senior management position was abolished as my key responsibilities were centralized to the company’s global head office.  Getting the separation package affirmed my own conviction in the previous two years it was time to forge a new career path.

The nearly twelve months it took me to accept a job offer for permanent, full-time work, proved to be an enriching journey, filled with new experiences.  Most importantly, the experiences changed some of my commonly-held beliefs that have been ingrained in the minds of many mid-career and senior executives.

  • Pay attention.  Be prepared to change direction. 

When you’ve done all you can do and what is right, and stuff happens, it’s usually a good sign!  You’re being led in a better (read: different) direction, and it’s all good.

During my job search, I did all the right things.  I built a data base of all my skills and experiences, from which I customized my CV for specific job opportunities.  I optimized my social media presence by expanding my LinkedIn connections, networking on-line and off-line, writing blogs, tweeting.  I actively engaged in volunteer work, explored opportunities in my home town and out of town, etc, etc, etc….  but after seven months, the doors closed on several very good leads, in each case for reasons beyond my control.   The appointment of a new vice-president who needed to rethink the structure of the department, unforeseen budget cuts, corporate policies that gave preference to the internal candidate – these were some of the show stoppers.

When I realized that I had exhausted opportunities in the companies I targeted, I made the decision to change my direction and explore new possibilities.  Free-lance consulting and a change of industry were two, new options I decided to explore.  When I began to invest most of my efforts in these options, I was amazed at how quickly consulting opportunities began to materialize and as did invitations to job interviews in companies I had not previously considered.

  •  “Titles are inevitable, and they’re even respected, but they’re merely a credential”

In the words of Mike Lipkin, “Hierarchy is so boomer. The new reality is about heterarchy – where leaders and followers are interchangeable depending on circumstances.”

Job seekers who like myself have climbed the corporate ladder over many years in one company, tend to be overly concerned with titles, organizational structures and status.   While I agree that we should look for challenging work that fits our experience and expertise, the truth is, the corporate ladder is an obsolete metaphor.  In most progressive organizations, dotted lines and flat organizational structures give way to the optimal use of talent in collaborative team environments.  This is where there are many open doors providing new and enriching opportunities for people wanting to do meaningful work.

  • Go where you’re celebrated, not tolerated.

Like most job seekers, I faced a several disappointing rejections.  What I have come to realize, is that when faced with unemployment over an extended period of time, there was the temptation to talk myself into situations that were not the right fit, even though I had the qualifications and experience for the job.  I had to remind myself a few times, that in order to flourish, I need to be in an environment conducive to my personal growth and enrichment.  Finding the right fit required the clear definition and uncompromising commitment to my values and life objectives.

  • Networking is not just for job-seekers.

The best career outlook in any organization can be randomly and suddenly taken away through restructurings, mergers, acquisitions and divestures that are regular features of the corporate landscape.  No one in the workforce can take job security for granted.

My biggest take-away from my job search is that it’s up to each person to continuously develop skills in marketing themselves and building networks – gainfully employed or not.  The world of work has changed and will continue to change.  Self-motivation and the ability to recognize opportunity in changing circumstances are essential.  Building a strong network of professional, community and social contacts is the key to getting a job, managing your career and making a career transition when the job is no longer there.

See the big picture.  Focus on what’s important.

Published by Camille Isaacs-Morell

Enabling businesses and people to be successful. This is my mission, my life’s work. It’s always been what I have done wherever I’ve been employed, called to serve or to volunteer. An experienced business leader, my core values are truth, integrity, and respect. I believe that values-based leadership is critical for organizational success that is enabled by an engaged and empowered workforce. Working over the years in several senior marketing, communications, and executive leadership mandates for global, financial, healthcare, and non-profit organizations, it has been through times of transformation and difficult change that I have done my best work. In my blog posts, I share my perspectives on leadership, marketing and strategy that are based on my key learnings and observations over the years, all with the objective of helping others reach for success. In my spare time, I enjoy the beauty of nature which I reproduce in my pastel paintings.

14 thoughts on “You’re hired! … And it took me a year.

  1. Amazing blog, this happened to me too, when after being burned out completely at work I decided to quit , without a job, it was the toughest part of my life whilst I searched for a job despite my credentials. Times are tougher these days and moving out of your comfort zone, is one such excellent way to explore your potentials . I moved industries and took up a executive course to refresh my skill sets.

  2. Great blog Camille, one that will give others guidance and encouragement for their own journey through transition. Hope your new job is everything you hoped for.

    Betty Healey

    1. Thanks Betty. All is going well so far. I am enjoying this new chapter in my professional journey. A BIG thanks to you for your encouragement and support during my transition. Namaste!

  3. Hi Camille. This is a solid reminder to all that the road less traveled might be the one best for our future. Congratulations on your journey and your continued success.
    Eve Brouwers

  4. All too often we settle for less than we deserve. Your experience, Camille, articulated wonderfully well above, is a testament to patience, and allowing the process to unfold. We all need time to shift from a less than desirable situation to a place where magic can happen.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. It provides hope and optimism to everyone considering a fork in the road.

  5. Excellent blog Camille. You have captured many key points I believe are common on many’s journey. So happy you have landed on your feet and enjoying this new chapter.

  6. Camille, this is further confirmation of the good fortune (and wisdom) of your new employer to bring you aboard. A great article! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Well said, Camille. Networking is a very valuable tool in the arsenal of anyone looking for work.

  8. This is a great article really helpful. I like the saying , ‘Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated ‘ . I was privileged to meet the author a few days ago.

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