Ever since my last blog posting in late September I have been working diligently at my new association, learning the nuances and peccadillos of the industry and constantly interacting with the leadership and members of this very diverse group. Though this is certainly not my first rodeo, every organization has its own culture, history and personality. As the new guy, you never want to forget where the organization has been, though with your new perspective it is imperative that you aren’t stymied from moving the group into the future, where it ultimately belongs.
As 2011 comes to a roaring close, I thought it pertinent to look back at what has brought me to where I am now and what I have learned from the experience. With some luck my learnings may help others who are still looking for the appropriate career move.
Probably the greatest learning was the fact that though you have lived an exemplary life and have achieved numerous accolades during your many years in a career that everyone has congratulated you on time and time again, once you have left the playing field you are immediately forgotten except by those who will always consider you more than a business friend.
Though many provide lip-service about keeping in contact and spreading the word about your availability,that unfortunately rarely happens. I am not bitter but just relating this as a fact. Life goes on, your business associates have a job to do and once you are out of sight you unfortunately are out of mind. Your situation is not top-of-mind for them as it is for you. If I have heard it once I have heard it a thousand times from those who have retired; your business friends move on and that is when you really find out who your true friends are!
If you are up a creek without a paddle you have a choice to make - wait for help and possibly die from exposure or start now to find any way possible to make your way ashore. The same can be said about those in a transition, you need to find a way to move forward and not sit and wait for help that may never arrive. I discovered that you need to find a unique way to market yourself so that the positive exposure you receive can open doors for future possibilities. Social Media was my answer but that might not be the answer for all.
The more than 100,000 words I wrote about transition was more than a marketing ploy (though it certainly filled a niche that in today’s economy needs to be addressed) , it was a learning experience, a means of sharing and most importantly a cathartic opportunity to address an issue that many of our friends find themselves in today. Though I have received some resistance from some in attempting to publish these blogs in the classic book format, that goal is still within my grasp and will be achieved.
I am quite appreciative for the exposure that CEO Update provided my blog writing with 2 articles about a new and unique means in finding my next employment opportunity. Marketing yourself is the ultimate goal and any help you can get is most appreciated.
Networking is an overused word in associations but for those in transition, better overused than under-utilized. If you are waiting in your home office for someone to contact you regarding your next opportunity, you best find a new approach. You need to be aggressive and contact anyone and everyone. Don’t take no as an answer and failure is not an option. This philosophy is more than just a snappy catch-phrase it has to be a way of life during and after any transition.
Finding a job is a full time job and with real honest to goodness work, success is ultimately possible though it can seem like an impossibility while in the midst of the effort. I am proud of my son who couldn’t help but learn from my life experience and this fall worked harder than anyone I have ever seen at finding just the right opportunity. Ultimately he had the enviable position of choosing amongst 3 offers. Transition is a state of mind where anything is possible. Despair and desperation are always looming but with a focus on the prize, one can indeed be in a better place.
The so-called experts believe that the economy is getting better but every time we hear such it seems to revert to the fall of 2008 or worse. The new economy demands flexibility and keeping up to date with all aspects of your chosen field. The final learning I need to emphasize is, don’t get stale during your career down time. Use this opportunity to learn a new marketable talent, a new language or a new path to success. At any age, no employer wants to hire someone who hasn’t kept abreast of societal changes. The worst showing you can have is to appear older than you actually are.
I have had the opportunity the last few months to discuss with individuals in similar employment situations and it has always been heart-warming to share stories and solutions. We all have a wealth of experiences that indeed can assist others, share them. During this holiday period we are all thankful for what we have – family, health, friends. It is a benchmark for personal achievement and I am not alluding to any form of financial wealth. We are nothing if not for those who believe in us and for those in transition, belief goes a long way.
Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) who has been a CEO for 4 distinct trade associations in his career. He is one of only 230 Association Executives worldwide who has been granted the prestigious designation of Fellow by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) since 1986. He currently is the Executive Director of a Chicago-based trade association and has taken the opportunity to author more than 100,000 words or 125 blog postings on the topics of job search, career transition and association management.
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