I love geographic information systems! The creativity of map making, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross-industry value are amazing!
But… being fired sucks.
Being fired from a job you love sucks even more.
Being fired from a job you love AND you are good at really sucks.
I was fired from a job I loved and was GREAT at… and it sucked
I was mad, sad, frustrated, angry, furious, and scared. All those emotions over a very short period of time.
I blamed my former boss, I blamed the economy, I blamed my career choices, and I blamed myself.
And then I found out they kept a lower-paid co-worker who was nowhere near as good as I was.
And I was really mad… for a short time.
Most people go through the stages of grief when something like this happens.
This is normal, this is ok… BUT DON’T STAY MAD FOR LONG
I wasn’t completely delusional, I didn’t think my job was completely secure. But I also thought what I was doing was enough to keep me there.
I know now that this was a great learning experience… and as I like to say:
Before I go any further, the person they kept was perfectly capable of doing what the company needed. I don’t hold a grudge and wish them well.
Luckily for me, I was doing these steps I am going to share with you below.
These steps will help you stay hire-able if you are let go, and will even ensure you are kept employed at your current position.
The reason… you are investing in yourself.
1. Get Cross-Industry Skills NOW.
The old saying goes, never put all your eggs in one basket. The new saying is… GET CROSS-INDUSTRY SKILLS NOW.
It is very important to have high-value industry specific unique skills. These skills can make your career… but… they are most likely useless in other industries.
I come from a geoscience background. These skills can be very niche… and this means useless outside of geoscience.
You need to think about cross-industries skills, you need to think about how things interconnect.
Here is a short list of cross-industry skills you can start learning right now:
Marketing / Management / Agile / Coding / Video production/ copywriting / Graphic Design / GIS / Coaching / Excel / Access
Cross-industry skills will help you the most when the going gets tough.
2. Always put in more value than you get paid for.
Note I said value… not time. Value may be time, but value will help you 10x more.
Putting in more value means you have to do extra work. This is OK, because you will be learning from the extra work / extra value you are putting in.
What does value look like?
Adding more statistical analysis to a project, presenting using animations rather than just images, and making decisions ahead of time rather than asking permission.
You put in more VALUE, and you get more EXPERIENCE.
(Note: Beware of pointless work… limit the useless, maximize the useful)
This experience is yours… not the companies which lead to the next one.
3. You OWN your experience.
Your experience is your own. You get let go… You can go to a competitor. You can make your own business.
Unlike your work computer, all the code you wrote, all the documents you created (those are property of the company you worked for) YOUR EXPERIENCE IS YOURS!
Once you are no longer employed, any IDEAS you had are yours and you are free to pursue.
You cannot take any documents, code, proprietary material, trade secrets
You can use your experience, no one can stop you from using: your knowledge of software, databases, writing, leadership… THIS IS YOURS.
Note… I am not a lawyer, so don’t take this as legal advice. There is a lot of nuance about what can and can’t be done after you are let go… but you are allowed to use your experience.
4. Making money for someone else works… but won’t solve the problem… hire yourself.
If you think like an employee, that is all you will ever be.
If you want to be unfireable, hire yourself.
This is not for the timid or faint of heart. It takes time and patience.
Make social media your jump-off point!
If you have built the skills, you can market yourself on social media.
It takes time and effort, but you can do this while you are working for someone else.
5. Always move forward
Spend as little time worrying about being fired, and more time planning your next move.
Yes it sucks getting fired. But what sucks more is not having a plan for getting hired.
If you wait, you will wake up one day and 6 months will have gone by with you have done nothing.
While you wait, other people are planning and moving on.
While you wait, students are passing courses and getting ahead.
Don’t wait… START NOW.
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