Leadership via Job Loss

by  Heather Coleman-Voss  |  Self Leadership

Let’s get one thing straight: Unemployed is not who you are, it is a situation you are working through.

Your leadership capabilities have not been lost along with your job; in fact, job loss is the optimal time to expand your leadership presence.

Because here’s the thing, guys and gals: Your career is ongoing whether or not you are currently employed. In 2010, we all have the opportunity to position ourselves as leaders in our field regardless of whether or not we are employed by someone else.

Your career is ongoing whether or not you are currently employed.

Think of it this way: You have not lost your talents, abilities and skill sets! Do you not have a strong network of friends and former colleagues? Do you realize that you have the ability to stay immersed in your field of interest while establishing yourself as a leader in the process?

Social media and personal branding makes all of this possible. Joining groups on LinkedIn, collaborating and sharing value on Twitter, posting relevant content on Facebook and interacting with other leaders in your field will dramatically boost your job search in ways that simply sending resumes does not. An additional benefit? Your leadership in and of itself will pave the way to your new career.

Do you have value to offer others? Of course you do – start and maintain a blog centered around your career passions and open your own YouTube channel. Take it a step further and participate in BlogTalk radio shows; better yet, create and host your own. You are the solution to an organization’s problem – they just need to know you are out there. If you aren’t visible, they can’t find you.

If you are reading this, you are already a leader. You network with intent, serve your followers, cultivate strong professional relationships and collaborate with others in your field of interest. You are solution-oriented, visionary and most of all – you have passion for leadership. You add value on a daily basis. You lead while you serve your followers.

For many people, a layoff may be the catalyst to an entirely new and exciting career.  After all, it is your actions, not your title, which make you a leader.

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What People Are Saying

Gary Dee, Portland, Oregon  |  27 Oct 2010  |  Reply

Heather, thanks for this! I went through this exact process during 15 months of not being ‘directly employed’. I was determined that my career continue during that period (which I didn’t expect to last 15 weeks, never mind 15 months) and took other advice to participate in blogs of higher profile people in my field as well as be active on Twitter especially during major conferences (which I attended remotely, via online broadcasts, social media, etc.). I also used my network to link up with a number of startups founded by some of my past contacts and volunteered as a pro bono consultant. In all those activities, I took advantage of my freedom to speak my honest feelings without fear of contradicting my superiors’ corporate line and widened my view since I was no longer limited by a defined role or job description.

In the end, I found myself with a roster of recommendations (some public, some private) save but for one … an older startup that I had advised on their relaunch, who invited me to join for not only a senior technical position, but my first real executive position!

While I did devote most of my days to searching for regular employment, I’m glad that I didn’t limit myself to that. Thanks again for this article!

HeatherEColeman  |  29 Oct 2010  |  Reply

You are very welcome! I love your story, and the point you make here: “I widened my view since I was no longer limited by a defined role or job description.” I think this is so very important for people to understand – your previous job title does not define your future career.

Thank you for your kind comments and for including your own experience!

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