The amount of time it took to read the title of this chapter is about the amount of time it took me to flounder around wondering, “What now?” If you have been laid off or find yourself suddenly out of work for any reason, I suggest taking enough time to take a deep breath and ensure you don’t make any unnecessary emotional decisions or actions that may burn bridges. I actually invested the time between packing boxes and saying goodbye to formulate a thoughtful email as my departing gift to my now-former colleagues. Prior to sending, I made a point to ensure that it was positive, balanced, and could not be misinterpreted as over-the-top emotional irrationality. Below is the majority of the message:
“Change is inevitable, growth is optional.” – John C. Maxwell
I found out this morning that my job was eliminated—it’s effective immediately. After twenty-three years with this company, I can only say, ‘thank you.’ I am who I am professionally based on the bumps, bruises, and triumphs this company has provided me. I can’t thank all of you enough for transforming me into someone who can leave this company with his head up. I’m also hoping that it is temporary. I feel great about my prospects and know that I will land in the right place.
I’ve attached my résumé for you to review and feel free to send it to anyone you feel would like to see it. Please also forward to anyone whom I may have inadvertently missed in my rush. I’ve also attached a letter I wrote a few days after my first books were published in September 2012, to our company’s CEO as I was bursting with pride about where I’d been individually and where I saw this company moving in the future. My feelings for this company have not changed—it is full of success stories.
“There are no defining moments. There are only moments for you to define.” – Tom Dowd
I then attached a letter that I had sent to our CEO earlier in the year. This letter was a note that discussed the negative media attention the company had been receiving at the time. It emphasized the fact that the individuals within any company are what make it special. My message to him was that the company, regardless of the media scrutiny, had a multitude of employees working hard to get past it. Below is the last paragraph:
“I bring up the timing, because you know more than anyone the angle the press likes to take with “too big to fail” and the “one percent.” What the sometimes negative media fails to recognize is the efforts of the 260,000 employees working behind the scenes to offer the right financial solutions to our customers. Yes, we make mistakes. The question is, can we learn from these mistakes to be better people, better employees, better community partners, and a stronger organization because of them? I think we can. I think there are more people in this company who are forging ahead every day to make a difference for themselves and for others. I wanted you to have these books as a symbol of growth, a symbol of support, and a symbol of success that we are strong. The company has winners. I am but one of the many success stories at (this company).”
I couldn’t have been too far off with my sentiments. I received a note from a former colleague asking if I contributed to the new marketing campaign for my now former company that started six months later. The theme surrounded the message of learning from our mistakes and building personal relationships. I can’t say that I contributed directly, but I’ve learned over time that relationship building is critical for success for everyone.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job (Honorable Mention at the 2014 Paris and New York Book Festivals), The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World (Honorable Mention at the 2012 New England Book Festival), From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention). Audiobook version of “From Fear to Success” is also available! See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com. Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com
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