This post is not only for the unemployed — it's for those great people who still have jobs and businesses. I run into the same five regrets every day with out-of-work people I meet and the workshops I host. If you find yourself speaking these words, take my advice:
1. I should have seen this coming.
You can't have eyes in the back of your head all the time. I always suggest to my clients to have better peripherals around the office — keep your eyes open to the bigger forces whipping around the organization. Subtle layoffs? Projects cut? Boss leaving for a better job elsewhere?
Don't focus on the past — sometimes things come out of nowhere and hit you square in the face. Deal with it and move on.
2. I should have worked harder.
Yes, you should have. But most of the time, your layoff wasn't due to your light workload. It may have many reasons — too old, too young, big salary, small salary, major project cut, minor project shelved — it can be ANYTHING.
The secret HR/Financial math is never revealed to you — stop focusing on the past and ensure any position you get will be met with unbridled enthusiasm and energy.
3. I shouldn't have ticked off that person.
Business is full of positive and negative communication. Sometimes you acknowledge and compliment people — sometimes you piss people off. It comes with the territory. Stop worrying about what you said to what wrong person. Odds are, they probably deserved it.
And in the light of day, it probably didn't make a bit of difference about your layoff.
4. I should have gotten my resume together.
Yes, you should have. This is my one pet peeve of every executive — they always wait until they're on the street to begin updating their resume. It's too late.
Today — get your resume, update it and send it to a qualified resume writer (contact me if you need a good one). Then get it on the street — not to a lot of people, just key people who might have a bigger, better, and more fun opportunity for you.
5. I should have networked with more people outside of work.
Yes, you should have. Don't cocoon at work — get out on a regular basis (at least once a week) to meet with fellow colleagues, peers in the industry, or friends to expand your knowledge of the marketplace.
Don't sit at your desk every day — that leads to a quick professional death every time.
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P.S. Did this article hit a nerve? If so, let's talk. I've worked with many clients who have the same questions — and we developed a successful plan to tackle their insecurities. I schedule infrequent complimentary sessions - catch one today.