Bye Bye Cockroach!

I am having one of those moments. I am not hurt, wounded, stabbed or for that matter nothing bad has happened to me but I feel pain. It is a sharp pain. It starts somewhere in the middle of my body and it radiates to my head. I guess it is my heart since it is an emotional pain I feel. Nothing physical.

On Monday, corporate America announced that they are laying off 50,000 people. As this gloomy day progressed, this number got even bigger. By the end of the day it hit 68,000 jobs being cut. That could easily be translated to 200,000 people, considering an average family of 3 members.

And I close my eyes, trying to see those families got impacted….

A couple who is expecting their first baby and so much need that valuable insurance plan to ensure mom gets proper care during her pregnancy and later for delivery….

The family with three little daughters where Mummy is a homemaker and Daddy is the main bread earner…

That sixty year old engineer who has served his company for thirty years and was just about ready to retire…

My list goes on and on. It makes my head spin.

It is sad. Trust me. Been there. Done that.

When I got laid off, it left a sour taste in my mouth forever. Plus I learned one big lesson:” The word: loyalty does not exist in Corporate America’s Dictionary”.

It took me a long while to digest my layoff. Not even sure if I ever did despite all my counseling and therapy sessions.

After apprehending the news which took 72 hours in my case back then, my first thought was: Where do I start again?

And that simple question…is so complicated. It is like having the history of my professional experience marching live in front of me. And I need to remember the moments, the details, the achievements, and find ways to market myself.

Market myself? Oh yeah… That is huge stuff… Job search needs a marketing plan and a sales pitch and a good sales man who knows how to network and reach out…

And if you are not a sales man, no worries. In the job search, you will turn into one.

You go on so much interviews and so many times you have to repeat the same phrases to recruiters that you become well-versed in your sales pitch. Beyond professionalism. I remember I could even see behind the phone when someones eyes glaze over while I was talking. It made me cut the crap and get to the point faster.

Although losing my job was hard, tough, emotionally as well as financially, I can’t deny the big positive impact it had on me. It made me think about myself. What I’ve been doing?…Where do I stand?…Is this what I wanted? How far am I from where I want to be?

And that was fabulous.

To stop. To take a break from the life of a mechanical cockroach that I was. To observe this mechanical cockroach and wonder why it was programmed the way it was. Was it me or was it corporate America that made a cockroach out of me? Did the cockroach feel any joy or even sadness or may be disappointment?

At the beginning of job search, I remembered all the disappointments. All the negative stuff at my work that made me swear I’d never go back to the office again. And sure enough I did….at least for some , rather long time.

Now, that I had a chance for a fresh start over, I started thinking of what I needed to have in my new job to add some element of joy to the cockroach manner of life. Even put together a list, not very extensive but knew what I wanted exactly.

As the job search went on and I met more and more decision makers and I learned how bumpy this road can be, then the old workplace started looking shiny.

And I should say that every sunrise in my life, made that old office seem brighter and brighter. Especially when I started to realise it is not about what you know or your capabilities. It is about who you know and how you present that little mechanical cockroach: stylish, obedient, or a rebel, or may be a forward thinker?

I decided to let the cockroach be a passionate one. Get out of the shell of a mechanical one and may be not even be a cockroach anymore. Let it show some passion, pour enthusiasm and go for what really excites her. Unfortunately the outcome was not that promising. A stable cockroach with the dominant characteristics of a reliable, ever obedient servant is much better suited in the world of Corporate America.

The result was natural, I shifted gears and decided to hide the bright feathers I had put on this cockroach. Let it be the same rusty, brownish looking creature with hypnotized eyes.

The miracle worked and I got job offers.

It is all about marketing, about mesmerizing a decision maker enough with the fact that you are the mechanical cockroach in metamorphosis. And that they need you.

My heart goes to anyone who got laid off and their families. Best of luck in job search. If I can be of any help through my LinkedIn network or in any other way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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