Thursday, February 2, 2017

Every ending is a new beginnning

I am sure that most of my readers will identify with the sudden loss of a job and the scramble to find new work.  This post is related to my experiences over my career, mixed with a little faith and a little philosophy.

My Contract at Smart Communications has ended, and I am looking for work.  Ok, nothing special there and with my experience and contacts, I am sure I will find work sooner or later.  In my career I have done this several times.  When I left the Active Duty Air Force, when there was a mass Layoff at Sperry, when Presidential Airways went bankrupt.

Each time, including this one, there was a tendency to take the first job that came along.  Sometimes that worked out ok, sometimes less so.  The situation is complex for sure, having to do with personal finances, savings, the current job climate and now with my location in the Philippines.  But I am writing this to share what I have learned from each of these.

First a bit of my philosophy that I have refined over the years from my experiences.  My confidence comes from my ability to produce.  I know that I am an effective technologist and have the ability to contribute to any Information Technology endeavor, particularly when it involves Service Oriented Architecture, Enterprise Architecture, Cloud Technologies and Process Improvement.  The lesson there is to always strive to improve your skills so when someone asks you "Can you _______" you can reply with "Yes I can and here are my credentials."  One of my favorite sayings is, "Your job security is totally dependent on your ability to produce."

Next, a couple of times, when unexpected, I had inadequate savings to withstand any lengthy unemployment, and one time I had just used my savings to buy a new house when Sperry merged with Boroughs and there was a massive layoff.  The first wave of layoffs was by seniority and I was laid off.  The forced sale of that new house did not recover my down-payment and my savings were gone.  I was forced into Bankruptcy.  Only my membership in the Alabama Air National Guard allowed me to look for a new job and not take the first thing that came along.  I made a career change and moved out of Computer Sales and into Computer Software and Software Development.  I took a job with Presidential Airways as an Airline Pilot and that gave me income while I built my Software Business.  That has led to my best single event in my career, and I have loved software development and that love led to great success, even if  I do say so myself.  That leads to my second favorite saying "Things always seem to work out best for those that make the best of the way things work out."

I had another occasion where I was surprised at losing a job, and I had sime significant skills and credentials.  Within 2 weeks I was offered a job with even higher salary than I had before, so I took it.  That seemed good for a while and surely it took advantage of my background, contacts, and skills.  Despite how good it seemed, it turned out to be the worst decision of my career.  Why?  Another of my favorite sayings is just this, "If someone hires you, they will gain more by having you than they are paying you or they would not hire you."  The lesson there is that, at the moment I went on the market, I had another choice, that seemed more risky, but with no risk there is no pay off.  Looking back, if I had hung out my consulting shingle and been an independent consultant, I would have made more money, had more freedom and more opportunity for creative efforts.

The bottom line is that if you are prepared for any eventuality, having savings or other sources of income to give you some wiggle room if you lose your current job, don't jump at the first job that comes along, and keep my lessons learned in mind.  Good luck and God by with you as he has always been with me.

Warm Regards,

Mike Oliver