So you want to get back in the saddle?

10 Dec 2017

Last month I wrote a 60 second piece of advice on dealing with losing your job or being sidelined. It hit the mark for a lot of people and generated a lot of feedback from both sides of the equation.

It’s highly likely that at some point you will make the decision to get back in the saddle.
I assume that you have taken time out, licked your wounds, built some key networks and tested who you can trust. You think you are ready to re-enter the hothouse world that you got the heave ho from. Well let’s ask ourselves a few questions and make a few points for consideration.
  1. What specifically did you learn from the experience of getting sacked or sidelined? Did you get feedback or have you decided this from your own (biased?) reflections?
  2. Have you asked yourself in what way were you the problem or contributed to the situation?
  3. The real learnings and lessons come from the difficult times and challenges
  4. Have you created a network of contacts who you have built a relationship with as advisers and thought provokers?
  5. Have you included in that group of people those who will decide that you are ready now?
  6. What roles and work contexts do you want to consider now that you are “ready”? Does this line up with the feedback that you have got from people you can trust rather than those who do not know how to deal with you so they “say the right thing” rather than being caringly honest? The truth is most of us know when someone is fudging their comments. We just do not always want to hear it.
You are the architect of your career revival
  1. You are the manager of your career and life. You own it, no one else. Belief and trust in yourself is important in having a strong sense of self worth
  2. Preparation is critical. Preparation is not just about the job and what excites or challenges you. Preparation is knowing the environment and culture of the organisation and the role. Preparation is knowing who you need to talk to in order to get background and briefing about the role? Who are the key decision makers in deciding whether you will get interviewed and will judge your performance at interview and your track record?
  3. You might consider a “dummy run” interview to prepare. If so what questions would you ask if you were the panel about the role, your experience, your track record, your leadership and team style, your “fit” for the role?
  4. What is your narrative/story to explain what happened last time? It is ok to acknowledge that you did not get it completely right. That you have learnt something from the experience. There are many executives who have gone through the experience you have. However, your story must be congruent and stand up to scrutiny
  5. Get your referees lined up and get their story lined up so it aligns with yours. Sometimes referees can stray from the words you have discussed with them. Sometimes they can be a little faint in their praise. Focus them on your strengths and on the questions that a panel might ask to test that you are ready
  6. Have people around you who are supportive and who can be your sounding board. These are not people who will collude with you. These are people who can help you be ready, willing and able to manage the interview and potentially a new role.

Remember, the system is forgiving. Sometimes you can just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. People understand that. You just have to serve your time and show that you have learnt, sucked it up and are ready!!

Next month’s post: You’re back in the main game. How do you set up the first 100 days?