The economy and my then-employer gave me a nice kick in the face in late 2009. I started my own business and took another series of blows, not only to the face and neck, but also to the body, knees, and generally everywhere else.
It is now the middle of 2011, I am still fairly beaten up, but at least I can type again, and thus this note on career transition.
Whether you lose your job in a period of dramatic economic uncertainty or in a period of expansion, it is financially, emotionally, and spiritually very unpleasant. I am sure you have read or heard a million stories over the last two years of gloom and woe, so I won't pile on. Instead, I am going to provide just a few specific things I have learned.
Get organized and learn how to use your time wisely. I recommend a book by Peter Drucker titled, The Effective Executive. It is a short read but will help you schedule your day to be better focused on finding and securing your new opportunity. It was also written in the 1960s, so it has some really funny, un-pc comments sprinkled through it. Think "Mad Men."
Professional, Managerial & Executive Openings!
Most people with undergraduate degrees do not work in the field in which they studied. When faced with a job loss, consider looking for or creating new opportunities in the field/s you are most interested.
Start with any necessary licensing or regulatory requirements, as they will often take the most time to overcome. The next step is network like crazy and expect a whole lot of rejection.
Be patient. Making a transition will likely take a long time and be financially painful. Sorry, its the truth. To put a better spin on it, think of your transition like planting a garden. You plan your garden in the winter. You think about what you want to plant. Determine if there is sufficient sun, water, etc. When the time is right, you sow your seeds, then water and weed regularly. After a series of weeks, you make actually get something you can eat.
What you have just read is what any commission sales person tells you is their daily life. Figure out who you want to meet, the nature of the relationship you want, then nurture the relationship. Rinse and repeat. Some relationships are immediately profitable, while others may take years. Patience is a virtue, but cash flow is a challenge.
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers, short cuts, and your mileage will vary. I regularly call people I know for advice and also to get their opinions on whether my newest idea is completely off the wall. I also attend regional entrepreneur conferences held by the investment community. It is a great source of information and contacts. I am not talking about franchises or multi-level marketing.
I wish you the best! Don't give up. I will report back when I have crossed the poverty line in income.