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The Downturn / Drought – Tips For Survival

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Even the jungle has seasons. One of those seasons is a period of less rain called a drought or the dry season. We can think of it as the jungle’s downturn.

Recently the US and World economies have had a period of less prosperity or a drought just like a dry season in the jungle. This is a normal part of the cycle. Droughts help weed out the weak so new species can take hold. They also cause animals to adapt or move in search of food. You must adapt in order to survive and here are some tips on how to survive through this “financial drought.” Droughts tend to strengthen the jungle in the long run just like downturns help to weed out outdated companies or workers who need to improve on their skills set.

The strong survive. You must learn to search for opportunities in new ways and employ those strategies by adapting. If you do this, you will end up stronger in the long run and subsequently, be more successful.

When you suspect that you are going to be laid off or when the layoff actually occurs, you must be polite and accept the news with grace and dignity. You do not want to burn any bridges. Ask about your company’s severance package (if they are offering one) before you leave or get the correct contact information for the HR representative who can help you if you have any questions. You should also thank your manager or boss for the opportunity to work for him or her and ask politely if they would be willing to give you a good reference.  Leave, go home and relax. Regroup over the next few days and then start your job search. Do not take months off because you will be sorry if it takes a while to find a new job and you have already taken time off. The average job search takes 2 weeks per ten thousand dollars (so a $50,000 candidate will take about two and a half months to find a job.)

Adapt. Be honest with yourself. Were you laid off or are you having a hard time finding a job because the job that you do is outdated or no longer needed? Do you have older software skills or is your education light compared to what is normally required to do the job that you want? If your answer to these questions is yes, you need to improve your skills to compete in the market.

If you are sending out resume after resume online and are not getting any call backs, you need to adapt the way that you are conducting your search. Be sure your resume is well written. A good resource for this is Ten Easy Steps To a Perfect Resume by Carolyn Thompson available on You can also have a recruiter or friend read your resume for grammar and ease of understanding. If you know a company has a job and you have not heard back after submitting your resume, call the manager directly and ask if they have seen your resume yet. For example; if you applied for an AP Processor position and you haven’t heard back, call the company and ask to be connected to the AP Manager. When you get them on the phone, ask if they have seen your resume and offer to send it over for their review.  Trust me, this works!

Remember, everything has a time of plenty and times that are lean.  It is natural. By staying strong and adapting, you will come out of the other end stronger and better prepared than you were before.

Webinars on Resume Writing and Job Search Techniques are available at

Jake Hanson
Senior Associate, CMCS

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The Bear – Conquering Your Fears

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 17, 2009 in Building Confidence, Self Improvement, Thinking Positive

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There’s a famous fable about a skunk, a lion and a hawk who debated as to which of them was the most dangerous and feared animal in the jungle.

The hawk claimed to be “top dog”: “I win because I hit ’em from above, and from above, I have the best view of all. I can see things nobody else can!”

The lion rejoined: “Nonsense! I’m the most powerful animal of all, with the longest, sharpest, teeth and claws. I’m the most dangerous, for sure!”

Then the skunk said: “I can stink up the whole jungle and run out every man or beast in the territory.”

And so they argued, on and on, until a big old bear came along and swallowed the three of them, Hawk, Lion and Stinker!

With the uncertainty we are all faced with every day, losing your job is high on the list of people’s fears right now.  Anxieties are high in both the executive office and in the sea of cubicles where all the work is actually done.  Here are a couple of tips for quelling your anxieties so you can conquer your fears so if the Bear (layoffs) comes along, it won’t kill you.

  • 1. Start by identifying the source of your worry.   In the case of your job is it the loss of pay or the dreaded job search that you just don’t feel like doing right now? Talking to someone about your fears or concerns can help differentiate between the products of your imagination and those things truly deserving of worry. It helps to know if the source of your worry is something you can control, or something over which you have no control. If the cause of your worry is something you can affect, then channel that worry into action.
  • 2. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen if my fear becomes reality?”  Think it through logically.  If you are prepared for the worst, you can make a pro-active plan for dealing with the cause of your worry and then carry it through. Such a reaction is a positive use of worry helping you to overcome potential problems and threats. However, if there is nothing you can do about the source of your worry, it’s just as important to act to counter that worry, rather than letting it build up harmfully inside you. You need to learn to let go. If something beyond your control might happen, it either will or won’t. Worrying about it will produce only harmful, not positive results.
  • 3. Another strategy is to simply switch gears. Think of something over which you do have control. Turn to an enjoyable activity, perhaps with a friend, and focus on that rather than the source of your worry. Look to exercise, a fantastic way to relieve stress, burn calories, decrease depression and refocus your attention. Your goal is to stop the worry before it has the opportunity to take control of your emotions and thoughts. You must work quickly and strike when you first become aware of the negative thoughts that fuel worry. Do something, no matter how small, to help you refocus: exercise, splash cold water on your face, snap a rubber band, call a friend, or even imagine a big flashing stop sign in your mind’s eye.

Admittedly, it does take practice to refocus your thoughts away from worry to something positive. However, it can soon become second nature to relax, exercise or change thoughts, rather than resorting to counterproductive worrying.

And sharing your worry in the workplace with colleagues is just like putting leftovers in a trashcan at your campsite in the jungle…the Bear will come straight to you if you invite him!

Carolyn Thompson

Author of TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME…available on!

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The Tiger – Stripes Run Deep

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Feb 11, 2009 in Building Confidence, Job Search, Self Improvement

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Tiger stripes are as individual and unique as human finger prints. They also act as the perfect camouflage in tall weeds and grasses. But, did you know that if you were to shave the fur from a tiger it would still have stripes? 

To be a true tiger, an elite top member of the food chain, your stripes have to run deep beneath the surface. So, as you prepare yourself and your resume, to embark on a new job search because you’ve been laid off or fear that you’ll be laid off in the near future, remember, in the Job Search Jungle you can’t hide behind the stripes on your resume. You have to deliver. 

Are you presenting factual information that faithfully represents your skills and work experience? In our current competitive job market with so many talented folks unemployed, employers are being extra particular with their next hire. The successful new hires must possess all the skill requirements of the job and be ready to hit the ground running! If you’ve already been laid off, now maybe the perfect time to update your skills and education by taking a computer class, attending a workshop, or finally enrolling in school to obtain your AA, BS, MS or MBA.

Make some inner stripes that will shine out on the surface and make you a true tiger in the Job Search Jungle!

Courtnie Cho
Partner, CMCS

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