You read "when your industry restructures," but it could be that your industry falls apart, crumbles, fades away or simply shifts in a way that affects you. Been there. When I started my graduate studies in Communication in 2003, I had been teaching at East Carolina University for 6 years. Those who were in the know worried loudly about the shortage of communication professors. They were in anguish about what to do with the surge of students entering college around 2009, when the peak of baby boomer offspring reached the age of 18 or so. There was much wringing of hands about this dire lack of credentialed personnel. So imagine everyone’s surprise when universities across the country laid off as many communication instructors and professors as was possible (i.e. those without protective tenure.) in 2009.
Okay, let’s be real, there’s enough turmoil in corporate America these days to keep everyone in perpetual anxiety. No joke. Everyone I know who has a great job, is also aware that it could disappear from one day to the next. How does one live with that? Not that this blog post has all the answers, but below are some things to consider.
In my case, when the unpersonalized mass email arrived, announcing that the teaching services of all ad junct faculty would no longer be needed, I had already decided to leave academentia. Nevertheless, I was outraged to be cut off like that. You might think that communication professionals would communicate such a delicate message in a more appropriate way, but such was not the case.
3 Tips for Staying Confident amid Industry Turmoil:
1. You are not your job.
Successful professionals normally identify themselves with their jobs. That’s why many people get sick and die soon after retirement. Their identity was so tied up with their job that when it wasn’t there any more, they lost their zest for living. The truth is, you are much more than your job.
You were someone before you started this job. Get in touch with that person. What do you really like to do? What would you do if you knew you could not fail? That’s finding the essence of you.
Finding this person, the real you, is not a 10-minute project. It takes some time to reflect, which can be difficult for people who have lived putting out fires (or whacking the moles) for a long time. This mission, should you decide to accept it, can transform your life, even if you even up staying at your job until the end of time.
2. Your job is not your source of wealth.
It has been said that your wealth is what you have left when your money is gone.
Your job is a channel of wealth; it is not the source of your wealth. You could end up making a lot more money on your own. You might find a much more interesting and fulfilling way to live outside of the job.
In my case that not working at the university, even on a part-time basis, has helped me focus on my business in a far more profitable way. Think about wealthy wives (or spouses or partners) who dabble in business while being maintained by someone else. They might make it big on their own, but usually their business is just a hobby and doesn’t become a money-making machine for them. They’re interested in building their business but it takes committment to make it big.
3. Whatever happens will benefit you (eventually.)
Losing your job could absolutely be the best thing that ever happened to you. That’s what Lance Armstrong said about his getting cancer. His illness was the X-factor that catalyzed his subsequent 7 victories in the Tour de France. Seeing the benefits starts with opening your mind to the possibility that better things are out there waiting for you, you just can’t see them right now.
Real confidence comes from you accepting the fabulously imperfect person that you really are.