June 25, 2018

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When Your Career Mirrors a Moldy Ham Sandwich

As your career grew and broadened, it seemed like nothing could go wrong. You were in high demand. Everyone wanted you. The resume and cover letter you routinely updated yourself were making the phone ring off the hook. Maybe you once walked into an interview knowing in a split minute that you were hired … and you were! Maybe you were once hired site unseen. But, much like the high-priced technology stocks of the 1990s, your bubble burst.

Suddenly, you feel like yesterday’s deli sandwich that wasn’t refrigerated properly. The meat, your career, is no longer the favorite on the menu. The lettuce, your knowledge and skills, aren’t as crisp and shiny as they once were. The condiments, your spark and commitment, are now bland or tasteless.

It appears the working world has moved on without you. No one wants to be unneeded. Nobody wants to be that moldy sandwich just waiting for someone to discard.

Okay, so you’re not a sandwich. What has happened, however, is that your packaging isn’t drawing the right attention and your placement in the fridge is keeping you from competing with the turkeys and the roast-beefs. What might also surprise you is being the looked-over sandwich is exactly the position you want. Before you think I’ve fallen off my rocker, keep reading. I have a point to make, I promise.

“… being the unwanted sandwich is exactly the position you want.”

Almost three years ago, my favorite Aunt passed away. We all have one of these aunts in our family; she was great at offering advice but failed to apply common sense to her own life. An irritant to me, she worked an $8.00 an hour job, and most years, she didn’t receive a cost-of-living increase. She was bright, confident, and adventurous, yet had grown comfortable in her job — and gave countless excuses to defend such. She was afraid to consider change, which is the same situation many hourly and salary workers experience as they grow accustomed to the same-old-same-old, day in and day out.

If you’re one who has become comfortable and makes excuses for avoiding any career move, nothing can give you a kick in the pants quicker than the fear of unemployment. Suddenly, to-dos once put off are now front and center. Maybe you’d thought about taking a couple classes at the local community college. You thought of training on that new CRM system, but your company favored an older, less popular one … and so did you.

Now, you’re displaced and find yourself regretting failed decisions and maybe a bit angry with yourself for postponing and neglecting critical steps along the way. Well, here’s your chance. Your chance to uproot that stagnant career, making up for lost time. Plus, I hate to state the obvious but some of the best paths in life result from a road we never thought we would take.

The next steps taken are critical to securing your overall success.

First, take a deep breath. You’re not damaged; you’re simply facing the possibly of taking a newly discovered road. Keep an open mind and don’t get nervous … yet.

Second, whether you find yourself unemployed or about to be, go into financial survival mode. Avoid your savings at all costs.

Third, look into inexpensive college or technical school classes to help freshen up your credentials. Attending class is also a great way of broadening your network and expanding the number of people you meet. Who knows? You might meet your future employer in one of these classes.

Fourth, slap yourself. Don’t make the mistake of letting your career become stagnant again. You’re doing your employer an injustice, and most importantly, you’re limiting your long-term career prospects as well. Look at personal development as that must-do thing you do each year. No excuses … only gains to your value.

The sandwich became moldy because it sat in the fridge waiting for somebody to come along and show interest. Jobseekers just don’t have that luxury any more. You must continuously improve your packaging and fight for front-shelf exposure.

- Teena Rose

Teena Rose, Leading Resume Writer, Book Author, and Career Expert

Resume to Referral

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