It happened to me yesterday! My boss came and told me. He explained the why! Now it’ my story, the one I heard so much about from ex colleagues… But this time it was my turn.

Like a cliché, I am with my box, my final pay check, my 3 months of insurance coverage and a lot of questions. After years on a job so many years of being busy, overbooked, my agenda is empty!!

My package allows me to get a “Coach” from an Outplacement firm. Great!! My first meeting was a wake up call. He made me realize that I didn’t need to be afraid. For sure I’m already in big trouble. Time to sink or swim. Yeah I knew that! My bills, my credit card, my mortgage and next year my older daughter starts College, I’m not in trouble I’m in hot water!!

Ok, my first plan of action is already in place. I’ve set up with my coach (by the way I will explain another time how I’ve chosen my coach. It’s hilarious, honestly)

I bought new suits, got a stylish new haircut, new glasses, and new shoes. Because after years I didn’t realize that I looked so outdated. It was never the good moment to buy something new, but today I have to!! My wife almost killed me, but I’m almost dead or soon to be (3 months before taking the dive).

Now I’m in killer mode, ready, my speech is perfected. I practiced so much with ex colleagues, my coach, my wife and my kids. But enough practice, ready to go. Besides, they almost killed me 😉 and none of them has a job for me!!!

Fortunately, I’m still on-line, so let’s find my next job!! According to my coach, I need to connect with my network!! Sure, but my network is basically the unemployed or employees from my previous company. A Few friends called me back after my long message, and told me that my situation is a good opportunity to start fresh… No kidding, a good opportunity, really!! Yeah right, my network brought me zero interviews. I should follow the advice of my previous boss who says, “When you want peace, prepare for war”. I’m in the middle of the war but unprepared with my network.

Ok then, let’s call some Executive Search Firms!! But wait… Which one, what a nightmare!! Do I need to call contingency firms, a retained search firm? Already a headache, I take painkillers. Let’s read some articles:

Contingency firms are transaction oriented. They are paid only if the company hires a candidate presented to them. They are generally focused on mid-to lower-level positions. Ok, not for me!!

Retained search firms have typically an exclusive relationship with the company and are contracted to find the right candidate. Retained firms are paid a higher percentage of the estimated first year compensation presented to the candidate. Maybe better for me!!

Ok let’s do it. I sent 30 resumes to the top recruiters from different retained search firms, based on an article I read. Two days, and nothing…Three days, still nothing. Something is wrong. Jesus, they are not waiting for me!! And they are all specialized. I was prepared to speak with my next employer but not prepared to get in touch with my next recruiter!!

Let’s do it all over again. First, I need to be an attractive candidate, someone they can present to their clients, something different. Maybe if I share some information about my industry, my network…Bingo!!

First call with my first recruiter. It’s another wake up call, in the same way as my coach. It’s professional, direct, we are talking about my resume; he gives me some good advice and tells me that he will get back to me. But he also advises me to contact him from time to time in order to remind him about my situation, especially if something new happens.

Ok, I get it: sharing information, getting in touch, but with new updates. Eventually I need to find the right balance. This recruiter explained to me that he has to manage hundreds of resumes and even with an IT system it’s not so easy. Therefore, I need to bring something slightly different.

I get that, but I have only two months left now… My cell phone is ringing. It’s him. I’m now on a long list and maybe if everything goes right, on a short list for a new position. He needs to see me tomorrow morning at 9 am, before the meeting with the client. OMG!! It goes too fast now. I look in the mirror. I’m ready!! Am I??

Christophe and Olivier

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