Developing a Sense of Urgency
It struck me today, how easy it is to miss an opportunity by one day, or even an hour, and the impact it can have that changes things for a much longer period. After I watched my retirement pretty much go in the toilet this past fall, I vowed to act faster the next time we saw signs indicating we should make changes. We talked about it, and talked about it, and by February we finally agreed to make a change in our investments. Between the time we agreed and subsequently made the call, everything took another dive. And there we were, in worse straights than days earlier. Missing the urgency in taking action immediately can affect us in many ways, but in today’s world, dealing with financial or employment issues can have a longer, more devastating effect.
Every day I counsel people on actions they should be taking to get employed or even to defend their position in a tough market. And every day, someone misses an opportunity to follow up on a lead, cement a deal, or learn more about a situation that could vastly change their lives. Somehow my call to urgency is missed in the noise of everyday life. Distractions tell them an action related to their search can wait, because the car needs to be washed or the clothes need to be picked up at the dry cleaners. Or maybe they still believe a “fun” project they committed to way back when they had money and a job is still more important than taking immediate action on an employment related issue right now.
Likewise, people that have failed to invest in a network over the past few years are now turning up in droves, asking for help. They didn’t make the time to maintain their network, but now they have an urgent need to call out for help. A typical group email I receive reads “if you know of anything, please let me know”. Attached is a resume, they have frantically passed around, as if someone is really going to look at it, let alone, do anything with it.
Beyond the obvious lack of action in regard to staying in touch, is the insistence by many to adhere to “business as usual” when it comes to only working on their job search limited hours Monday through Friday. Don’t get me wrong, I support balance, but somehow when someone is facing foreclosure or they are unable to pay their heating bill, it seems like sticking with old ideas about work/life balance is a behavior that actually jeopardizes the very values they say they want to protect. Losing a home seems to tip the balance a bit in the wrong direction. If it means working on Saturdays and Sundays to complete projects that will lead to renewed income, then just maybe a temporary deviation until the threat is removed is required.
In today’s market, more than any time I can remember, it is the early bird that catches the worm. And, you will only be as strong as your network. If you are unclear about where the worm is, investing in some help to get clear is a good idea. Here are some additional actions steps:
- Establish a true financial picture. Do not wait until it is too late before you get a grip.
- Stop relying on unemployment insurance benefits as the answer to the problem. Use it for what it is meant to be – a stop gap until you get work.
- Stop living on credit cards, or in a house of cards, or with dreams of winning the lotto.
- Make sure your priorities are clear. If you have a mortgage or rent to pay, and you do not have six months of income saved, then you need to go to work now.
- Know where you really stand in relationship to what is going on in the market, your competition and your true number of options.
- Spend less time talking about how bad things are, and more time taking action to fix it.
- Remember to thank those who are offering assistance along the way. You never know when you might need them again.
What one thing can you do differently that would increase your chance for righting your tipped ship?