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Starting the Year Off Right After Corporate Changing of the Guards

While many resolutions at the start of the new year are about "new you" or "new career", there are many people who will need to re-energize after a prior year of tumultuous changes due to massive layoffs, mergers, and acquisitions. Uncertainty about a current job, the role to be played in the future and the potential of no career path at a company can be mentally tiring.

Here are a few steps to re-energize yourself at the top of the New Year to determine your next move:

1. Assess the new regime.  

Fight through the rumors and media headlines and do the due diligence on what really happened for the change to occur. In the case of a merger, how much of each company's standards and ways of doing business are included in the new company? How quickly can you adjust or make a difference? In the case of an acquisition, how important was your position or did it even exist in the parent company's structure and what would be its value?

What are the policies for working - onsite everyday, telecommuting, travel or longer commuting times than previously? Can you work with the new leadership and middle managers? As described in Seven Transformations of Leadership by David Rooke and Wiliam R. Torbert, are they opportunists, diplomats, experts, achievers, individualists, strategist, or alchemists and how does that blend with your values?

2. Honestly, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.  

This requires introspection and possibly some peer assessments regarding what is required in your position as well as character and work ethic attributes. Identifying the strengths should help to align with departments in the company that are weak in these areas. Similarly acquiescing the weaknesses means there should be a plan on how to improve them or find another position where those skills are not as prevalent to the role. For help in this area, start out with reading StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

3. Build a new network.  

If the old network loses power or are sent packing, there are still bills to pay. However, this does not mean switch support or allegiance to those who have always supported your career. While you are planning your next move, it does mean finding a way to show your worth by asking to be invited to meetings, setting up one-on-ones to discuss your strengths, being attentive to the new direction to discover a way to implement those skills and watching the newly formed relationships. It also means doing informational interviews outside of the department, and more importantly, outside the company, to find a new niche with more potential and staying power.

4. Rebuild your brand.  

Create an online video elevator pitch of 3 sentences that describe your key assets to any organization. Take certification courses in an area that can help increase the chances of broader employment outside of the industry. Set up or modify LinkedIn accounts to better describe what you do in recognizable terms of others in the same position both in and out of the industry. Set up quiet time to read and refocus on passions that you always wanted to explore and research how your skills can be incorporated to make that dream come true. Build and create a social media brand based on your expertise and network with those of similar interests.

Published on January 4, 2015

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