Unemployment, like free agency in sports, can be a positive experience. Really.
Many of you are probably thinking, what does a wealthy athlete have in common with me in the "job search" process?
I'll tell you, it's the process. From a tactical perspective, we all can learn a lot from successful people; we just have to extract what is applicable to us. It's why corporations book athletes and coaches to speak to their employees. Their stories resonate. We just have to embrace and utilize the similarities for our particular situation.
Free agency in sports is often considered a "maximizing opportunity" event for the athlete. For the most part, it's when an athlete has a choice: the athlete might have more than one team to choose from and has more control of their compensation on the open market. Generally, it's viewed as a positive in the sports world.
Free agency in the business world should be considered a positive as well. Attitude, as they say, is more important than fact. If you have been recently laid off, you should approach the your "free agent employee" period as your opportunity to maximize this crossroads event in your working career with the utmost positive attitude. Sometimes unemployment can lift the weight off your shoulders and help you seek that fresh start.
As a "free agent" employee, you have choices. A free agent employee can look at it as an opportunity to create a demand for their skill set. He or she can view the situation as an opportunity to drive up their value monetarily.
Baseball pitcher John Smoltz, our client for nearly twenty years, recently went through free agency for the fifth time. This past offseason's events are well documented. However, what made this event special was the way in which John viewed his situation. John and all of us at CS&E viewed this free agency time period like all the other opportunities prior, as nothing but a positive experience to embrace.
John wears a Red Sox hat now, always grateful for the platform the Braves organization created for him. As the story applies to most of you, John allowed free agency --- unemployment --- to be a positive experience. He was in our office almost every day for weeks straight discussing options as we shared our conversations with organizations. We helped him process it as it became more apparent he was turning a new chapter of his life. John's preference --- to remain in Atlanta --- was probably not going to become a reality. But he stayed calm and embraced the other opportunities.
There are five tools you need for a job search. They apply to the unemployed as well as those in free agency.
Passionate Style: This separates those who will make it happen from those who hope it happens; it's the belief and vision to execute during critical times. Anyone who has watched John Smoltz knows he has this on and off the mound. His passion for the game and desire to complete energized him to come back from multiple surgeries. Teams want that presence and style in their clubhouse, just like employers want that same passion from employees.
Fearlessness: One of your most important tools. It is your ability to embrace challenges without allowing the fear of failure to inhibit your efforts. John is as fearless as they come on the mound (and yes, on the golf course too). He wants the ball when it's a tight game. His fearlessness toward free agency allowed us to do our job.
Game Plan: You must insert your passion, style, and fearlessness into your game plan. It's your road map. It needs to be tailored to you. With John, our initial priority was to demonstrate that a 41-year-old, future hall of fame pitcher was healthy and eager to still pitch in the big leagues.
Execution: We executed our game plan with deliberate, calming style so as to allow John to enjoy what could have been a draining process. You must do the same.
Choices: We created choices for John. You must create choices for yourself as well. They are a product of hard work and creating opportunities and making them a reality.
Be a five-tool player and you won't be a free agent much longer