NOW…I can exhale


Alternative headline I: Thanks to those companies I interviewed with during the past two years who didn’t hire me

Alt headline II: What a long, strange trip it’s been

I have had many headlines go through my head about this post — both insightful and snarky.

The short version of this post is that I just finished up my first week as editorial director for online media* for the Chrysler Group LLC, working in Auburn Hills, Mich. And I’m very blessed and thrilled beyond belief to be working with the company at this point in its history. I have a strong feeling that I’m joining the company near the start of an amazing rebirth of a company that has had some rough years of late.

Now for the longer version….

Since being laid off early afternoon Aug. 20, 2008, it’s been an amazing journey.

While I had several months of solid, consistent, dependable contract work during 2009, for the most part I felt like I was a hamster inside a clear plastic ball, running helter skelter in a gazillion different directions. Constantly scurrying pursing job opportunities, new contract work, fulfilling client obligations I did have, keeping track of unemployment and other aid (though my wife, Amy, did most of that heavy lifting), trying to stay visible in social media — trying to take care of my family — all while also trying to be a dad and a husband.

Not really feeling like I can breathe.

And, trying to remain faithful that it’ll all work out for the best in the end. It will be alright.

While not always easy, God knows what he’s doing. And it did.

So, while hoping I never have to go through this again, here’s a brief of what I learned. If you’re in a situation similar to what I was in, job-wise, I hope this is helpful.

  • Network. Network. Network. Nearly all of the work I did stemmed from relationships. Past co-workers and acquaintances making introductions and opening doors. People who were familiar with my work online. I still had to perform and prove myself but warm calls are a lot easier than cold calls.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out. From the early beginning, I made it a habit of regularly reaching out to other professionals in the area. Setting up a lunch or a coffee. While online media and networking is good, nothing beats developing a relationship face to face.
  • Pay it forward. Many, many times, I was helped by a referral or someone making a recommendation on my behalf. So in your constant look for opportunities — keep others’ needs in mind. Recommend others on LinkedIn without expecting a return. Give shout-outs to others when you can on Twitter, Facebook, your own blog, etc. Open the door and introduce your network to opportunities that are not right for you. Be their eyes and ears.
  • Stay in touch. Even if you don’t get that job or contract, keep the relationship going. Whenever you see news or items of interest to your network, send that info or link to them. Show that you are regularly thinking of them and their business. Show interest in helping them — and you’ll be kept top of mind. Good sources for interesting tidbits include MarketingCharts, eMarketer, Pew, MarketingVox.
  • Show off your wares. Blog. Put your resume and/or portfolio up on Docstoc.com or similar platform. Keep your LinkedIn profile updated and active.

And, most of all, have faith. Believe that, whatever happens, it all really will work out for the best. But, remember, whatever “it” is, it won’t just happen. You have to work towards it.

Even if it means you are scurrying around.

-Mike

*For some places you can find me online, in my new role, check the Chrysler Group LLC blog, Twitter account, Facebook or YouTube.