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2013 Year in Review: Lessons Learned December 17, 2013

Posted by Tim Rodgers in job search.
Tags: , , , ,

Another year is coming to an end, and it’s a natural time to reflect on the events of the last twelve months. Here’s a summary of what I’ve learned, or re-learned, in 2013.

  • I started the year “in transition,” but interviewed for several positions in January and February, ultimately landing a job as the director of quality for a mid-sized company in northern Colorado. The preparation and the interviews themselves provided a great opportunity to re-assess my skills and experiences and test whether those really have value in the marketplace. Ironically, despite all the time I put into local networking in southern California and building connections at my target companies, I got the job in Colorado after submitting an on-line application with no insider help. What I learned: staying patient during job search, and trusting that there really is a good fit out there somewhere.
  • The new job started in March and I commuted from my home in San Diego until relocating to Colorado in June. I re-read a couple of my previous blog posts for advice (See: 30-60-90 Day Plans and  Managing Remote Teams), and generally spent my time learning about the people, processes, and products at the company. My team was spread over multiple sites and I made several trips to introduce myself and align expectations. Managing the relocation was a significant distraction during that period, but I received very positive feedback about my ability to quickly establish credibility and make an immediate impact. What I learned: making strong first impressions and achieving early results are critical during the first weeks in a new job. That’s a topic for my next post in 2014. 
  • In June I moved to Colorado, returning after exactly 20 years. Work kept me extremely busy, but I made it a priority to personally re-connect with former colleagues who I’d kept up with over the years. I also started the process of establishing a local network by attending meetings of networking groups and professional chapters throughout the area. I didn’t know it at the time, but those connections gave me a head start when I re-joined the ranks of the unemployed later in the year. What I learned: it may be hard, but it’s important to maintain professional relationships and continue networking while employed.
  • From July through November I focused on the job, consolidating and building on the early successes, and expanding my influence in the organization. It was an exciting time for our growing business, with a game-changing new product coming to market and a significant international acquisition. That all came to a sudden and unexpected end after a corporate reorganization left me without a chair. What I learned: there’s no such thing as job security; the security comes from your network, your relationships, and your skills and talents.
  • For the last several weeks I’ve been reviewing my job search strategies and evaluating new ones. I’ve returned to blogging after a lull during the summer and fall. I’m working on a personal web site (scheduled to go live in January) to present some of my methodologies and accomplishments, and I’m considering other channels to help promote my personal brand. I’m once again looking for consulting and teaching opportunities to stay active. I’m meeting some great people and sharing my lessons about networking and social media. I’ve decided to focus on learning one language for a year instead of playing around with several languages at the same time. What I learned: keep learning, keep growing, stay active.

It’s been an emotional roller coaster, but never boring. I have no idea where this is going next, and I can’t wait to get there.



1. summeraustin007 - December 20, 2013

Hang in there. I agree with you that things do work out – it’s just hard to always believe that when they’re not going well.

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