Senior Managers…..What would you do if you suddenly found yourself on the job market?

by Anita Caldwell

If you are suddenly out of work 'out of the blue', most likely caused by cold, commercial market forces in the background, it comes as a shock to the system, even though you may have worked in a role as senior or responsible as you like. What is a common market scenario for other people you know, suddenly becomes serious, it's affecting you – it’s different now that it’s personal! You are having to face what a lot of people in the market go through and what many of us, unfortunately may have to in the future and often for reasons, or at least partial reasons, out of an individuals’ control.

In your senior role you may even have been party or instrumental in effecting the changes that have caused your own demise....recommending why your company should restructure in a certain way, or downsize, or cut costs, or relinquish a certain business strategy, or cut a business stream to reduce turnover but increase profits....etc. and over the years we have heard so many different scenarios, and reasons why this has ended in parting ways, through redundancy, an agreed financial settlement, mutual agreement, amicable decisions or bitter disagreement etc.

For someone who has had a good career record, held senior responsibilities, been a people leader, have always been 'good at their job' it can be like a lifeline has been cut off. Outstanding and competent people alike can sit in front of us, in a 'fish out of water' situation, looking slightly bewildered and needy due to their current situation, some with their ego's deflated, they may be demoralised, upset, pragmatic, realistic, embarrassed, worried, angry, relieved etc. or a combination of all of these! Or in certain circumstances, (especially if someone has 'achieved' a desired voluntary severance) elated, happy and deciding this is a new lease of life, although usually still needing to think what to do next for ongoing financial security and often of equal importance for their intellectual challenge and own interest.

Seeing it as an excellent opportunity, or a chance in the circumstances (like it or not) to accept change and to find your next step, is the positive state of mind people 'out of work' need to try to get to, to gain 'cut-off' and acceptance and peace of mind by taking a forward-thinking outlook. It’s very easy for me to say, and easier said than done, as many people lose confidence in some respect.

Especially in the early stages of change when such mental worries about family financial security, their own age (even with legislation), wondering if their skills are transferable, fitting into a new company after so long off the job market, losing self-confidence, how to write a CV and present themselves having not had to apply for a role or attend an interview for years etc, all these and many more thoughts may initially take over. They may also still feel they need to 'keep face' for the sake of their family or amongst friends, or to retain stature to still play their role as a leader (or perhaps main bread-winner) for their own self-esteem. They may have always thought they'd be 'stronger' than this in the circumstances, but have surprised themselves by their reaction, quietly panicking and finding they are not as mentally strong or organised as they imagined. What should they do next, the recruitment market nowadays seems alien and a minefield to them.

We often hear many senior, experienced people go through the next similar thought process, thinking this may be the 'right time' to follow one's own interest path, or work in a new interest sector, or set up their own limited company and work as a niche consultant, or work interim, part-time, or take on NED positions etc...

If you would like to receive a FREE copy of our tips and suggestions about taking a common-sense approach to tackle the market afresh as a senior candidate in the market, or to pass on to someone you know who may appreciate a few pointers, please email your details to or give us a call on 01928 711800 and we’ll email it to you.

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