I find myself repeating this phrase to my clients all the time. When unexpected things happen, (a surprising management change, unforeseen lay-offs, the closing of a brand or business), it can seriously throw you off balance emotionally. And in the subsequent shock and accompanying unease, a myopia takes over. The narrow focus becomes, “Oh my God, I have to find another job.”
I worked for years at Conde Nast as a sales executive, often leading teams across several brands. If you are unfamiliar, Conde Nast is the privately held parent company of a number of iconic brands, from The New Yorker and Wired, to GQ, Vogue and Vanity Fair, as well as digital destinations, Epicurious, Reddit, and Pitchfork, (amongst many others); an influential and award-winning powerhouse of content for several decades.
Every couple of years, the owner of the Conde Nast, the late and legendary Si Newhouse, would decide to reorder the management at the brands. Keith Kelly at The New York Post would fan the rumored flames by writing on Page 6, weeks in advance, that changes in brand leadership at the storied Conde Nast building were coming. Gossip was pervasive and constant on the cafeteria “egg line.” Phone calls from industry friends at Hearst and Time Inc., as well as media agency partners, would be frequent, wanting inside information on the rumors. Bets were literally placed as to which executives would be moved where and if it was going to alter the culture and trajectory of a brand, or a career.
When the ”musical chairs” happened, anywhere from 3 - 6 brands would have new management by the following week. Teams of employees were left unsure if their time at their respective brands would be discontinued, replaced by the new management’s favored team members. This is not to imply that people were frequently left unemployed. That rarely happened. To put it in perspective though, if you were in the top 3 of management like I frequently was, there was a much higher likelihood you were meant to relocate. As an example, that is how my time as Associate Publisher at Vanity Fair ended, and my position at Glamour began. So I am familiar with the myopia that can set in with unexpected change, which as we’ve all learned, is inevitable.
For the last few years, there has been significant disruption in the workplace; changes too numerous to detail here. And that disruption is currently being felt in a very real way by our friends in the tech world. So here’s what I have learned after several disruptions and even reinventions in my own career. THE WORLD IS VAST. And with that fact, countless opportunities await you. Whether you are gainfully employed but not in an ideal environment, “quiet quitting”, or find yourself suddenly in search mode, catch a breath!
Consider the countless companies you engage with on a daily basis? And then consider the ones you have yet to learn about; companies that I guarantee would be privileged to have you join their team. If you find yourself unexpectedly unemployed, I urge you to focus on what you have control over today. And then make a plan! Start with a simple outline.
Who is in your network? What companies inspire you? What skills have you sought to leverage, and now given the time, how would you do that? What impact have you driven in your career? Who have you not connected with lately?
Be patient. Don’t panic. Research. Strategize. Take measured action. You will immediately begin to see the bigger picture as the shock and myopia subside.
There are so many opportunities out there, waiting to meet you. Be prepared to lean in as they come. The world is indeed vast!