Jobs and Careers

On changing jobs

Yesterday I lost my job. I, along with 11 others from Habanero (many at Hab longer than I), were let go. You can read all about the reason and the outcomes if you want. It’s a first for me. In the past, career change has been either driven by me or by the merger, acquisition or sale […]

Yesterday I lost my job.

I, along with 11 others from Habanero (many at Hab longer than I), were let go. You can read all about the reason and the outcomes if you want. It’s a first for me. In the past, career change has been either driven by me or by the merger, acquisition or sale of companies I’ve worked for. Never money or economics.

Disappointed pretty much sums up how I feel right now. As many of you know I made a big change to join Habanero and moved my family from Vancouver to Calgary to work for the company. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I expected a better outcome.

But now the task of finding new work begins. And I have to be positive about the future.

What I wanted to talk about though in this post are some things to consider about your career and about creating a safety net so if you ever find yourself in this situation, you’ll land feet down and moving forward, not standing still wondering “what just hit me?”. Here’s my list:

Always keep your portfolio and resume up-to-date

Funny enough, I had just tweaked my resume a few weeks earlier – I usually keep it up-to-date with recent project work and had fallen behind. It can be hard after-the-fact to recall past work, successes and stories. One thing I did forget to do though was grab copies of my work (e.g. wireframes, sitemaps, workflows, strategy and planning, etc.). Not all employers are going to be supportive of giving you stuff after you’re gone. So be prepared. That way you can show what you’ve got when new opportunities arise.

Never doubt the power of family, friends and networks

They say that more people find jobs through who they know than anywhere else and that those who find work fastest have the support of many people. Family and friends are critical parts to your recovery.

Start with family. Tell them what happened. Let them help and be supportive. After I got home and cleared my head I first called Daria (my wife) to talk to her about the changes her first words were “we’ll be OK”. Immediately I felt better. As my friend Robbin said so wisely via email “the good news is that jobs are replaceable, and family, not quite so easily”.

Spread the word. Next, I updated Twitter, Facebook and sent out a few emails to key contacts. As the word spread people offered up ideas and suggestions on where to look, extended their contacts and networks to me and played a big role in keeping me positive on the first day (and the days following). It’s an amazing feeling to see so many supportive people pop-up and say “what can I do to help?” By the end of the day I had leads on some contract work, an interview booked and a potential gig to consider. Not bad for Day 1!

Get references. Seek out those who will be able to speak to you, your work and the outcomes. You’ll need these later when you find your next job. Doing it now will make it easier.

Reconnect with your network. All kinds of possibilities can fall out from a simple email or phone call to update on where you are at. Contacts from your past project work are also a great resource. Let them know what has happened, where you have landed so they can keep an ear out for new opportunities.

Don’t forget about the people you left. Drop them a note to say you’re OK and give them your new coordinates (email, phone, etc.) so they can keep in touch. Make arrangements to hook up again soon. Don’t just disappear!

Update your profile. We all have so many places where we say what we do. Be it Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, associations, your email signature, etc. Make sure you update these.

Consider all your options

Maybe you’ve been thinking about a different career direction, going solo, or have been thinking about exploring or expanding on some other areas in your skill set. Now is the time. Be frank about what you want to do, especially if you weren’t happy doing what you did before (not my case) and seek those opportunities out.

Plan for hard times, not just good times

Live practically, keep your debt in check, your savings robust and make sure you don’t over extend yourself. It makes it easier to ride out these changes and downturns when you aren’t under financial pressures too. Not every job end comes with a big buyout.

14 replies on “On changing jobs”

I still can`t believe it Scott! Our good friends over at your last gig said its hard to believe we let go of such a talented IA. You won`t be on the hunt long, that`s for sure. Great post!

Thanks Sherman. All is well in Whooville. I will keep in touch.

Thanks Tim. You will be missed. Say hi to those folks. They were great to work with.

Hi Scott. Great post. One key thing you have going for you is that you have an engaged network for times like now when you need it, and aren’t in a position where you now have to build it. Plus, lots of us will lend you whatever help we possibly can. You’re good people.

Warren Sukernek, known as TwitterMaven posted a great series of how he used social media in his job hunt. Here’s his final post which references most of the others…


Thanks William. Appreciate you taking the time to comment. Great link too.

Good read Scott.
It really helped me to know that I wasn’t alone, and found reading through your thoughts helpful in moving forward, thanks!
Best of luck to you and keep in touch!

Sorry to hear that, and best of luck in your job search! For sure, having a blog, being visible, spreading the word is very important (and you should definitely use LinkedIn too!)

I don’t know much about your former employer, but the PR starts with “reduce business costs by trimming expenditures”. Unless there’s something I don’t get, consulting is all about selling “brain juice”. Your employees are not expenditures, they are your most valuable assets! To be honest, the PR should have been around “we’ve been under pressure because of lower client demand”…

In anyway, my philosophy has long been to run my career as a company. You might want to check out my blog post at

Again, best of luck!

Hi Mitch,

Thanks for the comments. I’m glad you found the post helpful. I know for me, just writing it, responding to email about it and thinking through what’s next will keep me going forward. All the best in your search, let me know where you land when you do.

Thanks for the comment Stéphane. I love your post and looked at it just the other day. Some excellent points there.


Sorry to hear this news. This economy is hitting the best of them. I’ve sadly been on the other side, doing the laying off and it sucks all around. Best of luck with your search.

Hi Tim,

Thanks for the comment. Appreciate your kind words. Things should be OK. My strong network and positive remarks and support from folks, like yourself, go a long way and I’m hoping to land on my feet soon.

Hey Scott, Great post but sorry to hear the news. Can totally relate with the considering all your options stage. What do we want to be when we grow up? Seems to be ever changing.
Are you looking to stay in Calgary or would you consider moving back? I’ll keep my eyes open for you. All the best!

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