What have you learned from this recession?

Welcome to Format Free Fridays at AskDrDarcy.com, the one day a week when I break the format of answering your questions and I dispense that which we rarely welcome in life:  Unsolicited Advice.

Today I ask you a question:  What did you learn from this recession?  If your answer doesn't include a version of, "there's no such thing as job security," than I question if you learned anything.

The crash of 2007 slammed the ceiling down on corporate America like no other time since the Great Depression.  Just as that ceiling imploded, an unprecedented number of individuals were given the freedom to finally embark on the career of their dreams:  Owning their own businesses.

Over the past 3 ½ years, I’ve witnessed more people in my professional and personal life get laid off than I ever imagined possible.  As you might expect, I noticed a couple of trends in reaction to job loss:

I call Trend A the Question Nothing response.  In this response, the individual ignores the likelihood of being fired in the future and immediately begins job hunting, seeing reemployment as the only solution to their problem.

I call Trend B the Never Again response. In this response, the individual is determined to avoid the vulnerability of being at the mercy of an employer and instead chooses to take fully responsibility for career successes and failures by being self-employed.

Before we start picking sides, let’s examine the traditional trajectory to professional success:  Get into a great college.  Do exceptionally well.  Find a job.  Show unwavering loyalty to said employer.  Receive a good salary.  Retire.

Yet, every news organization has reported, at least of late, that employer loyalty is a thing of the past; worse, the employees who are at highest risk for being laid off are the senior employees who, by virtue of their experience, tend to be the highest earners (references listed below).

When times change, shouldn’t we change with them?  Looking back on the past 3-4 years, we’ve seen unimaginable change, the likes of which historically springboard societal paradigm shifts.  So at what point do we begin to question our formula for professional success?

In the throes of all the layoffs, I witnessed a remarkable phenomenon:  Some people were capitalizing on their misfortune and viewing it as an opportunity to become their own boss.   Clients often doubled up their session with me, sitting in my office brainstorming for weeks about their ideal business, developing a business plan and forming their business.

If the collective opinion is that the definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior while expecting a different response, doesn’t it bear questioning the logic behind Trend A?  If I were to tell you that I counted up the number of people who I know who were laid off and roughly 30% of those who jumped back on the corporate wagon did indeed get drop kicked from their second job, would you still see option A as the safer route?  And of those who aligned with Trend B?  The worst-case scenario is that a few people had to supplement their income with part-time employment.  After all, no one imagined that this recession would last 3+ years.

Even if you were one of the lucky ones who remained employed, you are likely changed, forever, by virtue of watching the layoff debacle.  So how are you going to make that change a positive one?  What are you going to do with this information so that this recession taught you something? I'd love to hear from you: Darcy@AskDrDarcy.com

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=7042634&page=1

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33298536/ns/business-careers/

http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/08/pf/laidoff_atfifty.moneymag/index.htm