Linda Nash

Linda Nash

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There is Gold after Pink Slips

Ned sat facing me. His incessant foot jiggling betrayed the fear and anxiety his dressed for success suit and tie and designer briefcase attempted to cover. Until today he had been a highly paid, successful executive. Now at 52, not ready to retire, he had been eliminated. "Thrown out like yesterday's garbage," he said.

Ned was angry, hurt, and frightened. This wasn't the script for his life. He had responsibilities. Early retirement wasn't an option.

With a few adjustments, I have heard his story repeated a thousand times. Downsizings, reorganizations, mergers and closures have devastated those clinging to the corporate ladder, expecting the gold watch and sunny beaches. If this scenario hasn't yet affected you or a friend, it will.

There is gold at the end of this story. But it's not a watch. As I worked with individuals through these traumatic changes, patterns began to emerge. I could accurately predict how long people stayed stuck in victim mentality, how quickly they would move and how successful they would be. Ultimately, I had the markers for resilience and developed it into a tool called the Bounce Back Quotient™ or BBQ.

Out of the 52 items in the BBQ, here are three to consider. Give yourself 1-5 points based on your level of agreement with each statement, 1 being almost none and 5 being the highest.

  1. When my life or work isn't going in the direction I want, I take responsibility and get busy making a plan for change.
  2. I always read the "handwriting on the wall," decide what to do, and take action.
  3. I develop and maintain mutually beneficial relationships in my work and life.

If your total score is less than 12, begin making changes today.

Responsibility is key to moving forward. Anger and blaming keep you stuck. Maybe you don't deserve this. You can blame your manager, the economy, foreign trade, or your high school English teacher, but it won't matter. It's over. Feeling like a victim is easy. We all do it. Long term, you and your family will be miserable and finding that next job will be difficult.

To the extent you stop blaming, let go of what you can't control and take responsibility for yourself and your future, you will reduce your stress and empower yourself. Choice not change determines destiny.

Do these three things to insure your success.

1. Update your resume annually. You should have new achievements to add. If not, why not? What value are you providing to your organization? In case the pink slip comes, a current resume will put you ahead of the curve. Never be blind sided.

2. Network, network, network. You may already have an excellent network of professional colleagues and supportive friends. Congratulations. If not, begin. Attend meetings of professional associations or organizations related to your field. Get to know people. Don't wait until you need them to develop relationships. Help others when you're able and understand that most people are willing to help you if the request is reasonable. Seventy five percent of jobs are found through networking.

Make a list of the people you know and how they might help. Don't ask people for a job. If you do, the answer is either yes or no, mostly no. Don't put them on the spot. Instead, ask for advice, information, or resources. If a job is there and you are qualified, you'll hear about it.

3. Prepare for interviews. Focus on the hiring manager and the company. What can you do for them - what do you bring to the table that is special? Answer all the tough questions for yourself before interviewing. Never, never, say anything bad about your previous company or manager. Never apologize for your age, educational level or background. Focus on the positives. Answer the question, "What can you do for us?"

Get past any anger first. If you're angry it will show no matter how much you smile and mouth positive words. You will blow the interviews.

Concerned about your age? If you are, they will be. That goes for anything else. Sex, race, weight, disabled. If you excel at what you do, you have kept current in your field, and you believe in yourself, you can land another good job. Conversely, if you're living in fear and uncertainty, or haven't kept your skills updated, you will have trouble.

Oh, and Ned? After working through his anger and anxiety, he realized that what he wanted was a job with less stress and less travel. He assessed his skills, targeted specific companies, utilized his considerable network and landed a job even better than the previous one. The pay wasn't greater but the rewards were. He has since moved up, has more time with his family, and is definitely in charge of his life. He’s even working on another degree because he wants to teach in his "old age," whatever that means.

Plan for your own gold. Take control. Take responsibility. It’s your life, live it to the fullest.

To take a free mini BBQ test go to this webpage.

Her book, The Bounce Back Quotient is available at her website or through on-line booksellers.

©Linda Nash
Linda Nash is a nationally recognized consultant, speaker and author in the areas of change and resilience. To receive her free E-zine Bouncing Back go to  To contact Linda call
314.872.8787 or e-mail

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Copyright 2000 by Linda Nash. All rights reserved. You may not reproduce this material without explicit prior written permission.