Thursday, February 24, 2011

Finding your next job

It's extremely important that you find a new job and fast. Sitting around the house days, weeks or even months on end is not healthy. I know, I did it for 6 months.

True, I was busy selling my house and moving into a new (cheaper) one. But the effect it had on my confidence and self-worth was not good, and it showed in the interviews. Apparently, interviewers aren't partial to insecure people. (Who would've guessed!?)

You should also keep in mind that progress is made in baby steps. Even if the new job isn't perfect (and it will never be)—but is close enough—you should take it. Get back out there, and into the "real" world outside the confines of the family business. Get back to creating your art. The effect it will have on your being is priceless.

After 6 months at home, I finally signed with a big international company. Though I took a serious cut in pay, I couldn't be happier: I'm joining a great workplace with great people, where I can heal, have fun and self-develop.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Seth Godin

I got hooked on Seth about a year ago. It started with Linchpin, and continued with Unleashing the Ideavirus, Tribes, The Dip. I couldn't get enough of Seth's down-to-earth, eye-level insight.

Seth has written over a dozen international best-selling books, and posts daily on his blog. He writes about business, marketing, leadership and life in general.

For me, Seth has been instrumental in shaping my post-family-business self, helping me visualize, and work towards, the future I want for myself and my family. Here's a post from a few days ago, that just nails it:

Make big plans
...that's the best way to make big things happen.
Write down your plans. Share them with trusted colleagues. Seek out team members and accomplices.
Shun the non-believers. They won't be easily convinced, but they can be ignored.

Is there any doubt that making big plans increases the chances that something great will happen?
Is there any doubt that we need your art and your contribution?
Why then, are you hesitating to make big plans?

If you haven't started on Seth yet, start with The Dip, a "mini" book that will help you get through—well—the dip you're in, then Linchpin that will teach you to be indispensable (and why it's so important nowadays).

...and Seth, if you happen to read this, THANK YOU!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Go gut!

Gut feelings are a force to be reckoned with. If you've read Blink (by Malcolm Gladwell) you know what I'm talking about.

Should you take that job? It may pay less money but something in you is telling you that you should take it;
Buy that house? It may not be the nicest on the block but it feels right;
Take that vacation? Expensive... but something tells you that you (and the family) really need it.

It's a feeling that drives the reaction, rather than a cold analysis of the facts. I've learnt lately that following that feeling pays off. Go on, listen to yourself.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Should I leave?

A lot of you (I am always amazed at how many leavers there are) ask me if they should leave the family business. Though I can't answer the question for you, I do my best to give guiding food-for-thought, mostly from my own experience.

If you are considering leaving the family business you should give the following some thought, weighing up if the price of freedom is something you are willing to pay:

  • What will happen to the relationship with your family?
    In my case it completely broke down. Once I told my dad that I decided to leave, everything—and I mean everything—was over. Animosity grew between us, pushing us and our families apart.

  • Do you have a new job?
    By this I mean: do you have a signed work contract with your new employer? I had a promise which was broken and I ended up on the breadline for 4 months till I found a new job. I'm not saying that you should find a job before you leave, but if you decide to leave before you've found something, make sure you plan for it.

  • Consider financial issues that may arise.
    Depending on how it goes with the two points above, you may end up on your own without the financial backing a family business may offer. Make sure your cash flow is planned down to the cent for the next few months, especially if severance pay is not made available to you and there is no job on the horizon. You should also give some thought to the fact that your future lifestyle may take a plunge with the possibility of a major salary reduction in your new job.

  • Is your wife/husband/partner behind you on this?
    You will be going through some very rough waters and it is important that your partner is there for you and strong enough to withstand. Financial worries add serious strain to your relationship and this should be in your thoughts.

  • What is the price of FREEDOM?
    My opinion? It's priceless! But then again, this is for you to decide for yourself.

If you decide to go for it, stay focused and confident (planning helps a lot with the latter). Freedom doesn't come cheap, but once you're there it tastes great!

Monday, February 7, 2011

So what's your dark passenger?

The "dark passenger" (don't you love Dexter?) is a subconscious presence that awakens every now and then requiring "feeding".

My dark passenger is self-worth, or lack of. Every now and then it pops into my conscious, and does its best to remind me of how unworthy I am. I could be sitting in a business meeting or drinking beer with my buddies when suddenly it just takes over. At its worst, I could find myself in the midst of an anxiety attack.

Self worth has always been an issue. I guess growing up with a demanding father who was never 100% pleased with whatever results I brought home is what did it.

But since leaving the family business, my passenger has been kept in check. Even when it does stick out its head I am capable of locking it away again. I'm not sweeping anything under the carpet, on the contrary. When it does show up, I acknowledge its presence and thank it for reminding me—by contrast—just how worthy I actually am.

It goes right back to sleep after this.