Posted by: Audrey Erbes | May 21, 2009

May 25th Update on Industry Meetings and Special Note to Those In Transition

Another update so you don’t miss any great opportunities to learn, grow and build an effective and supportive network for your career. There’s a rush on to get in each and every organization’s meetings prior to holiday vacations so review thoroughly so you’re not shut out until September.  I’ve added a number of meetings to the June listings as well as updated others with more details. The Bio2Device Group has meeting Tuesday morning, May 26th on leadership and the registration for the June 9th evening meeting is now open.

A special note for many of you in transition, consider looking as the emotional side of your situation to ensure you are handling in healthful way the phases of “grief” at losing your last position and your associated community of coworkers and friends associated with your job, and even your sense of self identity.  It’s important you don’t go into an interview expressing your anger phase. I suggest phases related to employment loss might include: shock and disbelief and even denial; anger toward self and others; readjustment and acceptance with reaffirmation of your ability and personhood, even openness to new endeavors and paths you couldn’t pursue when you were in “jail” of last commitment instead of getting back on a “similar horse”; and finally readiness to move on and commit to new goals and possibly improved opportunities. Unfortunately, I couldn’t identify any sources for reading relating, specifically, to handling job loss other than Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s famous book Dealing with Death and Dying published in 1969. I found these phases were very helpful to me when I faced two major layoffs in my career. I want to assure you there is “life after your last company.”
You want to avoid getting caught up in dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors–depression and insomnia, regret, displacement of anger to family and friends, paralysis in moving on, “sleep walking” through life as you attempt to continue your former routine, etc. You need to deal with the situation before you can move on. You also want to avoid superficial healing of the “wound” that might rip open at any time later on and expose unhealed hurt you suffered.
Remember you are not in this alone. Get out and attend meetings where you can meet people who will mirror back your super qualities and understand the transition you are going through without seeming rejection. I highly recommend attending the free weekly Bio2Device Group meetings if you are in the Bay Area. This group originally was founded to help those in life science transition, after the dot com crash earlier this decade, which moved on to embrace broader mission of helping industry professionals continue to learn and grow their knowledge and skill base as well as meet understanding folks who will provide positive support and network contacts to help maintain a vibrant network for one’s entire career–not just when they face layoff or want to change jobs.
If you can financially afford to consider learning new skills in more depth, look at the myriad opportunities in our community for learning aimed at industry professionals. Some of you might want to consider a degree while others want to learn skills to transition into another career function that the UC Extensions offer through individual applied courses or certificate programs. Be sure that the course instructors have the experience to teach the subject of interest. Seek references from others–ask the universities to connect you with the instructors or former students so you can be sure your money is well spent. Always look to connect with programs that give you ongoing contacts that will build your network and provide more than passive learning of which you might only remember 10%. Be a smart consumer of higher education. Ask if the school is accredited and if instructors have been vetted for ability to teach adults.

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