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I Just Got Laid Off – Part 1

work This is the start of a three-part series on what to do if you get laid off. On the show today, we discuss what to do today before you leave the building. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll discuss Part 2 – what to do in the next couple of days and then move to Part 3: moving on – going for your next job. So please check back in!

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Getting laid off is one of the most stressful events anyone goes through. So before we get into details, take a deep breath. You can expect to feel a whole range of emotions, even if you weren’t completely surprised. It’s a grieving process. Psychologists have identified five stages that we go through when we lose something or someone:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

These stages don’t necessarily happen in sequence. You may feel more than one at the same time. You may jump around. You will feel it how you feel it. What’s important is to understand what’s going on within you. It’s only natural.

Your job may have been taken from you, but your talents haven’t been

Your unique skills are still yours. You still have that great personality. You’re still an incredible person. And you know it!

With that mindset, and knowing that you will bounce back, here are some things to do, and things not to do, before you leave the building today.

Don’t burn bridges

Life is funny. Things change quickly. If you show class, it will be remembered. So filter what you say.

There may be a temptation to lash out. Resist that urge, because nothing good can come from it. Sure, you may feel better at the moment, but that feeling will quickly fade into regret. It’s much better to conduct yourself very professionally.

COBRA

You will have to decide whether or not to extend your health insurance with the company. But you have 60 days to make this decision so don’t make it today. Talk to two or three insurance brokers who sell individual insurance. In almost all cases, you will find that you can get similar coverage for less money.

If you have one or more pre-existing conditions, it might make sense to sign up through COBRA. But first, check out comparable policies with several insurance brokers and get their advice.

Your 401(k)

Here’s another decision you don’t have to make today. In fact, there really isn’t much of a time limit on making this decision. A lot of people still have money in an account through an employer they haven’t worked for in seven years!

Resist the urge to cash out. You may feel stressed about money. We’ll talk about that more in an upcoming show. The Wall Street Journal reported that 40% of workers in their 20s and 30s cashed out their 401(k) when they changed jobs. As we discussed this on a previous Bigg Success Show, this may be a costly decision.

Before you decide what to do with your 401(k), you’ll want to investigate your options. Find a plan that offers the right combination of options and low fees. One thing you should find out, when the subject of your 401(k) comes up, is if there are any exit fees. This will be useful in your decision making process.

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Your final paycheck

If you get your final check today, be sure to verify everything. For example:

  • Were you paid the correct amount for the time you’ve worked since your last check?
  • Did you get the severance pay that you should have?
  • Were you paid for the vacation days you haven’t used?
  • Is everything in accordance with your agreement with your employer?

Other issues

You may be asked to sign releases and other documents. You don’t have to sign anything right away. Read the documents carefully. If you don’t understand something, ask. If you’re not satisfied with the answer, seek professional guidance from an attorney if need be.

Reach out

Finally, if you can muster the emotional strength, reach out to the people you worked with. Make sure you have their contact information. You never know when it might come in handy.

Thanks for reading our post today. We hope you’ll check in again tomorrow. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Related posts

I Just Got Laid Off – Part 2

I Just Got Laid Off – Part 3

The Greatest Miracle In The World

What Makes a Hero a Hero?

Coping With Life Change

(Image in today's post by hisks)

2 Tips for More Effective Project Status Reports

pm411_logo We visited with Ron Holohan today on The Bigg Success Show. Ron is a Certified Project Management Professional and is currently the Director of Program Management at Shure in Chicago. Ron also hosts a weekly project management internet radio show called The pm411.org Project Management Podcast, which has consistently been one of the top four project management shows on iTunes.

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marylynn We all know that project management can be a stickler. So we asked Ron to share two tips with us to create more effective project status reports.

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ronThe first tip is to focus only on the exceptions. What I mean by that is that you don’t want to throw everything in the kitchen sink into your status reports. No one wants to read all that. They want to be able to look at your status report and pull out just the information they need. So focus on the exceptions – those issues that have changed since your previous report. Your audience only gets the information they need so your status report is short and concise.

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georgeI think that’s a bigg one. It seems that you often see status reports that look like a “mind dump.” You see all the activity that’s happened since the last report. You get bored with it so you’re not able to help them. might call it stubborn.

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ronThat’s right. If someone wants to go back, they can always look at one of your previous reports for more information.

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marylynn Cut the fat … get to the meat. What’s another tip?

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ronAnother tip is to make your report as easy as possible to read. This is the same kind of ideas as Tip #1. You want to allow your audience to easily scan for details that interest them the most. One way to do that is by using something called “Stoplight Reporting” – you communicate progress by using different colors. A bullet point in green may mean this item is going according to plan. Yellow means that particular item needs to be watched. Red means action is required because that item is starting to go off track. You can actually use blue as well to indicate that particular item has been resolved or completed.

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marylynn Can you put a “Don’t Walk” in there?

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ronThat would be nice! Use short bullet points. You don’t want to write a paragraph; this isn’t going to win you a Pulitzer Prize. You’re just trying to convey simple facts to your audience. Also, use tables where you can. They’re great for listing things like milestones, budget information, or product material cost.

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georgeWhat’s interesting about this to me is that some people are good with words or numbers, but other people are very visual. So you’re giving your report in a way that allows your audience to consume it the way they prefer.

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marylynn I prefer stick figures!

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georgeIt’s a great system that you’ve outlined with the different colors. You instantly can see what’s going on. Now I assume what you talk about are the “yellows” and the “reds”.

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ronThat’s right. So if I was reading the report, my eyes would naturally look for those yellow and red bullets that need my attention the most.

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Ron’s freebie!
Ron has a free status report template available for you, complete with a Stoplight along with other great templates.

Thanks Ron for sharing your fantastic tips with us!

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Build Your Brand By Promoting Others

helping_handsWe started Bigg Success about eight months ago. In that time, we’ve met some incredible people – listeners of our show, readers of our blog, and colleagues at conferences. One of the most amazing people we’ve met is Liz Strauss.

She’s known as the “queen of blogging.” She’s also the queen of conversation – her blog has more comments than just about any other blog. She’s also an SOB – her label for Successful and Outstanding Blog!

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A one-of-a-kind show that’s an incredible resource

Liz recently held a Blog Fair. Think of an auto show, where you have all these cool cars lined up. Liz decided to do this with blogs, allowing other people to promote their sites on her site.

It’s now a great resource for you online. Check out 260 blogs on one page. While you’re there, check out Bigg Success … we’re Entry 114. We learned about a lot of great sites that we didn’t know about before. 

Benefit by promoting others

Liz’s creativity got us thinking about the benefit of promoting others. It shows your customers that you care about more than money. georgeBefore I sold my other service businesses, we encouraged our customers to call us first, no matter what their problem was. In many cases, we didn’t perform the service they needed. However, they really appreciated that we helped them find someone good. It paid off in the long term.

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marylynn Here at Bigg Success, we try to do the same thing. We seek out professionals who are experts in their field. We invite them to be on our show to share insight and advice with you that we couldn’t do alone.

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We try to find people who know more than we do … and that’s not hard to do! Seriously, they may have a deeper understanding of a subject or know something peripheral to it.

The point is – when you promote others, you also promote yourself because you’re the hub.

Benefit by promoting with others

Sometimes the people you promote are your competition, but that can pay off too. There’s a concept that’s been practiced for years, but not really talked about openly. It’s been given the name “coopetition”.

Not long ago, we spoke with a man who owns a restaurant. In our town, we have a campus area with about 40,000 or so students. We also have a downtown with a vibrant nightlife. His restaurant sits in a little cluster of restaurants in between the two areas.

He couldn’t afford to advertise in the college newspaper. But what he could do is band together with his fellow restaurateurs and advertise their restaurants as a group. They promote bringing your date to one of their restaurants on the way to going downtown to enjoy the nightlife.

Suddenly, he saw a way to reach a whole new market – a market that was unattainable on his own. So sometimes the best way to build your brand is by promoting with others. 

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Related posts 

If You Want to Increase Your Profit, Don’t Put Your Customers First.

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Rich Dad, Wise Son

By Bigg Success Staff
01-31-08

Timeless Principles

eyes_of_a_child_jpgHere’s a great story about a rich dad who wants to show his son the difference between rich people and poor people. But, in the end, it’s the rich dad who learns the lesson!

One of our Bigg Success Weekly subscribers sent this story our way. Bigg thanks, Richard!

With a little research, we believe this story is by Gradly. We send him a bigg round of applause!

Through the eyes of a child
“One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, ‘How was the trip?’

’It was great, Dad.’

‘Did you see how poor people live,’ the father asked.

‘Oh yeah,’ said the son.

‘So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip,’ asked the father.

The son answered:
‘I saw that we have one dog and they had four.’

‘We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.’

’We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.’

‘Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.’

‘We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.’

‘We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.’

‘We buy our food, but they grow theirs.’

‘We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.’

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, ‘Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.’”

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We develop our point-of-view from our experiences. Obviously, we want to learn from our experiences, but we need to be careful not to take away the wrong lessons.

Try looking at the world through the eyes of a child. Look at things as if you were seeing them for the first time. Be innocent again.

You just might like what you see and be more grateful for what you already have! That’s what the wise son taught his rich dad.

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See more Timeless Principles

John Wooden’s Pyramid Of Success

W.Clement Stone’s Success System

Relationship Building Blocks

Life Goes On

Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues

The Face In The Glass

How To Get Rich

Frank Bettger’s Thirteen Secrets To Success In Sales

How To Succeed The George Costanza Way 

(Image by jenn_jenn, CC 2.0)

Use Your Strengths To Balance Your Life

By Bigg Success Staff
01-23-08

Work-Life Balance

man_balances_bicycle_on_head

Like most professionals, you probably feel pulled almost constantly. Work demands spill over to home and vice versa. You often feel pulled in several directions at once. You try to sort things out by priority, but what do you do when everything is a high priority?

There’s a great article at the Business Week site called Custom Building a Life.
Jeff Weinstein tells his story to Nick Leiber. We give a “bigg salute” to them both! We’ll give you a summary here, but you should definitely read the article.

Jeff started The Counter, a restaurant that serves custom-made burgers at a great price, in 2003. He mentions three goals for his business at that time:

  • To earn a good income
  • To satisfy his customers by serving quality food at an affordable price.
  • To have a place to have dinner with his wife

Things didn’t turn out the way Jeff planned – they turned out much better!

He attracted attention because customers loved his place so much. Soon he started franchising. Last year, sales topped the $3.5 million mark from his seven stores. Now with 125 more stores on the table, he projects $9 million in revenue this year!

Obviously, Jeff is still focused on his growing business. However, he also wants a satisfying life outside his career. That desire is not unique. It’s HOW he’s trying to fulfill it that’s interesting.

He gives his customers what they want, when they want it. Why couldn’t he apply that to his life?

He wouldn’t segment his life anymore; that was a recipe for failure.

Instead he would flow like soda from one area of his life to the other. His wife may say something that helps him at work. His co-workers may give him insight for things at home. He would pay attention to all the important people and priorities in his life all the time!

What about your work? Is there something that works in your professional life that you can use to balance your world? Your solution may be different than Jeff’s. He’s doing what he understands … what works for him.

That’s the real lesson – use YOUR strengths to find the balance you desire.
Share your solution with us! Leave a comment below.

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Related posts:

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part 1)

Too Much To Do? Take A Nap! 

Don't Worry! Be Happy…And Healthy

The Magical Word That Helps Balance Your Life 

Finding Balance At Work

The Home Stretch  

The Work Life Teeter-Totter

(Image by mushroom and rooster, CC 2.0)

Is It Time For You To Rock And Roll? Signs That You Need To Change Careers

By Bigg Success Staff
01-10-08

Life Changes

rock_roll_jpgPicture this – you wake up. As you begin to gain consciousness, you realize that it’s Monday morning. The weekend is over. Another week has begun. How do you feel?

This Monday morning test tells you a lot. It’s your intuition talking to you. If you’re excited about the week ahead, you’re in the right job. If you’re dreading the week ahead, you may need to think about a change. The question is:

Do you need to change your JOB or do you need to change your CAREER?

Will changing your job change how you feel on Monday morning? If that’s the case, things are much simpler. Just find a new job!

If changing jobs won’t change your outlook on Monday, it may be time for a career change. Here’s how to know how urgently you need to rock and roll.

3 signs that you should change your career NOW

  • Anxiety
  • Pat Benatar got it right: “Anxiety spoils all the fun.” Stress takes a toll – professionally and personally. Your health is more important than your career. When your career starts affecting your health, it’s time to rock and roll!

  • Burn, baby, burn
  • You’re burned out – tired of being tired. Frustrated day-to-day. When you’re dissatisfied, and beyond, it’s time to look for “a promise somewhere”, as The Trammps said. Rock and roll!

  • The thrill is gone
  • You’re a victim of your own success. You’ve gone as far as you can in your career. You don’t see any new challenges on the horizon to keep your fire burning. When “the thrill is gone”, as B.B. King said, it’s time to end the blues!

3 reasons to change careers SOON

  • Takin’ care of business
  • Industries mature. Strategies change. Outside forces prevail. You may be in a bad business. If it’s your whole industry and not just your employer, you may need to change careers. You’ll be “takin’ care of business” as Bachman – Turner Overdrive proclaimed, if you rock and roll! Maybe you should be self-employed!

  • Cool change
  • When you started your career, your personal situation was different than it is now. You’ve had a “cool change,” as The Little River Band called it. For example, maybe you were single then. Now, you have a family for which you need and want more time. Change your career so you can “breathe the air.”

  • Money, money, money, money
  • We’re “talkin’ ‘bout cash money,” as the O’Jays said. Perhaps you have reached an earnings plateau. If you change careers, you can get a significant boost in pay. This is last on our list, because being happy and getting paid more are not necessarily correlated. If you think they are for you, then rock and roll, baby!

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(Image of Rock_Roll by krautwald, CC 2.0)

Cozi Calendar

By Bigg Success Staff
12-20-07 

Leading Edge Application

cozi_calendar_screenshot

Cozi Calendar

We love applications that save you time, and this one is perfect for the busy professional with a family. Cozi Calendar is a calendar and so much more.

The easy set-up allows you to assign each family member with their own tab color. You can even message everyone in the family from a computer, a PDA, or a mobile phone. Other features include the ability to put your shopping list online, sync up with Outlook, and personalize your calendar page with family pictures.

Cozi was created by a group of Microsoft veterans with a vision of creating technology that would address the needs of the busy family. We think they’ve done an outstanding job!

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More Leading – Edge Applications

Kindle

Qipit

Hassle Me

nCleaner  

Hot Careers For 2008

By Bigg Success Staff
December 14, 2007

Life Changes

career_steps

Considering a career change?
Subscribe to the FREE Bigg Success Weekly newsletter to help you plan it and inspire you to go for it. Sign up now and get the Bigg Goal-Setters Workbook. It’s FREE, too!
Subscribe to The Bigg Success blog to get your mojo going. Published every weekday, you’ll come away with a bigg tip or two, and maybe even a bigg laugh!

For a clue about the best jobs in 2008, look at what’s been newsworthy this year. So says Sarah E. Needleman, writing for the Wall Street Journal Online. She delves into this subject in her excellent article What the Major Headlines in 2007 Say About Next Year’s Job Market.

We’ll give you a summary here, but you should check out her full article for the details.

Rising gas prices means opportunities in alternative-energy. This field is so new that there are few players with direct experience. In other words, the door is wide open! With business exploding, these companies need professionals in all specialties.

The internet continues to create opportunities. More people access the internet through a mobile device. Social networking and user-generated content sites are proliferating. But there is a dearth of web developers skilled in developing applications for these technologies. Marketers who can plan and develop campaigns within a social network will also be in demand. Finally, sales pros are in demand for both online and mobile advertising.

The mortgage fallout is creating opportunities for specialists in risk-management at financial services companies. If you’re skilled at assessing credit risk, market risk, or operational risk, you’ll find ample opportunities. You’ll also see openings for quantitative finance professionals as well as compliance professionals.

Finally, the outbreak of problems with pet food and toys has led to new opportunities for professionals in supply chain management. Sourcing managers, who develop and maintain relationships with suppliers overseas, are expected to be in high demand. And retailers are hiring more quality control specialists.

You may not be interested in any of these fields. But you can learn a lesson from this list anyway. Here’s the lesson:

Change creates opportunities.

It’s interesting that three out of four of these fields involve negative events. You can turn a negative into your positive.  Look for change and you’ll find opportunity. It’s there – you just have to find it, prepare for it, and do it!

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Related Links:
Hot Businesses For 2008
10 Signs That You Are Ready To Quit Your Job And Start A Business
Test Yourself: The Princeton Review Career Quiz