At the time I am clearly not seeing this as a “blessing in disguise”, and like most people experiencing redundancy I went through the typical 5 stages of grief. However, I surprised myself how quickly I came to terms with it and immediately started to build a very specific plan for my days, and the coming weeks and months. There were things I had been putting off doing for months that I now had time to do, both in terms of professionally and personally. I was able to spend more time with my young family. I was able to exercise with more frequency and structure. Yes, I wouldn’t have chosen this scenario, but it was an opportunity and one that I was keen to make the most of.
So, what did I do? What did I learn? What advice would I pass on to anyone else experiencing this?
Networking – Networking and doing it well is critical in your search for a new role. A month or so before being made redundant I sat at a Gainsight networking event in London hosted by Dan Steinman and sat at a table with some great Customer Success leaders. On that table were two people that latterly became significant in my search for a new role. One, was a recently promoted Global VP of Customer Success who was looking for an EMEA VP reporting into him and although I went deep into the interview process I lost out at the final stage. Two, was a gentleman called Adrian Beck who was responsible at the time for building the Customer Success function and team at Tanium. Adrian, has since become a trusted member of my Customer Success network and not just because he introduced me to SAP that resulted in my new role that started in January 2018. The moral of this story, is to continuously take the opportunity to extend your network and learn from your peers. This was not the only event I attended after my redundancy with a number of regional Customer Success networking events plus Gainsight’s Pulse Europe where I took the opportunity to speak and host events. Clearly, without that initial chance meeting with Adrian I would not have found my new role.
Social Media – LinkedIn has always been one of my preferred social media platforms and in the search for a new role it becomes invaluable. Yes, it provides job search functionality, but it should be seen as so much more. It gives you a platform to communicate to the world that you are actively looking for a new role, it gives you a platform to discuss and debate with peers, it gives you a platform to write posts like this one sharing your knowledge and opinions. Use your time out of work to build your social media presence, connect with ex-colleagues or industry peers, interact with industry thought-leaders and to have a voice.
In terms of other social media platforms, I made the choice several years ago to have a separate “professional” twitter account and I also use this to interact with colleagues, peers, customers, thought-leaders and more.
Website/Blog – If you utilise LinkedIn for sharing your knowledge and opinions then the next step may be to create your own website or blog. Over the time of being out of work I decided it was the time to transition my blog from the WordPress platform to a full website courtesy of Weebly. With a long-term career objective to look at providing a customer success consulting offering I felt this was a great opportunity to start “sowing the seeds” for this. Hence the website was created with content provided in both written and audio formats. I transitioned my blog posts over and launched my #CustomerSuccessMatters LIVE! podcasts (which is now up to five episodes strong, with a total of ten guests).
Training – Training does not have to be something that costs several hundred pounds, there is plenty of training available if you know where to look that is free of charge. I would suggest start by looking at what LinkedIn has available. During my time out of work I learnt about topics ranging from SaaS finance to storytelling, to customer experience to leadership. There is a wide range of content available and with a little bit of thought and research you can build an extensive training program for yourself.
So while I did “a lot”, I also knew that this was a chance to bring some perspective to my life and regain some balance that arguably had been lost over recent years as I placed work before most other things in my life.
While the above was all done with the aim of making me more attractive to future employers, there was a number of other things I took on and did that was done with the wider aim of bringing calm, reason and balance to my life, including:
As I have alluded to, I am now back in work with a great role at a great company and I can look back at this setback in my career positively and a time that I learnt a lot, both professionally and personally. I hope that this helps any of you that find yourself in this position either now or in the future.
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Matt Myszkowski - experienced Customer Success leader & founder of CustomerSuccessMatters