THE BLOG

Remember, You are Not a Fire Sale

03/11/2013 04:43 pm ET | Updated May 11, 2013

"The pattern has become predictable," I share with my friend over lunch at Jacksons yesterday in Tyson's Corner McLean.

"But remember, you are still a Mercedes," I offered as he shared his job transition woes. Let me explain...

People come to me every day as they believe I am a recruiter (I actually have spent the past year building a social recruiting platform and enjoy connecting good people to job opportunities). I see friends weekly migrating to an active candidate status (26 percent of the workforce) or a passive job candidate (the 74 percent of the employed workforce that is open to opportunity).

When things begin to go south, the realization sets in that they might have to start looking. There is anger, shame, grief, shock. If it's not isolated to cash flow problems where one might lose their job, the story told is usually some version of:

1] I loved my company and had a really good relationship with the CEO who is a great guy/gal.

2] The company grew or doubled in size, he/she hired a group of senior management from top B-schools... and I report now to someone else.

3] My results are better than prior years but the leaders don't seem to care... don't treat people well and don't respond to most emails and sometimes even customers.

4] The CEO is off/out all the time and doesn't realize what's happening to their company (ivory tower). Why isn't he/she managing?

5] I don't feel valued/ appreciated anymore. They gave someone else the promotion. Doubts are setting in.

6] I have two options. Look for something else or could I have a heart to heart with the CEO, COO or CHRO?

Many people at this point go on and start applying for other jobs, hoping to get higher in the rungs of decision-making or to find a better culture. Some decide to start their own businesses so they can be free to call the shots and live their lives on their terms pledging not to make the same managerial mistakes.

Then financial realities set in. There is a mortgage to pay. There is the fear of being a 'fire sale.' Especially if the recruiters aren't breaking down the door.

I think people looking for their next job share a similarity to new or slightly used cars coming off the lots of the dealership. They are highly valued at the dealer. Customers drool over their awesome features. Yet when they leave that LOT of gainful employment, they fear their value declines. Some fear they will tumble and fear ending up at CarMax or sold on Craigslist for 60 percent of the blue book price.

Great cars hold their value pretty strongly. Newly minted candidates really want to rev their engines and land at a great new company.

Remember if you are looking, you are not a fire sale, hold your value, understand it takes sometime to find the right fit where you can end up driving 40, 80, 120 mph on the next stretch of your journey... and isn't that what cars are made for?

One friend who was let go reported that she recently moved on and her salary more than doubled in her new job. I shared my car analogy. "Well then, you are looking at a new Mercedes Julie, a new Mercedes with leather seats and a Bose stereo system," she said with a fresh glimmer in her eyes.