Let's face it: Many times the ones who have been there the longest, making a lot of money, get the boot. Sometimes it's a surprise, but almost always, if you really look at your career the warning signs were there.
You can allow yourself a one-day pity-party, but work hard to quickly get past the feelings of betrayal, anger and resentment. Betrayal is the toughest one. Women have a tendency to "nurture in," to give 120 percent of themselves and to sacrifice their personal lives for their work lives. The toughest thing is when they are fired by the person to whom they have selflessly devoted their days, nights, weekends and often holidays. But once you realize it's not personal, it's business, you can move on, regain your self-esteem and get back to work.
So it's time to start consulting. You know what you're doing. You have years and years and way more than 10,000 hours of experience. You are an outlier.
Yes, even though you feel like a total failure, the truth is you're not. Before you know it, someone will hire you to do the very thing you've been doing successfully for all those years.
Here are 10 easy steps to help you get started:
Choose a name for your company.
Nothing too cute. Plain and simple. Register the domain name.
Get business cards with your name, email and cell phone.
Address is not necessary. No one needs to know if you working from your home or an office.
Find a good IT person, that is the one thing you will miss the most from your old life.
They should be local, available evenings, speak to you incredibly respectfully. If not, dump them immediately and find someone else.
Have your lawyer, incorporate your business.
He/she will help you out with all your questions and this should start to make you feel better about everything.
Send out an email with your new contact info.
No need to send to your whole database, just 50 business 'friends'.
Create a 'sig' (signature) on all your emails from your desktop, laptop, smartphone or blackberry.
This is important so people know how to easily reach you. It should have your name, email and cell.
Start making lunch dates and insist on paying.
There is no reason to fear you don't have enough money.
Now you have time. Someone said when you leave a job you either gain 20 or lose 20. They are right.
Clean your garage and all your closets.
Take anything you don't need and box it up (if throwing it away is too anxiety-causing). This process is very cathartic and psychologically is extremely important to your recovery.
Practice your "elevator pitch" on what you will be doing.
It should be quick and clearly articulate what your company does.
Now for the first time in your career you can choose how you spend your time during the day. Pick projects that really interest you. You don't have to work for crazy people anymore and the best part is, you, yourself are doing the work. As we go further up the corporate ladder, we oftentimes get further away from actually doing the work. We supervise others who do the work.
In the very beginning be fair about your rates. Especially until you get your "sea legs" and start turning down business. You can always charge more on the next project. And remember, because you are working for yourself, you are keeping more of what you earn, then when you worked for a company and at least half went to the government.
Consulting is 'the new black'. It's an exciting time as many of the 'best and brightest' are out there hanging their own shingles and working as hard as ever. Companies love consultants as they don't have to pay for health insurance, office space or other benefits. Consultants love it because they don't have to deal with politics, endless meetings and long commutes.
Second acts are nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, they just may be what you needed to restore your passions and enthusiasm in your daily life.
by Madelyn Hammond