I was laid off four times in my career. It was the threat of a fifth firing that made me take ownership of my career once and for all. Which, in turn, led me to start a business.
Many of you can relate to the pain and promise that comes with leaving a job. In my book “The Power of Ownership,” I recount how each time I was let go from a job, I went on to work for someone bigger and better. Someone new to pay me and take care of me. I thought that if I had a job, did okay, and was liked, that “they” would keep giving me more responsibility and money, enough to retire.
So, that’s how it was for years. With every new job, I worked harder to exceed expectations of my clients and those around me. I kept challenging myself to be better, to be the best, at what I did. My responsibilities grew and I busted my butt to always do better than was expected.
Still, I worked for someone else. They made the decisions about my future, not me. In 1996, I was the executive vice president at Shandwick-Detroit, formerly Casey Communications. You’d think as some high-ranking VP, my seniority would protect me, like tenure does for a professor. It didn’t. It never does. Like every place before, I was this hard working dude, very successful at my job and I knew I was invaluable to the company. Sure enough, I was not in my employer’s future plans. I decided not to be let go. Not this time, and certainly not a fifth time.
Careful, considerate planning and some well-placed phone calls came into play, as I recount in chapter eleven of the book. I resigned from Shandwick-Detroit, hung out my own shingle, and called it John Bailey & Associates Public Relations. Now my ownership was complete. I owned my career and a business. Within two years, my new company was larger than the one that was not going to promote me. (Shandwick-Detroit was shut down in 2000. It wasn’t so much vindication as it was validation that I absolutely made the right decision.)
You can see the details of this career-path in my book, The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business (paperback or Kindle). You can learn the things I learned that will help you avoid other people making decisions about your future. Even if people like you and you work hard, you may face being let go or other job circumstances out of your control. Don’t let that happen. Take control of the situation, and ownership of your career and yourself.