Whether you’re on the receiving end of these words, or you’re the individual to say them to a team member, it’s a position we’d hope to not find ourselves in. In my own personal experience, several years ago I was let go from a start-up and I quickly learned layoffs can be inevitable, whether an organization is involved in an acquisition or leadership makes the decision to shift business strategies. As a result, having a proactive approach to your career can be of great help should you find yourself in a position of losing your job. During the March 25th #CMGRHangout, Sherrie Rohde and Jonathan Brewer were joined by panelists Stuart Bankey and Josh Simmons to discuss the various actions community managers can take to shape one’s career path.
There were many tips shared by the panel, and below are a few proactive steps which can be applied at any point during one’s community career.
- Prove your value early on and often. Depending on your organization, community management may be essential to the business, or it could be a “nice to have” add-on. Regardless, helping to tie your contributions back to business objectives is an effective step in showing leadership the value you/your team bring to the organization. In addition, expanding your skillset and volunteering for projects can be another step toward highlighting your value, as well as initiative. Personally, I enjoyed Jonathan’s comment about community managers being lifelong learners and in many cases, a “Jack of all trades”. When you’re not confined to a single role or responsibility, displaying initiative can potentially create an opportunity for discussions around departmental transitioning as opposed to losing one’s job altogether.
- Keep an eye out for opportunities. The best time to look for a job is when you’re not actively looking. Sherrie shared her own experience and highlighted that not only is the process less stressful, but it also provides valuable opportunities to practice your applying and interviewing skills. As for resources available to community managers looking to make a career transition, some of the panel’s favorites include:
- Network with other community managers. Engaging in professional networking can provide limitless value to one’s career, whether via online groups, local meet-ups, or industry conferences. Plus, it’s always fun to “geek out” with other like-minded individuals. This can be especially true for organizations which may only have one dedicated community manager. Developing connections and relationships with other community professionals can provide expert insight as well as mentoring opportunities. A recap of the panel’s favorite networking resources include:
Experiencing a lay-off can be an emotional rollercoaster, and for many community managers, it’s easy to eat, sleep, and breathe one’s job responsibilities. As a result, losing one’s job without warning, as Josh did, can be blindsiding. So how does one work through such an experience? Josh shared that time spent with friends and family was important. Additionally, self-care and allowing time to regain perspective was also valuable.
Another topic discussed is how to best support someone we may (or may not know) who lost their job. Offering job opportunities can certainly be helpful, but consider simply being there for the individual, whether to be a listening ear or to provide moral support.
It goes without saying that as community managers, we’re all in this together, and in the situation of job loss, this is especially true.
Interested in learning more about navigating your community career? Click below to watch the #CMGRHangout recap.
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