You'll Never Work in This Industry Again!

Early in my career (over 30 years ago, in fact), I remember a manager saying to me and my team, "I'll see to it that you will never work in this industry again."
He was a project manager, with a very large company, in charge of many vendors. I was with one of the vendors.
He had heard that a competitor had made a play to steal us. Talent poaching was indeed rampant at that time.
He was furious because he thought that he "owned" us.
"I'll destroy you," he added.
His words certainly sent a chill through me.
But I remember thinking, "What a cliched thing to say. What a jerk."
He thought he was king. He didn't scare me.
Looking back on this incident, his words were an empty threat. They probably came from his fear and insecurity.
This was the first time that I encountered what might be termed a "career killer." Career killers are points along your career journey where a serious disruption derails you.
A career killer can be another person who exerts their influence to stomp on you. Or a career killer can be a choice that you made that turns out to have unintended disastrous consequences.
I've encountered both kinds.
A client of mine told me of his career killer episode that combined both types. He did what he felt was the "right" (i.e. ethical) thing to do. But that decision made an enemy of another person in the organization...and led to job loss.
What have I learned from these "near career death" experiences?
One lesson is that career killers don't really kill you. Yes, you may lose your job. But you are still alive!
This lesson is vital: You have just been taught something very valuable about the resilience of the human spirit.
Another lesson is that there is life after a termination. When one door is slammed shut, other doors start to open.
When you find yourself unceremoniously dumped by an employer, look on the bright side. What they did really sucked, didn't it? They have actually done you a favor by setting you free.
Finally, try not to burn any bridges at a time like this, though you might be tempted out of anger. You never know what the future may hold.
I know of two people who recently hit their own career killers, only to be rehired by their former employers several months later.
Pick yourself up and take a deep breath. Open yourself to the energy. Feel the strength that comes from surviving this career killer.
Remember: As the old quote from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche goes: "That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” 

Terrence Seamon has survived several career killing episodes during his career. Follow him on twitter @tseamon

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