So, You Were Downsized

You Are More Than Your Job Title

The work environment has changed. Job expectations have changed. Life outside of your career has changed. And, now, your position is being eliminated. Yes, eliminated. But how could that be? You’ve worked here for 15, 20, or even 30-plus years.

What are you to do?

When clients come to me with the scenario above, I go from being a career coach to being a career counselor. Being downsized is an emotional and, sometimes, traumatic life event. It not only affects your livelihood, it also affects how you feel as a person.

And this is where I come in: I get the awesome opportunity to work with the best of the best. I work with clients to uncover their awesomeness and help them create new careers, whether it’s pursuing something they’ve always wanted to do — like open a business — or go into a completely different field.

I enjoy helping my clients rebuild their confidence, showing them they are more than their titles, their jobs, and their companies.

So if you find yourself in this position, remember: You may have lost a job, but you OWN your skills, talents, and abilities. No one can take them away from you. You can thank your former employer for helping you hone your skills, talents, and abilities, all the while getting get paid to do it.

Sounds good! But what’s next?

Follow these seven steps to get back on your feet and start on a new path:

  1. Do a brain dump. This is an exercise where you take 10-15 minutes to list all the skills, talents, and abilities you have. Keep writing until you have exhausted every thought. Once done, add to the list with what others have told you over the years.
  2. Scale down the list. Circle the items that bring joy and/or excite you. Cross off the items that do not resonate with you as much.
  3. Look for patterns. Determine if any of the items on the list can align with a job description you want. Can you use your skills as a freelancer or open a business? Do you have knowledge you can share as a consultant? Ask yourself these questions and write your answer. You will begin to see the possibilities.
  4. Make a plan. If you are like most of my clients, all the possibilities are exciting. But, now, it’s time to focus on one or a few. Start by listing the possibilities (or opportunities) with the most potential. List them by number. With your number one choice, create a plan on how you will realize that possibility.
  5. Get help to make your plan a reality. You can invest in a coach to help if funds are available. If not, take baby steps and research “how to” for the area you chose as your top choice.
  6. Implement your plan. If you don’t take the final step to implement, you will remain where you are. Take the leap. Try it. You are not married to it. Give it an honest try. If it doesn’t work, go to your next choice.
  7. Celebrate you. Why? Because you are awesome! Know it. Believe it. Own it!

You are so much more than your job title. If you are not ready to throw in the towel, get busy and discover your next adventure. When you do, drop me a line — I’d love to hear all about it!


Nickquolette Barrett

Nickquolette Barrett is a career development strategist, author, and speaker with expertise in resume writing, interview prep, LinkedIn branding, and career development & strategy. She worked in corporate America since 1991, with 19 years in leadership, and discovered her talent in helping others land their dream job and achieve success. She launched iRock Development Solutions, LLC, (dba She holds the CCTC, CPRW, CEIP, and NCOPE career industry certifications and has authored two books, You’re Hired—10 Tips to Rock Out Your Resume and Land your Dream Job. Nickquolette is married and has an adult son, a college-age daughter, and a Shih-poo named BamBam.

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