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starting over

Starting Over. Tips For Meetings Industry Professionals Looking to Redefine Their Career

One of the most poignant sites these days is a little green half-circle that encompasses one’s LinkedIn profile picture.  The green half-circle reads #OpenToWork.


In other words, one has been furloughed (and after 6 months, still has not returned….) or permanently laid off from their position.

There are a number of industries using the #OpenToWork circle, but none harder hit than those in meetings, events and hospitality.

I too could display #OpenToWork, and perhaps I should display the circle, which brings me to this post.

If you are #OpenToWork, you are also open to a number of other activities that can help feed your mind, feed your soul and help you through this time of transition:

Allow yourself the time to grieve.  This one is easier said than done, and I’m no exception.  Its hard to take the time to grieve, especially if you’ve subscribed to the “productive mindset” where you’re trying to make the most out of this time.  All go go go, and little time to reflect can lead to burn out and unresolved anger.  Allow yourself the time to be mad, be sad and just…. BE!!  Taking this time may be the healthiest choice you make this week.

Once you’ve allowed yourself that time to grieve, it may be time to look ahead and create a better future.  Here are some things that may help you in moving forward:

  1. Treat YOURSELF like a full-time job – Consider yourself to be a full-time job – be it doing all the things I outline below, or taking the self-care time you need.  While it may be tempting to give of yourself to others since there’s no job to go to, giving too much of yourself away leaves little for you to discover who you are and who you want to become.
  2. Take stock.  We all have strengths, talents and passions.  This is the best time to rediscover what those traits are!  Be it a personality inventory, CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder 2.0), Myers Briggs assessments like 16personalities.com, or a simple catalog of all the things that light you up, taking stock allows you to discover new paths of joy.
  3. Find a mentor – finding someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of can help you see more clearly. In fact, it can even be someone that mentors en mass, someone that you admire like Rachel Hollis, Brene Brown or Gary Vee.  Whether in real life, or online, a mentor can help you see what you may be missing through your f0g-coloured glasses.
  4. Virtual networking – stay connected with friends, mentors and colleagues with regular virtual check-ins.  Connect with your tribe on a regular basis; their humour, energy and positivity may be just what you need on any given day.
    1. connect with your fellow #eventprofs and #hotelsales friends, but don’t forget about non-industry groups like….
    2. BNI groups and other business groups
    3. local chamber of commerce groups
    4. passion project meet-ups
  5. Get certified – many #eventprofs are adding certifications to their list of accomplishments.  Whether its a formal certification, or simply learning a new skill – working towards mastery of something new is a great accomplishment.  It may also lead you down a path you’ve never considered for yourself before!
  6. Spend some time on LinkedIn – plan some structured time on LinkedIn to make new connections, nurture existing connections and stay on top of industry trends.  Be careful – too much time on social media scrolling through feeds can be an avoidance-habit and won’t help you redefine your future.
  7. Join an association – if you are not already a member of an association, this may be a great time to find like-minded individuals.  You may discover you have interest in a non-industry association as well – this could be a great place to discover if you can turn your passions into a new career.
  8. Do not take the first job you see!  When you’re seeking new employment, its so critical that you find the RIGHT job for you versus the first job you see.  If you are still in the grieving stage where panic and desperation are still part of your day, stay away from the job boards.  Only look for jobs when you’re in a healthy, balanced frame of mind and you are purposefully seeking employment that will light you up and excite you.

By following this outline, you’ll not only learn more about yourself than ever before, but you’ll feel confident that the next position you take, speaks to your skills, talents and passions, and give you more happiness than you thought possible.  Be patient my friends, your dream job awaits….

Follow Leanne on LinkedIn



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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash