In my first job after I graduated from University a training course I took told us that “The ultimate secret of success is: Do it now!”


In a busy, reactive work environment this was certainly true. However, now that I am in a position to advise people about furthering their careers, I find that the same advice can apply just as well.


The biggest mistake I have come across in my long recruitment career is that people hold on to the past so long that it hampers their ability to move forward.


Take a middle manager who has just been laid off in an industry that is contracting. He or she has been earning close to $100K and feels that what they need is a carbon copy job in the same industry at the same salary. Intellectually they may know that this is not realistic, yet they resist thinking of change right away and keep on looking for the un-findable job opening.


It often takes someone like this a year to accept they need to change industry, work for less money and adjust their life-style. At this point, they have blown through their savings, they have a huge hole in their work history and their morale is rock bottom.


If they had been willing to look at other situations right away they would now be one year further along a new career path, would not have spent all their savings and would look like a much more employable candidate if indeed a better opportunity opens up.


Delay is the worse thing you can do when laid off. I would advise that you get out and start doing something immediately, even if it is volunteer work to begin with. When we get caught up in our own sense of self-importance we could miss opportunities that might mean a step back in status to begin with but could build a new and rewarding career path for us.


We have to get over the idea that we are “selling ourselves short” if we take a job with a less grand title or salary. We need to take the long view – we were able to grow in our original career, we can grow in a new one!