The recent news of Intel laying off 10,500 employees brought back some memories for me, not many of them good. I was laid off at Intel five years ago, just a few weeks before 9/11. (what a year). Just two years earlier I was a national media spokesman for Intel generating tons of publicity for the company through radio and tv appearances, public workshops in dozens of cities, a book and newspaper column. Intel's PC Dads program
Now I was out on the street. So much for job security.
Five years later, looking back, it turned out to be a huge learning experience. After a rough start, it forced me to become more independent, learn new skills, make new contacts, open up new opportunities and so on. But don't let the self help pied pipers fool you; none of this is easy.
Several former Intel colleagues asked what I'd do differently if I were leaving the corporate world today and starting my own business. There's a lot, but for starters:
* Realize you're about to be a fish out of water. Many of your
corporate skills don't translate over to the crazy world of job hunting
and entrepreneurial activities. Forget attending meetings, conference
calls, performance reviews, and posturing and positioning for the
next promotion or new project--no one cares anymore. Focus on
developing new skills such as...
* Networking. Join groups, attend seminars, hook up with people at church, school, business activities of all kinds--you never know, the next person you meet may lead you to a job. Start with your own company before you leave--you have a goldmine of contacts and resources. Let them know you're leaving, setting up shop and you want to stay in contact. Even if times are grim, the business could come back--and you want to be in touch with these old contacts when they do. At least half my jobs come from former contacts at old companies.
* Cast a wide net. I tried to stay in my hometown of Portland--great place, but limited opportunities. Almost went broke. Search far and wide. If you can't relocate immediately,some companies will let you start off working remotely.
* Develop new skills. Find out what's hot, and go after these trends. Try to find a new position that will allow you to develop new skills, update your resume and broaden your skills. Take classes. If you're a bad presenter, join Toastmasters. If you're weak in sales, take sales classes and so on. Attend seminars, workshops, webcasts--whatever you can find to help you learn new skills and knowledge.
* Blog, write, get your name out there. Be visible.
* Realize there is light at the end of the tunnel--but it can be a very long tunnel. Do whatever it takes to keep your spirits up--connecting with family and friends for starters.
Then realize in 50 years none of this will matter anyhow.
For another good perspective, check out Jane's comments at