The cavnessHR podcast – A talk with Dr. Nancy Koury King
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Social Media links for Dr. King Below!!
Dr. King’s Website: www.jobuncertainty.com
Dr. King’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancy-king-61309471/
Dr. King’s FB: https://www.facebook.com/nancykouryking
Dr. King’s Book Recommendation!!!
“Fired: How to manage your career in the age of job uncertainty” by Dr. Nancy Koury King
Link to purchase her book is below.
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Jason: The cavnessHR podcast is brought to you by SM Diversity. SM Diversity is a full-service staffing and recruiting agency. SM Diversity provides end to end talent acquisition programs, permanent placement, contract to hire, routine hourly recruiting and a recruitment media team. SM Diversity also provides Diversity and Inclusion consultants to design, develop and implement D&I frameworks for organizations both large and small.
Jason: Welcome to the cavnesHR podcast. I am your host Jason. Our guest today is Dr. Nancy Koury King. Nancy are you ready to be today.
Dr. King: I sure am. Thank you.
Jason: Dr. King is currently the President of Senior Options LLC, a senior services advisory company. She has served as an executive in health care for over 25 years. In addition, Dr. King has served as Adjunct Faculty at The Ohio State University School of Public Health. To write her book "Fired: How to Manage Your Career in the age of Job Uncertainty." Nancy spent five years traveling the country interviewing 65 people who were let go. Her research produced significant patterns and insights on the ramifications of job loss. The recovery that follows and tips for practically managing your career. Nancy, can you tell us the lessons learned from your book.
Dr. King: I sure can. There are several lessons learned and the best thing about these is there from real people. Who were let go or laid off or fired or however you want to call it. They're not from the professional career advisers. They're right from them. So I think the first lesson they would want you to know is to be loyal to yourself. What I mean by that is many of them had tenure in their organizations, 5, 10, 15, 20 years and out of the blue they were let go. They always felt loyal to the organization, felt engaged, felt important to the company and really felt the rug pulled out from under them. Also, they said they turned down a lot of other opportunities out of that loyalty. My first lesson from them is to be loyal to yourself first. So that was probably the main lesson. The second lesson is you have to own your career and you have to realize anything can happen at any time. So what are you doing to continually improve your employability skills, your education. How do you stay relevant as the world changes and we've seen that with store closings or business closings or things being outsourced. So I think that was the important lesson. The third lesson that they would tell you is to stay active and network and don't wait until you need a network to get a network and be authentic. But really have an outside network outside of your company. Because if you lose your job you are going to need people who can vouch for you and that's an important asset to have and to maintain.
Jason: You are right Nancy. I know so many people have a job and they think it's safe. I mean you have to be looking for a job at all times I think.
Dr. King: Several of them said to me if I had to do it all over again, I would take those headhunter calls. I would go on interviews. I would go out and have coffee. But I was so loyal. I didn't and I never looked and I never went out on visits or took phone calls. They said boy I would do that differently the next time.
Jason: Nancy for the 65 people, are they spread across the nation or focused on one area of the country?
Dr. King: I went across the country. I was very intentional Jason. I wanted to see a cross-section of the country and I wanted to see a cross-section of companies. So, technology, energy, health care, human resources consulting. I really wanted a cross-section of everything and all ages trying to get as diverse as I can. Male and Female split about evenly and from frontline kids out of college to 10 year career professionals.
Jason: Nancy, for the 65 people, was there anything they had in common besides being loyal to the company?
Dr. King: I think all but five of them had outstanding performance reviews. Then they got fired. They had praised them and several had won awards. I have a chapter in the book called, “You're not fireproof”. It's intentionally trying to let people know that despite great results or hearing praise from your boss or getting an award. Things happen and things change. So that was one thing most of the people had in common, but not everybody. Because some people weren't there long enough. But they all had great performance reviews. But the biggest commonality to predict job loss was getting a new boss. I could be in my company 10 years or 17 years. I could have had great performance reviews. I get a new boss and they want to bring in their own team. They want to shake things up. They don't like the way we do it. About half of the people I interviewed. Their job loss came when there was a transition in their company. A new boss, a new boss's boss. There were people who got new jobs which is also a new boss that they got new jobs totally. Left their company took a new job and got let go. So those were my two top findings. That a change in leadership through a new job or an existing job is a dangerous thing. Even if they tell you, you're all safe it's going to be fine. I just want to get to know you. Keep your eyes open.
Jason: For the people, you talked to who lost their jobs because a new boss came in, do you think it was because that person was unable to change and adapt to the new boss? Or is it more the new boss saying I want to bring my own team or combination.
Dr. King: I think that the people that I talked to had received such accolades and such reinforcement over the years that they thought the boss was going to want to learn how they did it. They thought the boss would be interested in their success. I didn't get the sense they weren't willing to change although obviously there was some tension. A lot of them wanted to just bring in their own team and it wouldn't have mattered. But I would say that would be my advice. Anyone getting a new boss to carefully understand what they're looking for. Because people have been trained by previous supervisors to do something this way they've been rewarded and when somebody comes in and tells you something different. You're going to want to listen and pay attention even if it's not the way you've done it.
Jason: For the people we talked to have had an easy/hard time finding a job and how many of them are still currently unemployed?
Dr. King: So the good news is almost everybody has found other work. But the journey was painful. To get another job, very painful, lots and lots of worry ,family issues and then just the natural depression that comes when you're getting rejected or worse. Not hearing back from the company and so a lot of people would say just tell me yes or no or I don't know. But the silence is deafening and they really had a hard time putting themselves out there for interviews. Getting on Skype and then never hearing from the company again. That was one of their biggest complaints. They probably took six to nine months on the average. The further up the food chain they were the longer it took. Obviously, the kids sprung back fairly easily. Because they're not looking for the most choice salaries. But even then one young woman she was married with a small child family, had to file for bankruptcy. They had to cash out their 401. It was a very devastating 10 months for her.
Jason: Of the people you talked to, how many were financially prepared and how many were like wow this was devastating.
Dr. King: Most were devastated and I have a chapter called, “Have a Plan B”. Of course, some did have some resources. But they're spending their kid's tuition or their mortgage, taking a second mortgage on their house. But a lot of people have 401s and they drew down on that. It was tough. Some were able to do some consulting. But most people don't have six to 10 months of cash on hand. In my chapter you have to have a plan B. So they say six months, I say 10 because you're going to want time. you have to look your best. You can't quit going to the hairdresser. You have to have nice hair. You have to be ready to meet your next boss at any time. So it's very important to have another stream of income or considerable savings.
Jason: Nancy, you talked a little about the importance of networking. But most people are going to say that they are safe. How do you convince them they need to do some kind of networking.
Dr. King: Well I would say this. Number one you know you don't think you're going to get in a car accident, but you buy insurance. You hope you don't have a health event. But you have health insurance or you have life insurance because you don't want to leave your kids or your spouse without resources. So I look at networking as a form of insurance. Also, it adds to your life, adds joy your life to meet new people, get new ideas, get out of your office and see what the rest of the world is doing. It doesn't just have to be you know a Rotary or the Chamber. It can be your kid's softball game or it can be going to a school function. It can be a church group. You know those networks are absolutely valuable. When you are in need, you need people who will support you emotionally. But also who can make introductions for you. But when you're out of a job they're especially important as they're much less likely to judge you.
Jason: Nancy, before the American Dream, used to be as you know, forty years for the same company and get your retirement watch and your pension. Now people are changing jobs every few years. How is this paradigm shift changing how people are looking for jobs?
Dr. King: I think that people who are able to switch are able to network. I don't know if you're familiar with them but there are applicant tracking systems at almost every large company. They get thousands, hundreds of thousands of resumes and they go in this giant black hole and the supervisor who's hiring or HR has to go through every one of them or they have automated screening. Well, OK so now I'm down to 50 resumes. so I think it's really clogged the system. I know my kids are both very much into networking professionally for the enjoyment of it. But also they know that's where the opportunities are. A cold résumé is not a great way to find work. So I do think there are places where it's expected that you stay and be loyal. Especially, with people who are more our age. That’s kind of the way we were taught. But I think most of the folks who are Millennials know that to move up, you sometimes have to move out.
Jason: Nancy, next let's shift and talk about a time you were successful in the past, what you learned from this and what we can learn from this.
Dr. King: I'm a jack of all trades master of none. The thing I have always run for success is being a talent magnet. I try really hard to recruit and retain talent and really hear them out and really understand their strengths. I kind of like to compliment their weaknesses and anything I have done with a team that wants to work together toward a goal has been successful. Whether it's launching new programs or serving different clients. I think that's the whole key today in business is having a team that trusts that you can finish each other's sentences. That you can understand their goals and feel good and celebrate. I really enjoy the celebration aspect and that's not common in business today, but we celebrate our successes.
Jason: Nancy, moving on now let's talk about a time you failed in the past, what you learned from this and what we can learn from this.
Dr. King: When I think about my failure. There were times I didn't really listen to understand. I was maybe dismissive or in denial or just hurrying so much to hit a goal. That I failed to really listen to the people who were saying hold on or think about this or so-and-so is not on board. More or less just steamrolled just to get the job done. So I've learned as I've gotten older to spend more time making sure I'm hearing dissent, making sure I'm listening to those, not just the vocal concerns. But the eye rolls and the people who are looking down and really paying attention to anything that maybe doesn't agree with what I'm promoting.
Jason: So many of us listen to answer and not to understand.
Dr. King: I think the other thing I learned is you got to read the room. You know you have to read the room. You can't go into a new setting or a meeting had not fully appreciate all the dynamics there.
Jason: Nancy, can you talk about someone who has helped you and how they helped you.
Dr. King: I have been helped by so many people. But I am very thankful for a mentor in my late 20s who has stayed with me my whole career. His name is Glenn Gronlund and he was the CEO of a company I worked for and he said to me, “Nancy people's greatest strengths are their greatest weaknesses” and if you think about it that's a really good piece of advice. But he stayed with me. I call him up and he'll make suggestions. We've become close friends and he brought me into meetings that maybe I wasn't by title should have been there. He gave me opportunities. He let me work with him and kind of understand his point of view. But a true wonderful person.
Jason: Nancy, next tell us something about yourself that most people don't know. Your close family or close friends know this. But other people don't know.
Dr. King: People who don't know me think I have abundant energy. I run on high really well and then I shut down almost just as fast. So I do have a quiet side although you'll rarely see it.
Jason: Nancy, I understand you have a book to recommend for listeners.
Dr. King: I'm sure do, can it be my own book.
Jason: Yes, definitely.
Dr. King: Here's my book, "Fired: How to Manage Your Career in the Age of Job Uncertainty". It is on Amazon.com and I encourage you to read it, before you need it. So if you are employed by all means get the book. If you're unemployed you will know you're not alone and you will get lots of great tips.
Jason: Nancy, can you share your social media links so people can reach out to you?
Dr. King: Sure, I have a website www.jobuncertainty.com and I have a LinkedIn at Nancy King https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancy-king-61309471/ and I'd love for you to LinkedIn with me and I have a Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/nancykouryking/ and my email is NancyKouryKing@gmail.com and I love to hear from people. I get notes from people and texts from people who read the book and I love to hear how it's affected them and I'd love to have a conversation with anybody who's interested.
Jason: For our listeners, we will have the link to her books and her social media on our show notes. You can find the show notes at www.cavnessHRblog.com
Jason: Nancy, we are coming to the end of our talk. Can you provide the listeners any last minute advice or wisdom on anything want to talk about.
Dr. King: I would just encourage you to be prepared. Start now, whether it's networking, whether it's getting in shape, whether it's talking to your spouse about conserving savings start now. Because the effect is devastating and it can really happen to anyone anytime. There's very little job protection. It's an employment at will country for the most part. Obviously there is some protection for hourly workers. But I would encourage you to be very proactive and in managing your career
Jason: Thank you Nancy. Thank you for your time today. I know you're busy person, doing a lot of great things, so thank you again.
Dr. King: My pleasure. Jason thank you.
Jason: To our listeners thank you your time as well and remember to be great every day.