How do you know when it’s time to move on?

You did outstanding work this year. Perhaps you received accolades or a bonus for your performance last year, and now you have been declared surplus.

It can be a shattering experience because you weren’t thrown from the horse, they pulled you off and put on a new jockey.

What’s your next step?

A few years ago, the answer would have been simple: Get your resume out and start interviewing. That is not necessarily appropriate today. If you are older than 45, I have some questions which can shed some light on your chances for getting a job similar to your old one.

1. Have you interviewed for a job in the last three years?
2. Are you talking seriously with anyone about moving to another company?
3. Has a headhunter called you in the last two years?

If the answer to all three of these questions is no, you should seriously consider moving on to other opportunities. You best chance of using your skills to make a living is to go into business for yourself.

Before you launch an extensive job-hunting campaign, you need to read this Fortune article, 50 and Fired, by By John Helyar.

It comes to the same conclusion I reached in Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day, but the case histories really drive it home. "Your W-2 days are over. It’s a 1099 world now."

The future is not all bleak, but you can’t wait for the hiring pendulum to swing back to embrace older workers. Older workers will eventually be in demand, but it will be several years before the tide turns and you need to keep food on the table and a roof over your head. If you refashion yourself as an independent consultant, a shop owner, an ebay trader, a franchise holder, you will be able to weather the next few years and control your own destiny.

The 50 and Fired article has this to say about the future for older workers:

The U.S. economy, amazingly adaptable organism that it is, will eventually figure out a sustainable way to exploit the talent and experience of older workers. …Why? Because companies are staring at a major problem: There aren’t enough people in the baby-bust cohort to replace all the aging boomers. From 2002 to 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of 35- to 44-year-olds in the labor force will decline by 3.8 million, while the number of available 55- to 64-year-olds will increase by 8.3 million. Ken Dychtwald, the demographer, figures that businesses must roughly double their number of older employees over the next decade. "The managers trying to move everybody in their 50s out the door are taking their companies off a demographic cliff," he says.

Read the entire article and send this post to your jobless friends. Life goes on, with us or without. Corporations are not going to save us. We need to take control of our lives and help our friends to do likewise. Once we make the decision to move on, it is amazing how many opportunities open up.

How many of you observed this?

The upside to being on your own is a resurgence of your self-respect and a gradual restoration of your confidence.

You are unlikely to make one third of what you were making at first,
but you will find that your pride and self-respect will bloom as you
conquer the problems of running a small business. You get to call the
shots, you get to make sure that customers are satisfied, and you drop
into bed weary after 12 to 16 hour workdays. But your time is your own
and if you are at all typical of many new small business owners, you
will feel better about yourself than you have in years.

I am a member of the Sun Alumni and I see far too many good and
talented people who are still out of work after more than a year. There
is an active networking effort where employed members announce openings
for those who are looking for jobs, but my observation is that these
positions are mostly for low to mid-level employees with current skill
sets. Managers and Directors who have been laid off find little to encourage them.

Employment conditions have changed and will change again. The important thing is to position yourself so you are in control of your earning ability for the long haul. That generally means developing a business of your own. Join the group. You will find that you are part of a growing horde of self-motivated independent business people. You might even enjoy it! Most of us do.

Many thanks to Nelson French for bringing the Fortune article, 50 and Fired,  to my attention.

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