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As noted last month, my June layoff from corporate America severed me from more than my job and career. Along with those indignities, it plucked me out of my circle of long-time colleagues and business associates, leaving me with a vastly diminished support system at the time when I most needed the proximity of caring people.

While I'd resisted any form of social networking while I was employed, launching my own business convinced me that it was time to get with the program and join LinkedIn. As I described in my previous diary on my LinkedIn experience, I've been careful in crafting my profile and connecting with others and recommending them and endorsing their skills.

It's been a revealing process looking back over 37 years of corporate life and selecting the people that I'd like to take along on the next phase of my professional journey. When you're chosing companions for any journey, you want people you can trust. People who've stood by you, particularly when times were tough. People who've given you a helping hand, eased your way, or just made your days brighter.

As of today, I'm connected with over 200 professionals on LinkedIn. Most are people that I invited although increasingly, they've have been the ones inviting me. I initially targeted my former clients and prospects, most of whom now grace my profile. My hope is that people who stop by - especially if they're potential clients for my servies - will be impressed to see such illustrious folks in my circle of connections.

I also invited capable and experienced technical colleagues I've worked with over the years. I've tended to favor those who, like me, were laid off and have launched their own companies or gone to work for competitors of our former employer. It's my way of avenging my layoff and providing some free advertising for those folks... and reminding passers-by that my former employer jettisoned many of these excellent people.

I also invited other folks who were integral to my professional success: attorneys, subcontractors and subconsultants, experts in academia and industry, and people I've worked with in professional organizations.

Being back in touch with former colleagues has had a very therapeutic effect. Just hearing my iPhone chime when someone accepts my invitation, or seeing them pop up on my computer screen is cause for a microcelebration. More importantly, I've been heartened by folks recommending me and endorsing my skills, and providing offers of collaboration and sharing of business.  Just being back in touch with people - some of whom had been out of touch for many years - is wonderfully sustaining.

As anyone who's been laid off will soon find out, your friends and family - no matter how well intentioned - will eventually tire of hearing about your worries, your resentments, your aspirations, your joys, and your setbacks. They just want you to find work and move on, the sooner the better. Your LinkedIn friends - if you've chosen them with care - will "get it". They'll share your outrage at being laid off, and their faith that better days lie ahead for someone with your skill, determination, and moxie.

What's also interesting is selecting the people that I'll be leaving on the shore as I sail on to the next phase of my career. Sometimes they pop up as "People You Might Know". Oh, yes. I know those folks. The ones who took credit for my work. The ones whose negativity was like a black cloud in the office, draining our joy. The ones who used me as a stepping stone to their own advancement. The ones who... well, you get the picture. I'm sure you've encountered people who made themselves similarly extraneous to your professional life.

Oddly enough, being reminded of these people is strangely therapeutic. While some of them loomed large in my days in corporate America, they now seem tiny and silly as the Cassandracarolina pulls away from the shore. No matter where it's headed next, I won't have to worry about those folks ever again. That's kind of cool.

Originally posted to cassandracarolina's fossil record on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 01:31 PM PST.

Also republished by Retail and Workplace Pragmatists - Members and Editors.


Are you on LinkedIn?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

    by cassandracarolina on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 01:31:31 PM PST

  •  The groups section of linkedin is very important (8+ / 0-)

    both for networking and for seeing what job opportunities may be out there. Often jobs are posted in the groups that aren't posted in the regular jobs section of the site.

  •  Via LinkedIn I'm taking part as an "expert" in a (4+ / 0-)

    trade discussion forum. One way to get my name out there.

    •  Interesting! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ms badger, jck, Powell

      I am amazed at the number and diversity of opportunities for people to engage in discussions and exchanges and groups. I'd be interested in some metrics on the extent to which these activities result in actual business.

      Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

      by cassandracarolina on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 03:00:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love your "Corporate Life in the Rearview (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, Powell

    Mirror" diaries, Cassandra! You have a refreshingly astringent perspective on life in the corporate environment.  It's such a pleasant antidote to the "Oh, Gawd, we're all just one big happy family" crap that corporations churn out daily in the 5,000 e-mails they send to employees.

    The happy family crap comes right after the paragraph that speaks sorrowfully of the "challenges" the company encountered during the past year, which makes it necessary to withhold raises for everyone except the company biggies.  And that paragraph follows the paragraph urging everyone to "work smarter--do more with less"--yeah, do the work of three people while getting paid only for one.  They laid off the people who used to be on your team so now you get to do their jobs as well as your own, but you don't get any extra money for doing their jobs, nor do you even get a raise for doing your own job--in a "smarter" way--for another year.

    I swear if we had universal single-payer health insurance for everyone, more people would say to hell with corporations and start their own businesses.  Who wouldn't want to set her own hours, work at her own pace, and sell a product or service she really believes in?

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 06:39:52 PM PST

    •  Single payer would change thousands (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Powell, brae70

      of lives. I know quite a few people staying in soul-sucking jobs for the benefits, or - before the prospect of Obamacare - the fear of never again getting coverage for themselves or a family member.

      Your take on "corporate communications" is spot on. It verges on criminality.

      Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

      by cassandracarolina on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 08:26:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Extra life (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I was shoved out of the next in 2007... after a full force emotional ego hit I started to breath again. I can never ever go back... the cool thing is I have learned to let the new life unfold. whew.... living simply... selling house and all the extra's... moving to much lower cost Tucson than the Pacific NW...

    I feel blessed. Frugal...wish I could be fearless too. Just one day at a time.

    After my layoff with out ever doing any art before... I downloaded a 'free' graphic arts software...  and found out at our garage sale about a 'free' website called Zazzle ...a place I could start a print on demand store... step by step I am teaching myself along with all the help on line a new craft... simple designs for adventurous spirits.  :)  

    You can find me at  
    Who knew four years later I would actually be making holiday sales...pinch me. Takes a lot of time but after my lay off I had it...

    Best wishes to you on your knew adventure!!! Marie

    A thought Why not practice mindful speech by using Socrates' triple filter. Ask yourself: Is is true? Is it kind? Is it helpful?

    by thatwhichisgood on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 10:44:41 PM PST

    •  Congratulations, thatwhichisgood! (0+ / 0-)

      I am happy to hear that you've turned your situation into something so fulfilling (and your work is beautiful! Folks, do check it out!)

      You are so right about this:

      after a full force emotional ego hit I started to breath again. I can never ever go back...
      The one bit of solace I could feel after my sudden layoff (the kind where you need to be gone that afternoon, as though you were caught embezzling from your employer) was that I promised myself "never again". I would not work for another corporation.

      Like you, it's taking me a while to ramp up my own business, but the improvements in physical and mental health are their own huge reward,

      Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

      by cassandracarolina on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:30:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I should get... (0+ / 0-)

        More into the social media aspect of the web...

        I know it would be worthwhile in growing my own business, but at the same time I'm kinda nervous at letting it all hang out on the web. I really don't care for the way some of the sites such as FaceBook have a way of conglomerating your whole life into one profile, it's too damn intrusive to me, leaving me with privacy issues.

        Maybe I'll get over it, and maybe I won't...

        I too left the corporate wage slave life several years ago, when I saw the tightening of the belt, and it was getting harder and harder to make decent ching, I drove over the bridge, blowing it behind me as I went over and I can't even see them in the dust cloud...

        We'll call it a "Pre-Emptive Strike" in the "Do unto others before they do unto you" mold...

        Now I build websites for other former co-workers that have also left started their own businesses. I get great pleasure in watching their websites appear over the top of our former corporate despot's listings in the Google Organic Serps...

        They know I'm out there and they feel my love every day... LOL

        "Do you realize the responsibility I carry?
        I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House."
        ~John F. Kennedy~


        by Oldestsonofasailor on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 04:11:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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