Calling your last employer for assignments?

(From February 10, 2009 newsletter)

Let’s say you have been laid off from your previous job and want to start telephoning to drum up freelance and consulting projects. Your first thought may be (reasonably, I may add) to call your last employer for assignments.

Let’s start to analyze this move with a question: Why haven’t they already asked you to do some work for them? Obviously they know you are available.

If they haven’t called, here’s a second question: Did they strew your path with rose petals as you last left the building?

If the answer is “yes,” go right ahead and phone them. They may really want you.

If the answer is anything less, take them off your phone list . . . forever! Sure, it seems logical to call them first. As a recent insider, you’re the best qualified person to do what you’ve actually done in the past. You know the product, the process, the personalities and everything else that will help you succeed.

Free yourself from the past to make a fresh start

But here’s the problem: your anger and insecurities will serve as mile-wide roadblocks to making the call. You’ll see yourself as tremendously scared of phoning when the real problem is your dread of calling only this one person.

So take them off your list and you’ll remove the most overwhelming impediment to making phone calls and reaching out to prospects.

Perhaps one day you will run into a former coworker at the grocery. If they ask how you’re doing, you may decide to remark casually that you are freelancing “if they ever need some help.” That’s it. If they want you, they know where you are. And since you’ve been let go, they can easily deduce you’d welcome paying work.

They know better than anyone that you have plenty of time available to freelance or consult for them.

So move on.

As country singer Randy Travis sings, “Since my phone still ain’t ringing, I assume it still ain’t you.”

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