Preparing yourself for a possible professional exit can save you a ton of headaches and allow you to hit the ground running. 

Monsanto, Scottrade, Charter, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Boeing, Total Hockey, Pulaski Bank, Wehrenberg Theaters, SunEdison, Hardee’s, CenturyLink, Inc., EverBank Financial Corp.,  these are a few of the most recent companies in our community to fall to consolidation, bankruptcy or acquisition.  


Some might remember these companies who once thrived in our community, Famous Barr, Pet Foods, TWA, Jefferson Smurfit, Boatmen’s Bank, Southwestern Bell, Mallinckrodt, or McDonnell Douglas…….These too were all swallowed up or shut down as a result of mergers or bankruptcy in the past 15 years.  


[ Scottrade Financial is being acquired by TD Ameritrade, with approximately 1,800 St.Louis based employees …… projected to be reduced to as low as 500!! ]  


The list of companies in St. Louis that have been swallowed up or shut down as a result of mergers or bankruptcy keeps growing.  


Consolidation seems to be the name of the game in slow growth and heavily regulated industries.  


So, in order to maximizing shareholder value, corporations tighten their belts and cut costs, otherwise known as people.   


 I know this firsthand — not because I read about it or hear it on the news on an (unfortunately) regular basis — but because I’m in the business of working with the “downsized.” 


I’m meeting with more and more soon-to-be or out-of-work professionals and their stories reflect similar themes — they knew it was coming or they never saw it coming; they’re anxious and vulnerable and they are at a loss for what’s next.


My first meeting on Monday morning this pst week was with a potential client who had a suspicion that separation was near based on several factors; 

  1. he and his boss struggled to work well together and 
  2. his organization had an annual forced employee reduction based on a grading system …  and this year it was his turn!  


Late on Friday afternoon Human Resources put a 5pm meeting on his calendar.  


Dead giveaway right….It should have been!


But even with this looking him straight in the face, he refused to recognize the severity of what was coming his way.


And more importantly….how quickly and harshly it was going to go down.


He was NOT PREPARED in any way, shape or form. 




While he was in the “Separation Meeting” with HR and his boss, the IT department turned all his access off, and when the meeting concluded Security walked him out with nothing!


In today’s world, it doesn’t matter how you have served your company in the past…or what “loyalty” you have shown them over the years.


This is EXACTLY how it happens…it is fast, it is impersonal, it is an ambush. 


Don’t let this happen to YOU!


I see this all the time …. I watch the destruction to the human spirit that “Maximizing Shareholder Value” does to the discarded employees caught in the crossfire …




The writing has been on the wall, in the papers, TV, social media, radio and every other mode of communication.  


The disappearance of corporate headquarters in St. Louis continues, from 20+ in the 1990’s to less than 10 today.  


The elimination of jobs persists.  


It’s time to literally take control of YOUR future and ensure that if/when you are laid off or downsized (and you will be, I promise) you are confident that you can embark on a new career path instead of landing somewhere — anywhere!— with a thud.




1) Keep a consistent “off site” file of electronic templates, forms and documents that you have created during your time there that have helped you complete your job (be sure you are not taking anything that is owned by the company)

2) Keep an “up to date” file of ALL of your business and personal contacts. These contacts will be one of your greatest assets as you work to explore new opportunities.

3) Keep an “up to date” file of ALL the projects, results and accomplishments that you have contributed to. By keeping a real time (off site) file of these items will allow you to quickly deploy a “highlight reel” to any new networking group or potential employer.

4) Maintain a working knowledge of your Company’s Separation Policies. Understand your Severance Policies, Pension Plans, Current and Ongoing Benefit structure and any Long Term Incentives. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! Trying to extract this information in a timely manner after you are on the other side of the door can be an extremely taxing and slow process. 

5) Make sure you have a backup of any “Personal” items on a separate computer or hard drive….any photos, music, emails etc. that would be lost if your company computer was taken from you. It is sad, but personal property can be used as bargaining chips by organizations after separation. 


These are off course just a few of the things that you should be doing RIGHT NOW…


Even if you feel that you are completely safe and secure, this is just good and SMART practice.


Remember, no one else is going to take care of this for you…it is 100% up to you.


Today, instead of relying on companies to make or break our careers, we’re revolutionizing the way we create our futures by taking charge of our career paths!


It’s time that we OWN THE TRANSITION.


It’s time to become the CEO of YOU.  


In order to help you prepare for transition, I will be offering a FREE LIVE EVENT!

Join me on Friday January 20at 9:30am or Tuesday January 24th 6:30pm for a FREE EVENT in St. Louis, MO.

A CAREER TRANSITION WORKSHOP: Taking Control Of Your Professional Future



During this FREE event we will be walking through the steps that you should be taking RIGHT NOW in order to HIT THE GROUND RUNNING when the time comes.

No one likes to think about the scary times in their professional lives but I truly believe that if you are prepared and have the knowledge, confidence and tools to take ownership of the situation….it doesn’t really matter. 


Don’t be that guy in my office this past Monday morning.  

Become the CEO of YOU!




time to read: 5 min

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