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It's a fluid situation

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Have you ever heard the phrase "a fluid situation"?

You'll sometimes hear it in news media reports from war zones, crime scenes, and even from emergency sites such as Superstorm Sandy last year. In that case especially, you could see the impact of a fluid situation as roads, cars, and homes were washed away in the torrential fury.

The saying, however, originated, I believe, in descriptions of military campaigns. Battle scenes are frequently described as "fluid situations" meaning that conditions are highly unstable and unpredictable and highly likely to change from one moment to the next.

Sound familiar?

I'd wager that many job seekers, who find themselves suddenly out of work, would feel an affinity to this description.

When you are in transition, it's a fluid state. The previous solidity of old stable structures you once knew --such as an appointment calendar, an office with a phone, a coffee room, and a nice building to go to each day-- have dissolved away, replaced by...well, that's the question.

So if job search is a kind of fluid situation, where it seems like there is little of solid substance to hold onto, what are some helpful implications?

No one will provide the replacements - Except for you! It's up to you to design and establish the new structures. One of the most helpful ways to do this is to establish a new routine that includes weekly participation in support groups. (I will be talking about this on the next podcast of Jeff Altman's podcast show. Stay tuned.)

Everything is replaceable - Everything you lost can be replaced. Think about it. Your calendar. Your office. Your phone. Your coffee! Even the people you were used to seeing at the office. You can see people every week at networking events.

Anchors stabilize the fluidity - When you were working, all of the predictable elements were the anchors that stabilized your life. With job loss, they all vanished. But by replacing each one, you give yourself the needed stability to ride out the period of transition.

As long as you are in transition, things will still be fluid, i.e. subject to change. Actually, even once you land, things will still be subject to change.

As someone once said, Change is the only constant in life. You can count on it.

Note: To check out Jeff Altman's Job Search Radio:!

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Tuesday December 3, 2013

Terrence H. Seamon is an organization development consultant who provides leadership and team development services to employers in New Jersey. His book Lead the Way explores the challenges of leadership. Additionally, Terry is a job search and career coach whose book To Your Success provides a motivational guide for anyone in transition. His third book, Change for the Better, provides leaders with a guide to initiating, and navigating through, organizational change. An alumnus of PSG, Terry co-founded and co-moderates the St. Matthias Employment Ministry in Somerset, NJ. He can be reached at and via his website:



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