Today, the Carolina Panthers laid-off (released) WR Steve Smith after 13 years of service. Evidently, Dave Gettelman, the team’s general manager, feels that the team needs to go in a different direction. As an employee, Steve Smith should have seen this coming. Dave Gettleman, former Senior Pro Personnel Analyst for the New York Giants, was hired to turn the Panther’s organization around after a sub-par 7-9 season the year before. It is no doubt that Mr. Gettleman started the process of revamping the team in his first months on the job. Mr. Gettleman is looking towards the future and Steve Smith, while still an effective player, only has a few productive years left to play at this level.
As a job seeker, how can you learn from what has happened to Steve Smith? Preparation is the key. Even at 34, it is safe to say that Steve Smith will probably get picked up by another team. After all, Steve is a leader, plays with passion, and will probably end up in the Hall of Fame. There is plenty of game-day tape that other teams can watch of Steve. His resume (career stats) is readily accessible. Every team in the NFL knows who Steve Smith is and they know how to get in touch with him.
But who knows you? If you were to face the same fate that Steve Smith and millions of other employees face each year, would you be ready? Are you a leader? Do you work with passion? Are you a “Hall of Fame” employee? What examples of your work can you share that constitute your game-day tape? If you are still employed, these are things that you need to consider now so that you are prepared should you need to find new employment.
Again, Steve Smith should be fine, but what about you? Have you gotten your resume together that highlights your game-day achievements? Are you leveraging social media sites like LinkedIn to make sure people know who you are and what you can do? Are you expanding your professional network so that you can shop yourself around in the event that your employment becomes at risk? Do you have an agent (career coach) that has your best interest in mind and is out to help you land your next opportunity?
These are all important factors to consider as you manage your career, because let’s face it, if Steve Smith can be caught off guard, so can you.