One of my favourite marketing expressions of all time is by Avis Car Rental- We try harder. This slogan is as old as I am since it was coined in the year of my birth. However, the slogan remains timeless. There are two reasons why I felt this slogan is apt for what I want to write about this month in this article. My last article titled- Loss of job could be an opportunity- received some feedback. A person whom I respect for his writing skills had a feedback for me. As per him, I began well. However, I meandered from the main context as I got into the plight of the migrant labours and did not write enough regarding how a person who may have lost a job could convert it into an opportunity. Thank you for the feedback. I take every feedback seriously. And I try harder. Secondly, a person who has lost his/her job needs to try harder, not only to get a job, but also to retain any opportunity that he/she may be able to grab in terms of a new job or assignment. The steps that I believe could help any person who has lost the job to overcome the crisis are articulated in the next few paragraphs. The first step is introspection in context to the loss of job. There are few possibilities. 1.The organization may have shut down completely and therefore people have lost their jobs. 2.The organization may have shut down a division and therefore people working in that division have lost their jobs. 3.Organization may have merged departments/divisions and therefore few people have lost their jobs. 4.The organization has eliminated a hierarchy across all the functional areas and therefore people have lost their jobs. 5.The organization has retrenched select employees and the person has lost the job. The first two options are ‘sweeping’ changes. If an employee has been ‘swept’ away in the process, then the employee has precious little to introspect except speculate on the reason why the organization took such a decision. My experience suggests that profitability of business is the primary driver for such decisions or dramatic change in business dynamics could be the trigger for the decision. For example, the government has suspended few initiatives in the skill development industry due to the diversion of funds towards the initiatives to manage the pandemic. The third option where departments/divisions are merged also indicate less potential or profitability in the divisions which are being merged with the divisions which have potential or higher profitability. A media house has recently taken such a decision to merge the sales and marketing functions due to which the sales and marketing employees in the smaller business unit have lost their jobs. In this case also it is not about any individual who has lost the job. It is a group of people who have lost their jobs. This, in a way, is also a miniature version of a ‘sweeping’ change. The same logic holds for the fourth option where a group of people across a level of hierarchy have lost the jobs. The concern is the last option. This needs contextual introspection by the person who has lost the job. My experience suggests that most people feel victimised and blame the ‘management’, bosses, and HR for taking a biased decision. Always, someone else who has retained his/her job was a better choice to have lost his/her job when compared with the person who has lost the job is what the person who is ‘victimised’, thinks. This is self-defeating as it will not reverse the decision already taken by the organization. The most important element of introspection is a ‘realistic’ assessment of one’s functional and life skills. My experience suggests that lot of people get so comfortable with whatever they are doing that their self-development on functional skills is likely to have stagnated for some time. While personal biases while deciding whom to retain and whom to retrench play an important role; organizations typically like to retain people who demonstrate some enterprise to learn and develop themselves. Off course, few smart employees know how to remain in the good books of their supervisors and seniors, irrespective of their competency levels. This is there smartest skill to always remain in the limelight by doing the ‘right’ things, saying what seniors want to hear and at times, feeding information to different levels of hierarchy to remain ‘relevant’ always. Irrespective of the seniority that a person has attained in his/her career at the time of losing the job; one must remember that the person will be hired only for the experience, expertise and knowledge that he brings to the association- full time job or part time engagement. This expertise needs to be identified, first. Thereafter, the person needs to be realistic about his self-assessment about his degree of his knowledge and level of skill that he possesses. He may need to ‘sharpen his saw’ as Covey would have said to make his presence felt. For example, an accountant who knows how to operate Tally well needs to become trained and conversant in the accounting for GST if he wants to find another job as an accountant or be a part time employee with a CA firm. Majority of the job roles will have such areas of value addition which need to be identified and internalised. Why will any organisation give a person an opportunity? Only if the person can prove his ‘relevance’ to support the organization/customer as per the current or future business need. Personally, I think outsourcing will become a norm in many functional areas like sales, marketing, accounts, vendor management/development, R&D, and manufacturing. Anyone who has lost the job due to this current pandemic must think and identify such opportunities. Let me illustrate this with an example. Someone I have worked with during my corporate career approached me to inform that he has lost his job because the circulation department (circulation is the function in a print media house which works with the distribution system to increase the number of readers) of one of the divisions of this media house has been closed. My advice to this person was that a media circulation person knows the last mile delivery methods and challenges because newspapers are delivered every morning to our houses. Will this expertise be relevant for brands who want this last mile delivery? I am sure several brands do. It is for him to identify such brands and create a value proposition which is based on his experience, expertise and knowledge of the geography and markets. Will this work? I think so. Provided he can communicate and convince brands about his abilities and what benefits would accrue to the brand if he is given an opportunity versus the cost that the brand needs to incur. Communication is the most important life skill irrespective of the job role. It is not about the knowledge or fluency of any language, but the ability to express self in a manner that others can comprehend. The important aspect of the communication is not to show desperation to the extent that it is misconstrued as ‘begging’. Instead it should display anxiety at loss of job and the eagerness to find one. This week I was invited to speak to the employees of a Chamber on change. I mentioned that currently most of our thoughts are around uncertainty, insecurity, and despair. And these emotions are not uncommon given the situation around us. My only recommendation to this group of employees was to focus on the change that each one of us as an individual need in our personal as well as professional lives. And the key driver to this change is our attempt to remain ‘relevant’. Relevance is all about adaptability. It is not the strongest which will survive, it is not the cleverest who will survive, it is the most adaptable who will survive. And that means those of us who have lost our jobs need to make sure that we can establish our relevance to those who matter. After all, we have the experience of having lost a job and therefore given a chance we can only assure that we will try harder.