No matter how talented we are, at some point, we all experience that "writing on the wall" moment, when we  know that it's time to move on. Maybe it's downsizing, or a new editorial direction-or whatever-but it's something no one's immune to, especially not these days...

Part of Gina Barnett's role as a communications consultant is to help people deal with transitions. But more importantly, it's to encourage people to not cling too tightly to their own definitions of their jobs--or perceived roles. It's something Gina will be touching on at her SPD Speakeasy on March 25th at the Helen Mills Theatre. I asked her a few questions in preparation for this:

Many designers are working in industries that are in the process of reinvention due at least in part to technological advances. Our roles will be redefined in the coming years, and we don't want to be put out to pasture in our prime. What are your thoughts on this mid-career (or maybe mid-life) concern that so many of us share?
Seismic changes are everywhere-in almost every industry, whether due to the current economic situation or as you put it, "technological advances." The technological shift has been in process for well over two decades and will continue to have major impact on design, publishing and major media from here on out.

Constant re-education to stay abreast of quickly evolving technologies is a must. As entire "professions" vanish or change beyond recognition, it's important to review one's skill set and see how those skills might be transferable to new roles and responsibilities. We tend to get very stuck and "attached" to our self-definition or job title. But change is indeed the only constant. It's increasingly important to maintain a very flexible approach to how one "defines" one's work.
What advice can you give to people who sense that a layoff may be coming and they may soon potentially be out of a job?
Even for those who are certain that their job is secure, I urge people to constantly expand their networks and build new relationships beyond the demands of their current role. I've coached people who have been "downsized" and immediately landed a new position, and others who-in a similar situation-have been unemployed for over a year. The greatest distinguishing factor I've seen between the former and the latter is the depth and quality of relationships the newly hired seem to maintain-at ALL times.

Okay, you've survived your worst-case scenario. You've gone through a layoff and now have to get out there and start looking again. What are the things you should remember as you pack up your wounded pride, along with your portfolio, and start pounding the pavement again?
Be completely open to whatever comes your way. Let go of "defending" your resume and what you did in the past. Your skill set is a valuable asset, but it may be applied to areas you've never thought of before. Don't isolate yourself. Volunteer, take a dance class, do something completely out of your usual pattern/comfort zone. Without ignoring the dark side or pretending the doubts and fear don't exist, do whatever you can to stay positive. We are so much more than how our "jobs" define us. We are friends, parents, children, aunts, uncles, CITIZENS. Engage deeply with aspects of your life that are not solely "work" driven and see what opens up.

BIO: A specialist in communications coaching, Barnett International consults for domestic and global multinational corporations such as Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Allianz Global International, HSBC Bank and Credit Suisse, as well as for mid-sized advertising companies such as SpotCo. Gina Barnett has coached CEOs how to present to their boards, taught heads of sales how to inspire their teams, and trained medical students how to communicate more effectively with patients.

Gina Barnett's cumulative experience of 35 years developing and teaching professional communication skills are provided by Barnett International to an array of domestic and multi-national corporations through specialized programs, seminars, team and individual executive consulting. Barnett International partners with other world-class coaches and consultants to design for clients' needs.

GINA BARNETT on Artful Communication: Redesigning Yourself.

Thursday, March 25, 2010
Helen Mills Theatre
137-139 West 26th Street (between 6th & 7th Aves), NYC

7:00 - 8:30 PM, doors open at 6:30


SPD Members, $15 in advance; if tickets remain the day-of, they will be available for $20 at the door, CASH ONLY

Non-Members, $25 in advance; if tickets remain the day-of, they will be available for $30 at the door, CASH ONLY

Students (full-time) & faculty with valid ID, $10 in advance; if tickets remain the day-of, they will be available for $5 at the door, CASH ONLY

Register in advance (and save $5 off the door price!) by clicking the button above or using the form below by noon on Thursday, March 25th for advance tickets; after noon on the 25th, remaining tickets will be on sale at the event at the door, CASH ONLY.
As usual for SPD Speaker Events, all tickets, and seating, are first come, first served.


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