When the unexpected happens

So the other day I went into work and got laid off. On the up side, I was home by noon. On the down side, it sucked as it was unexpected.

Looking for work can be both grueling and exhilarating. The possibilities can be endless! Where do I want to go next? What do I want to do now? Should I start up my own business again and look for consulting contracts? Should I stick to full time and target companies I’d love to work at? Maybe I should start something totally new. There can be excitement in the unknown. But then there are the days when the phone is silent and the inbox is still. That can be quite scary.

No one ever said that life was guaranteed to be predictable and it’s easy to get totally side swiped when something like a job loss comes your way. It can be tempting to slide into a rut of unproductive self-pitying Netflix bingeing when you don’t know how long the break will be. I haven’t figured out how to see into the future, so here are my tips for staying positive and productive when the rug gets pulled out from underneath you for an indeterminate period of time:

  1. Make a list. The afternoon I was laid off, I installed a To Do app on my phone called On it I started listing things that I wanted to accomplish. Not all of them were job hunting related – some of them were things that I needed to do but hadn’t had the time to get around to doing, like get my passport renewed. It was helpful, especially in the first few days, to be able to cross off at least one or two things from my list every day.
  2. Call 5 people and set up coffee dates. Make at least 3 of them people you know in hiring positions at companies you might like to work for. They may not have a job that’s currently open but it’s a good opportunity to talk about what you’re looking for and what their biggest gaps/pains are to see if there are any possible connections to be made. You never know when a discussion over coffee will lead to a job down the road. One of the 5 should also be a good friend you can just unload to.
  3. Pick a project or a hobby to work on. It could be something new you’ve always wanted to do or something you’re in the middle of but never had the time to dedicate to. For me, I’m working on painting the roof of one of my boys’ bedroom ceiling. It’s painted the same colour as the wall except for the center where there is a big Minecraft-like hole through the roof and the sky with clouds can be seen. I love painting so this is a good relaxing, get-to-my-happy-place activity that keeps me grounded and sets my mind at ease.
  4. Organize something. It could be your office, your pantry, the playroom, your closet or all of the above. There is a certain satisfaction from creating organization from chaos that helps a person feel like they do have their life under a bit of control after all.

Do you have any other tips to share that I’ve missed here?

If you’re free for a coffee, I’ve got some time to spare these days. And if you know of anyone looking for help building their Microsoft practice, taking their relationship with Microsoft to the next level, evangelising their product or project internally or externally, or generating demand with current or new customers, please pass along my name. I’d love to connect with a Microsoft partner looking for help in any or all of these areas.

My LinkedIn profile can be found at

Moving on to new adventures

I can’t believe it’s already 2 weeks into the new year! I had a great time over the holidays visiting with family and spending time with the 2 special little 4 year olds in my life. I would like to say I got to visit with a lot of friends, too, but I had to bow out of most social gatherings due to being sick *sad tuba*. Luckily with some good drugs, I’m now healthy again!

However, what made the holidays particularly relaxing is that I accepted a job offer in December with Compugen, one of Canada’s largest, privately-owned IT services providers and PC systems integrators. I’ll be working in technical pre-sales focusing on Microsoft technologies. I’m pretty excited about starting this next phase of my career, but before jumping in, I decided to take a bit of a break to recharge and have delayed my start date until February. So until then, my days are filled with home projects, school and day-care drop offs and pick ups and relaxing.

However, I’m not slacking off entirely! I’ll be presenting on Windows Server 2012 at the Waterloo Wellington IT Pro user group on January 28 and if you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join me! For more information and to sign up, visit the website at

Life after Microsoft

I’ve had the privilege to work with some amazing people at Microsoft. It’s a company that attracts top notch people who are passionate about technology and I’m grateful for the experiences and opportunities I’ve had over the past 6 years. However, nothing lasts forever and a number of changes within the company have meant that me and Microsoft are no longer a good fit.

It’s now been over a week since I entered the Microsoft office for the last time as an employee. I’ve been fairly quiet on my social networks since then, being totally selfish and taking time for me and my family. It’s been refreshing to have time to bake with the boys, cook a few real meals that didn’t involve frozen fish sticks, work out and read for pleasure. All the stresses and pressures, particularly from the past few months, have rapidly dissipated.

The first day post-Microsoft, my feelings alternated between excitement and panic. I’d be totally jazzed planning what might come next and then get this gut-wrenching feeling of terror that my career was over. However, by day 2, the grapevine had done it’s work and people started contacting me. Some simply to find out what happened, to express their feelings and to establish a connection. Others to inquire about next steps in my career now that I am available.

I feel I have a unique opportunity – time to think about where I want to go next and plan accordingly without the distraction of a job or the pressure of looking while being secretive. I’ve got some great experience under my belt with a solid technical background complemented by sound presentation and communication skills along with good connections within the IT community. I’ll be seeking a technical sales role, however, I also realize there may be a role within company I haven’t thought of that would be a good fit. I mean, who would of thought there would be such a thing as an IT Pro Evangelist? I certainly didn’t before I joined the team at Microsoft.

For those wanting to know how to reach me, my personal email address is [UPDATED EMAIL]

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