I recently discovered I may have CLS. It’s often called CCLS as well. I’m talking about Communicator Lay-off Syndrome, also known as Chronic Communicator Lay-off Syndrome.
It seems more prevalent than West Nile, perhaps even the common cold. I got hit last week. I walked into my boss’ office and there stood the Angel of Death: The HR manager. I knew I was dead meat at that point.
So it was bye-bye, good luck. Sayonara. It’s odd to be struck by CLS, i.e., standing alone in a slow-moving elevator with a cardboard box of trash and trinkets that I’d accumulated. As I walked through the parking garage to my car, I noticed the pages of my cherished yet aged AP Stylebook flapping in the wind. I had to smile. It was as if the The Great Journalism Spirit in the Sky was waving to catch my attention. “Miller … Miller! Listen up. All the pages haven’t been written in your life or career. Don’t give up, especially when the wind slaps you in the face.”
So, I seek full-time employment. NOW. CLS is more real than ever. Seemingly ubiquitous. It never discriminates, no matter your age, gender, industry or where you live. It’s a fact. Look at mid-October. WaggEd layed off 5% of its workforce. That’s 40-plus men and women put on the street. Think about all those journalists that wrote for something called a newspaper — the paper kind. Many are now freelancers. Many said “to hell with it” and started over. I know some who are now Realtors, day traders and even stay-at-home Dads.
Yet, I know I’m blessed. I’ve only been laid off twice during my 25-year communications career. Once in 1993 when my employer was bought by another company. And now, this time. It is what it is. And here I am. I’m thankful for always pushing myself to never be satisfied with the status quo and what “I know about PR.” When you stop learning and growing, you stop living. You kill your career. You dull your skills. You become obsolete.
I love social media and writing blogs. I like showing a company executive that becoming a subject-matter expert isn’t about being Tony Robbins. It’s about knowing your audience, Telling Your Story and leveraging the expertise of a strategic communicator.
There are good days ahead. And for my colleagues feeling caught in the chronic cycle of CLS, be encouraged. Look in the mirror. Explore, examine and initiate personal change. Improve yourself. Push forward.
Bottom line, just keep moving. Sometimes, that’s all it take to beat CLS.