How to avoid ending up as a career “roadkill” statistic

How to avoid ending up as a career “roadkill” statistic

That word makes me winch. But when Warren Buffett used it last Saturday at the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha, Nebraska, he was describing US workers  displaced by competition from overseas and technology, it made the headlines.

Perhaps that’s a good thing.

We all know that the marketplace is highly disrupted, the economy fragile and globalisation rampant: all making for career and financial insecurity. Yet despite this reality, the majority of Australian executives are challenged with the concept of a personal business plan.

Just try asking your colleagues this question tomorrow: what do you expect to be doing five years from now? The responses will likely range from incredulity with a shoulder shrug, to the usual Aussie self deprecating joke, which unfortunately is how many executives plan their career paths.

Redundancy sucks and the shock of suddenly being made redundant can derail not only the life of the executive receiving the yellow envelope (or email) but also those closest to them.

When I was completing my Higher School Certificate, my father only family breadwinner was made redundant from his job.The shame of this loss for him and my mother was acute and, as I was attending a private school, I was terrified that I would have to leave because we couldn’t pay the fees.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen and after a few months, my father found another position a

Avoid becoming a Roadkill statisticnd we all started to breath easy. But, as the company car also disappeared with his job, I can still see my father walking the back streets to catch the train so that the neighbors wouldn’t notice.

Today we understand a lot more about the effect that losing a job has upon us.  Top of the injury list is a significant loss of identity and the erosion of an individual’s self-confidence.

According to, the most common reaction to job loss is physical shock accompanied by some of the classic symptoms associated with grief – disbelief, denial, anger, feeling stunned, becoming withdrawn, loss of confidence, and a feeling of ‘why me?’

The impact is even harsher when there is no prior warning, or sense that the job is disappearing.

But there is a solution. And, like many steps to making things happen, it starts with a Plan. Here are my Five Top Tips for staying in control of your career.

    1. Update your LinkedIn Profile regularly and keep engaging with your industry. It goes without saying that having an active relationship with your peers, industry recruiters and potential employers is essential if you are to be noticed when you most need their help. You need to be active on this platform a minimum of three days a week.
    2. Write your Plan B. If you have a plan when redundancy hits, you won’t feel so powerless over the circumstances. This could include taking a week or two’s break immediately to rest, reflect and recover. Contact your bank/creditors to see if you could you pay less on your debts for a few months, sign up to Centrelink if necessary. Look at and start to attend some free networking events.
    3. Keep a Career Journal. Give some serious thought to what you would LOVE to do given your interests, skills and hobbies. This can help you to look at using your skills to transfer into an industry which may be growing instead of contracting. Try to write in your Career Journal for 30 minutes a day.
  • Find an Action Buddy. Team up with someone who has either experienced redundancy and come out of it, or who is in a similar position to yourself. There is strength in unity and you can help each other stay accountable for the actions you need to take to get back on your feet.
  • Volunteer anywhere. Lots of not-for-profit organisations are looking for volunteers. This will keep you busy, focused and meeting a lot of new people.


“Nobody should be roadkill,” Buffett told his audience, but what he didn’t add was that most of the responsibility to manage our careers remains with us.

Claire Moffat, owner of  is a business coach specialising in digital identity and career mentoring.

Claire Moffat

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