Nancy Anderson
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Logistics and supply chain professionals possess that curious form of mental process enabling us to visualize and plan the steps in a supply chain that must occur in sequence, and cause those steps to happen. Not every brain works that way; we are freaks of nature. And I mean that in the very best way, my logistics experts, you know who you are, and you know what explodes through your mind at the mere mention of product delivery!

We can’t help it, we’re wired that way, and that makes us . . . specialists. Effective logical thinkers and planners.

When the movement of critical goods subject to supply or time constraints becomes urgent, the management turns to us creative, driven specialists. Usually at 4:55 pm on Friday. We then happily engage our headsets and computers to cast spells over warehouses, planes, trains, and trucks to cause required commodities to just appear on time, like magic. Whether ordering three car loads of coffee cups or a complete industrial assembly line, it just gets done.

That’s what they pay us for. We are the best.

Unfortunately, being the best occasionally hurts. After economizing and right-sizing, many companies need to cut even more dollars. Accountants now focus on more senior (expensive) middle managers who mentored their staff so well that it seems the department could temporarily survive without them.

Sadly, many of us find ourselves trudging away from the HR office box in hand, with the words “Laid off” still echoing behind us, finding it VERY difficult to integrate what just happened. It’s not personal, not our fault, not something we did wrong, and we are NOT alone.

I now offer the unexpected ovation: CONGRATULATIONS!

Welcome to what author Daniel Pink refers to as the “Free Agent Nation”. Mr. Pink and many others are examining today’s new work force economy and strategizing pathways to embrace, and profit from, a new mentality. As specialists, firms now only want to pay for our skills when they are needed. The slow times in-between panics are no longer thought of as part of a “job”.

Embrace this as a new start? I know, easier said than done. It may take a “few” days.

However, EMBRACE this we will! All of us will now be on the leading edge of learning to work a career, instead of a JOB. Those terms are not the same! The career is the work experience you accumulate during all of your working life. Now, you get to learn how to direct that for yourself!

Over the next couple of weeks we will talk about strategies for work, job, career, and family. Because I know how logical you are already, I think you’ll find some summary steps quite useful. Stay tuned, next time we focus on moving FORWARD!

K.B. Elliott is a Detroit area contributing writer for Nexxt. Having worked seats on both sides of the logistics table for over 30 years gives unique perspective to the supply chain process and the varieties of successes to be had.

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