Just been RIF'd or Fired?

Termination is more than just a personal trauma.

With many people, it shatters their sense of security, their plans and their confidence. It impacts their family, both financially and personally. They feel disenfranchised and betrayed. Is this wrong? Absolutely not. Thousands of people go through it everyday.

Routine downsizings have become commonplace in the United States – and being terminated or RIF'd does not reduce your employability. If you handle this traumatic event properly, being fired with a severance package can actually provide you with the resources to energize your future. Follow these nine steps through the first weeks.

1. Get your finances in order.

You need an accurate accounting of your net worth... what you owe, what you need to maintain your present lifestyle and what you can go without, if necessary, Work with the family to prepare a realistic budget for the next 3 - 6 months (worst case).

2. Audit your severance package.

Severance is not a reward for long or loyal service. Some companies do not even provide severance. It is a reasonable bridge to future employment, and is usually a five part formula computed on:

• position (responsibility)
• length of service
• age
• anticipated employability
• industry

If you're a 50-year-old technical manager with 28 years service in an affluent industry, you would expect a larger severance offer than a 33-year-old professional from the not-for-profit sector.

Your severance should provide some coverage for continued benefits and out placement counseling. If you are concerned with the fairness of your settlement, contact an employment attorney. He or she can determine immediately if you have any grounds for negotiation. Your "generalist" family attorney (who does your real estate closings) should be avoided, get expert advice from a specialist. Resist the urge to sue. You will usually get a better result by seeking amicable resolution through negotiation (either by you or your employment attorney).

3. Maintain your professionalism.

It is important that you maintain your public image as a competent professional who can handle adversity. Sharing you pain and frustration with your immediate family is fine, with outsiders and "the relatives" – absolutely not acceptable. Even if you were a political scapegoat, terminated without what you feel was just cause, on the wrong project at the wrong time... whatever the reason, you don't need to share it with outsiders.

Behaving like a "victim" can damage your future opportunities.

4. Don't leap into a job search immediately.

Resist sending out resumes, setting up interviews or "jumping on the first thing that comes along". When you have just been terminated, your anger and frustration can show through in interviews. You need a couple of weeks for strategizing, self reflection and research. Cool down.

Career decisions are too important to be made when you are still off balance. Regroup. Don't try to prove to others –or yourself – that you are instantly employable.

5. Evaluate yourself.

Take this opportunity to reassess your most marketable strengths, and work towards a "best fit" situation. While you may feel stigmatized, your severance has actually provided you with a month or two of "sabbatical space". This will permit time for a planned, strategic approach.

6. Upgrade your techniques.

Bring your job search strategy up to your present level, and understand the current market. Mailing out 200 resumes or registering with a dozen headhunters may have worked for you years ago, but these strategies are no longer effective – or even appropriate.

Develop a game plan with someone that understands your industry... a recruiter that specializes in placing people with your specific skills... and can open doors that you have no access to. Let him/her advise you on strategies, current market demands and compensation issues.

You should ask about your recruiter's professional background, the type of clients they represent... and determine if they have the contacts (relative to your experience) that will lead to interviews. Don't assume anything, get the facts. Many recruiters will ask you to work with them exclusively – unless you feel 100% about them, give a two week exclusive and move on if they are not stirring up activity.

7. Educate yourself.

Understand the major changes in your specialty and how best you can fit in. Once you understand completely how to market your present skills, and how to integrate them with new employers, you have cleared one of the largest hurdles.

Don't make the typical mistake of deciding to start a new career that has no connection to your previous experience. Unless you have substantial financial resources, time and immediately applicable skills (not to mention potential clients or customers), stay on track.

We are not discouraging creativity, just reminding you that 99 out of 100 people threaten to do something radically different upon being fired.

"I will never work for anyone again, I'm going to start my own business and be my own boss".

Very few actually follow through, and the one's that do discover that its much harder than they expected, many times with lower financial rewards, and no resources - unless you create them. And prepare for high risk, long days, no weekends or vacations for at least a couple of years, while you're establishing the foundation and recovering your investment. Is it worth it? Only you know.

If you decide that a new career in a non-related field is the way to go...

Whatever you do, don't call a recruiter to ask them to find you a position in an area you are really interested in, but have no experience with. Recruiters work for their clients (the companies that retain and pay them to find you), and you're wasting their time. The odds of them placing you out of your demonstrated sphere of experience is slim and none - which results in no revenue to then. If your going to change careers in mid stream, you're on your own.

8. Maintain a normal lifestyle.

Your current job is to find your next job. While this is a full-time endeavor, it should not a be a 24-hour-a-day obsession. You need to keep things in perspective.

Many times, people will become withdrawn because they feel inadequate. They avoid their family, relatives (who all want to know what happened and why), friends and social obligations. Being reclusive equals no explanations.

Talk to your immediate family about your successes, strategy and concerns. Friends and relatives are a different story.

The first rule of dealing with friends and relatives is: answer nothing. Explain that you were downsized (a common national problem), you are evaluating a number of opportunities that look promising, and that your severance package is giving you the breathing room to make an informed decision. Then change the subject.

9. Use your contacts.

Everybody has contacts – people that work in and understand your industry, will point you in the right direction, make introductions for you, slip you crucial information and provide you with a reference. Call in favors owed, even call competitors... anyone who can provide a source of information you can act on.

Note: if you are in dialog with competitors, don't offer or give up any proprietary information. This is absolutely unprofessional. Don't get even.

Don't call contacts to dump on your ex-employer or ex-boss (even if they deserve it)... they usually don't want to hear it. Don't use their time this way. Extract information (leads), ask for their help and keep lines of communications open. This may be your most powerful source for information leading directly to new employment.

Companies understand downsizing, and are not afraid to take a chance on "downsized" good people. It's basically about how you present yourself, how well you market (sell) your skills and abilities, compensation and availability.

The only challenge is identifying them.

Good hunting.

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Engineering Jobs Keywords for

SOFTWARE ENGINEERING

HARDWARE ENGINEERING

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING

RF ENGINEERING

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

SYSTEMS ENGINEERING

Keywords from active jobs where the phrase appears on >10 separate requirements.


SOFTWARE ENGINEERING JOBS: Open systems, UNIX, AIX, Linux, Solaris, IRIX, HP-UX, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows NT, APIs, real-time embedded software, embedded diagnostic software, device drivers, DLLs, software packaging and deployment, definition, requirements analysis and integration, middleware, firmware, DOS, RTOS, pSOS, VRTX, VxWorks, Novell, Win32, CORBA, OOA, OOD, OOP, DII COE, RISC, CISC, Oracle, SQL, UNIX Shell scripting, real-time, software analysis, architecture, OMT, CASE Tools (Rational Rose or Cayenne Object Team), Object-to-Relation concepts, modeling methodologies and tools, client/server architecture, Simulation Based Design (SBD), CGI and web-based development, multithreaded applications, rapid software prototyping, Object Modeling Technique (OMT/Rumbaugh), Object Class Libraries, Object Frameworks, shrink wrap software, IM, video, fault tolerant, Knowledge Based Systems (KBS), rapid application development, encryption, decryption, packet switched, software analysis, SourceForge, data and network security, defense, simulation, graphics, SEI/CMM Level 4 or 5 Software Processes, Clearquest, Client Server Applications, intelligence, Unicode compliance, multilingual search, normalization, electronic warfare, C4ISR, C4I, SQL Server, MAPI, SOAP, IPCs, ATL, ASP, VBScript, JavaScript, XML, ADO Sockets, I/O, TCP/IP, UDP/IP, .NET Windows, ATL, ASP, VBScript, relational databases, OOP client/server environment, PowerBuilder, WSDL, ASP .Net, Signal Processing, Microsoft Speech Application SDK, SALT, ADO.NET, JScript, C#, XML/XSLT, streaming codecs, Rtsp, multicast, Unicast, DVB, Routers, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11a, wireless, Linux Kernel, Rational CASE tool suite, UML, Mercury QuickTest, WinRunner, TestDirector, OOP, automated test scripts, VS.Net, WebSphere IDEs, ClearCase, InfoSec and computer forensics, ClearQuest, Robot. J2EE, SDLC guideline, distributed client-server architectures, radar, IPSec, TLS/SSL, SSH, PGP, network virtualization, MIL-STD 498, ColdFusion MX, VCODEX/Vcdiff, dgwin, SourceSafe, JBuilder, UI/HCI, monolithic kernel, scalable web-based systems, XML Schema, SNMP, CLI/SSH. TCL/EXPECT, HTTPS, NDIS, LDAP, DirectX 8/9, OpenGL. W3C, Apache, IIS, ARM processors, Cryptography, real-time digital signal processing software, MRCP protocols, N-Tiered architectures, Artificial Intelligence, FDA QSR, multithreaded applications, automation algorithms, surface surveillance software, software defined radio, JTRS Cluster 5

SOFTWARE LANGUAGES: C, C++, XML, UML, Ada, Visual C++, Visual Basic, Visual C++, Assembly 80x86, 680x0, JAVA, JavaScript, php, J2EE, JSP, Servlets, JavaBeans, AWT, Swing, JDBC, Ada, Assembler, PLM, C++ with MFC, Ada/VHDL, 80386 Assembly, SQL, PL/SQL, Transact-SQL, VC++ (6.0), MFC, DHTML, Perl, C++/STL, S-Plus, IA-32 assembler, Java/J2EE, ActiveX, Metrowerks, C/Java/Perl/VB, JDBC, EJB entity beans, embedded SQL, UNICODE, QNX, Matlab, SML, Ptolemy, visualSTATE/ST, embedded software JVMs, C programming using pSOS or VxWorks

ELECTRICAL & HARDWARE ENGINEERING JOBS: DSP, electromagnetic, IC hardware, Motorola HC08, Microchip PIC, Intel 8051, Centrino, acoustic, RF signal analysis, IR signal analysis, BlueTooth, display systems, avionics, MIL-STD-1553B data bus, space surveillance, enhanced Single Board Computer (eSBC), HOL (Ada/C), Command, Telemetry & Control Unit (CTCU), set-top boxes, robotics, FPGA, ASIC, radar/lidar signal processing, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), packaging, charge-coupled devices (CCD), EDACS, active-pixel sensors, A/D, analog/digital converters, digital, RF transceivers, signal-processing ASICs, power ASIC, microelectromechanical (MEMs), multi-modal coupling, spatial temporal filtering, noise and clutter modeling, RF deterministic modeling, stochastic analysis, payload, HW/SW partitioning, optical data communication, digital servo system design, EO/IR, tactical reconnaissance, digital video, HDTV, printers, imaging systems, electronic warfare, power supplies, MILSATCOM, analog, computer security, secure interoperability, Embedded Systems Software Development, Motorola 68K/683XX, MPC8XX and PPCXXX, PLD, CPLD, routers, switches, C3I, C4I, C4ISR, WBS, CAIV, EVMS, IMP/IMS, RAID, ATM, HiPPI, WAN, FibreChannel, Gigabit Ethernet, VHDL, VLSI, optical encoders, X-Band Radar, Tempest, AISR, cryptographic modules, FPGA, PLD, VHDL, embedded programming, avionics, algorithms, pulse Doppler Radar, FFT processing, SCSI device programming, clutter range fold-over, factors limiting clutter cancellation, target velocity, range ambiguities, CFAR detection, Countermeasures, survivable network enabled military communications payload, CPLDs, threat mission environments, SSGN, Fire Control, tactical computer interfaces, space and intelligence systems, robotic/UGV, modeling algorithms, JDEP, seeker and sensor, tactical unmanned, image processing, sensor fusion, launch and space systems, IMINT, SIGINT, OSINT, defense, I-Base, MDITDS, AMHS, RCS testing and analysis, switch-mode power electronics, fixed point and mobile wireless data applications, flow transmitters and sensors, high rate laser communications, attack/intrusion detection software, deep-submicron digital and mixed-signal SOI-CMOS, three-dimensionally stacked circuits, SERDES, digital or analog CMOS electrical circuits, full-custom mixed-signal standard cell digital or microwave, CMOS active pixel sensors, pin photodiode arrays, avalanche photodiode arrays, ultra low-power 180-nm fully depleted SOI CMOS circuits, low-noise broad-band focal planes, laser radar, optical remote sensing, DSP algorithms, DC/DC converters, PLDs, power control electronics, board-level electronic design, embedded microcontroller applications, LCD, high speed digital design or RF design, power supply design, communication bus interfaces, electromagnetic compatibility, FPGA development experience (VHDL, Altera or Xilinx), RF and digital design, integration and test, mechanical design for electronic and thermal packaging, control and distribution equipment for 50Hz, 60Hz, 400Hz and DC systems, power control electronics, DC/DC switchmode design, software defined radio, JTRS Cluster 5, TELINT, MASINT, IMINT

RF ENGINEERING JOBS: microwave and milimeter wave, 2.4 GHz to 5.8 GHz, hybrid Satcom terrestrial networks, film bulk acoustic resonators (FBAR), active/passive RF electronics, analyze RF modulation circuits, antenna engineer with apertures and radiators, VLF, Lower L Band, HF, high frequency, VHF, UHF, SHF, EHF, X band, advanced modulation/demod techniques, QAM, QPSK, FSK, DOCSIS, transceiver, MEMS-based RF switches, MMWave, RF SETA, ADS, AWR, SONET, satcom, GPS, TMS, TDMA, LNA, PLL, SA Radar, circuit design/simulation, antenna pattern design measurement, 2 GHz/5 GHz, RFIC, RF IC, system design & development, film bulk acoustic resonators (FBAR), RF MEMS, A/D converters, high-density digital/high-performance RF boards, microwave circuit interconnects, RF packaging, synthesizers, antenna, antenna steering, antenna arrays, IC Antenna Modules, Adaptive Blind Signal Processing, WCDMA, CDMA, 3G, 3.5G, direct sequence spread spectrum, COMINT, RF simulation and modeling, algorithmic frequency hopping, low power spectral density, GSM, DCS 1800, low orbit satellite, UMTS, multi-band MMIC, SDR, software defined radios, RF software, RF firmware, spectrally efficient RF systems, propogation analysis, anti jam, narrowband, SIGINT, wireless, 802.11g, 802.11a, 802.11 a/b, 802.11b, 802.11e, 802.11n, mixed signal, RF encrypted networks, Wi-Fi 802.11abg, EMC/EMI, access points, RFIC, cordless, SE/SI implementation, RF printed circuit layout, DSS, error control coding/simulating algorithms and link modeling, certified module embedder (CME), RF Transmission Systems, numerically controlled oscillators, electromagnetic characterization, waveguides, combiners, remote sensing, scramblers, descramblers, signal transmission equipment, microwave components, subsystems, microwave relay equipment, ferrite microwave components, microwave components, satellite communications equipment, comsat components, satellite delay compensation, satellite launch and guidance systems, CMIP/CMIS, TMN, telemetry tracking, troposcatter, iDEN, RF capacity planning, satellite transmission, digital HR radio/avionics, develops RF system architecture, RF design and GSM optimization, earth stations, space stations, receiver module redesign, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), repeaters, base stations, C3I, C4I, C4ISR, radar, aviation, Multi-Beam Antennas, RF amplifiers, RF multi-frequency feed assemblies, TCM studies, COTM, microwave RF circuits, SATCOM, synthesizers, modulators, receiver front ends, attenuators, up/down-converters, filters, MIC subsystems, RF traffic management and spectrum analysis, ILS/IFF, RF Spectrum Analysis, RF subsystems, antenna sub-system to RF front end, RF emitter, RF power amplifier topologies Class E, Class D, DFx, RF active device circuit design, discrete RF power amplifiers, RF MEMS devices, RF/Analog assemblies, wireless encrypted networking, anti-jamming communications, SINCGARS, lumped-element filters, TDRSS interface definition, RF subsystems - receiver, transmitter and synthesizer chains, EDACS, intermodulation studies, high density digital high-performance RF packaging, radar systems operating at S-band, C-band or X-band, integrated broadband RF Systems on a chip, RF GSM optimization, GPRS, EDGE, 3G technologies, microwave circuit design, 3D electromagnetic design, microwave stripline circuits, RF design/analysis, RF T&M equipment, RF vector modulators, frequency conversion architectures, high dynamic range RF amplifiers, DSP algorithms, satellite TV, broadband access systems, RF test, debug and IC verification, non-linearities and spurious performance, low noise oscillator design, resonator driven oscillators, ADS RF design tools, parasitic extraction, Wireless Design Suite, dBPlanner, Planet, Bluetooth, GSM/GPRS Network, TANO KPI tools, Wizard, SETRAM XP GSM, Schema AFP (Automatic Frequency Planning), Voice over IP packet through GPRS, RF optimization, OSS and BSS platforms, HALT, HASS and Life testing, over-the-air interface protocols, antenna interference, Eagleware design software, digital RF processing, NEXCOM, static DC offset, filter response, compression, third order intermodulation, power amplifier topologies (Class E, Class D), DFx, FMEA, Microwave Office, HPM analytical and test research, RF/microwave and millimeter-wave designs, Quad Band GSM/GPRS, L band, S band, ISM band, IRIG, pHEMT, iHBT, diplexers, GaAs MMIC, wideband LNA, MOCVD epitaxial wafer, dual, tri or quad-band GSM & DCS/PCS handsets, TO-8, connectorized, surface mount packages, telemetry, voltage variable attenuators, GaAs MMIC, 2G/2.5G, WLAN and CATV, VSAT, MMIC MESFET RF and control chips, circulators and isolators for GSM, PCS and UMTS 3G base station, RF software defined radio, JTRS Cluster 5, UMTS, 4G, LTE, WiMAX

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING JOBS: solid modeling, high precision assemblies, large machined structural weldments, geometric tolerancing, feature control, FEA, FMECA, AutoCAD, Catia, Unigraphics, Pro/E, static and fatigue structural analyses, finite element, hybrid assembly processes, space systems design, fabrication, electronic packaging, sensors, pneumatics, non-destructive testing, mechanics, plastics, hydraulics, piping, sheet metal structures, material finishes, fabricated metal components and mechanisms, rapid prototyping, defense, SolidWorks, ProEngineer, root cause analysis, ceramics, automated machines, fixtures, jigs, tooling, passive RF assemblies, electromechanical devices, mechanisms, thermal systems, fluid dynamics, metal fabrication design, Mentor Graphics, PADS, CATIA V5, SDRC IDEAS, high density rigid-flex PWBs, Inventor, MasterCam, fluid power, structural design, weldments, heat treating, shafts, enclosure design, plastic parts design, injection molding, communications, combat systems, battlefield digitization, electro-optics, power conversion, digital imaging, flight safety, hydraulic and temperature measuring devices, avionics, HVAC design, heat load analysis, psychrometrics, valves, pumps, piping, heat exchangers, pneumatic envelopes, castings, FMEAs and design reviews, product engineering, high volume production, rapid prototyping, polymers, elastomers, ANSYS, electromechanical interfaces, sheetmetal design, mechanisums, solenoids, actuators, small motor driven devices, rigid and soft plastic material molded parts, machined parts, adhesive systems, cyanoacrylates, epoxies, fabricated metal components, tooling and fixtures, turbines, turbomachinery, renewable energy, green energy, solar energy, wind energy, AP RP560, P&ID development, prototype chassis subassemblies, high volume manufacturing, aluminum die cast parts, high volume consumer products, motherboards, hard drives/DVD and chassis, consumer electronics packaging, high volume manufacturing materials, Mechanical Desktop, acoustic fatigue, Lean Engineering (model based definition, determinant assembly), Unigraphics V16, embedded controls, Matlab/Simulink/Real-time Workshop, dSPACE, xPCtarget, dynamics modeling, Mechatronics, CFD, I-deas, solids modeling, design for six sigma, plastics forming, molding, stampings, fastening, ISO-9001/ISO-9000, Pro/E, Pro-Intralink, Unigraphics 2-D and 3-D, CATIA, IGES, DXF, DWG, STL, Green Belt certification, xPCtarget, system dynamics modeling, kinematics, thermodynamics

SYSTEM ENGINEERING & PROGRAM MANAGEMENT JOBS: space based IR systems, digital video, MPEG4, Digital and Demand services, systems modeling and analysis, statistics/error modeling, tactical communications, internetworking, pharmaceutical, IQ, OQ, PQ and PV validation protocols, Regulatory Affairs, digital systems architecture, Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3), survivability, GUI application development and DLL creation, exploitation algorithms, commissioning, COMINT, PROFORMA, FISINT broadband, SCADA, control systems integration, hyper spectral radiometry, multi or hyperultraspecial image processing and analysis, remote sensing systems, intelligence, mission management, risk mitigation plans, radar AMTI/GMTI/SAR image formation, electronic warfare including SIGINT, ELINT, design trades/analysis, flowing down system requirements, configuration management of hardware/software, distributed processing, data warehousing, task analysis/definition and resource allocation, system vulnerabilities, mission management, configuration/data management (CM/DM), algorithms, CAIV, simulation and modeling tools, ASIC and advanced packaging

NETWORK ENGINEERING JOBS: Netware 5.1 & 6, NT 4 & Windows 2000 Servers, TCP/IP, wireless, 802.11g, 802.11a/b, Xyplex, SIMPACT, HDLC, UDP, SNMP, WAN, encrypted, encryption, security, ethernet, sockets, giga ethernet, T1, T3, Firewall, Router, DSLAM, ATM, MPLS, Frame Relay, SONET, TDM, IP, ATM, Cisco, Promina, operational and performance requirements, OPNET or NS2, HTTP, IPX/SPX, 3G, UMTS, WAP, VoIP, GSM, UMTS, GPRS, TDMA, 802.11b

QUALITY ASSURANCE ENGINEERING JOBS: Black-box and white-box testing, QA Manager, Silk, SQA Robot, Winrunner, Test Director, QA Partner, Rational Visual Test, SQA Test Log Viewer, SQA Comparators, black belt, Six Sigma, ISO9001

CLEARANCES: Secret, Top Secret, Top Secret SCI, Top Secret EBI, Top Secret Poly, TS/EBI, TS/SBI, TS/SCI, SCI accesses, ISSA Lifestyle Poly, Top Secret SSBI, Top Secret CISP, Top Secret SAP, TS/SSBI, Top secret SCI full scope polygraph, DOE L, DOE Q, IRS-MBI, NATO Secret, DOJ NACI

DEGREES: BSEE, BS Electrical Engineering, B.S.E.E., MSEE, MS Electrical Engineering, M.S.E.E., PhD, Ph.D., D.Sc.,BS Computer Science, BSCS, B.S.C.S., BS Computer Engineering, BSCE, BS Mechanical Engineering, BSME, B.S.M.E., BS Physics, BS Math, MBA, M.B.A., BS Aeronautical Engineering, BS Materials, BS Biomedical, MSEE, MSCS, MS Mechanical Engineering