That is what Kathi Miller-Miller realized after she was fired. It is a shocking experience for anyone who goes through it. You question your own values and self worth.
Miller was a business professional, a manager for 25 years, who helped other people with their careers. For her, getting fired was the best thing that could have happened. Although she didn’t realize it at the time.
“I was looking for some new up to date information about how to search for jobs,” Miller says, “But the book I was looking for wasn’t out there — so I wrote it.”
Miller picked herself up, pulled her shoulders back, and moved ahead with her writing, which morphed into a booming website, www.kathimillermiller.com where she offers free career tips and advice.
She found that she still had the confidence to add value in the business world, despite the fact that her earlier employer didn’t see it — at the time.
Miller likes to challenge her readers to “take their power back” by considering if they are getting equal loyalty from their employer that they are offering. “Loyalty,” she says, “is a two way street. Far too many times employees stay on that corporate train even if it is heading for a brick wall.”
Finding your passion and making it part of your everyday life is a big part of what Miller writes about. “It really comes down to finding the intersection of your passion and your values.”
That intersection has proven very successful for Miller, both in her writing and on LinkedIn, a site she doesn’t use strictly as a networking tool. She says she starts and ends her days there interacting with like-minded people, building community, and expanding her personal brand as a career coach and author.
“I really encourage people to get on LinkedIn,” Miller says. “The reality is none of us ever know when we are going to be looking for a job and you can’t create a network overnight.”
She has found new passion and inspiration in the work she is doing today. None of this would have been possible had she not heard those dreaded two words.
Carey Pena: Hi everyone. I’m Carey Pena. Thank you so much for being here. Our guest today is LinkedIn guru and author of Your Journey: From Fired to Hired, Kathi Miller. Hi, Kathi.
Kathi Miller: Hi, Carey. How are you today?
Carey Pena: Good. I’m so excited to talk with you because you have incredible information to share with our listeners. A lot of what you write about in your book, in your blogs, and on LinkedIn is how people can take control of their careers. Let’s start with two words that no one ever wants to hear, “You’re fired.” We’ve heard Donald Trump say that many times over the years.
You tell people what matters is what you do now. You tell people that you have to see that it is the time to move forward. So, how do you walk people through that journey in your book?
Kathi Miller: Well, that’s a great question, Carey. And a little bit of a back story, the reason I wrote the book is that I actually was fired. I was a business professional, a manager for 25 years helping other people with their careers, but I was looking for some new up to date information on how to search for jobs. The book that I wanted to buy wasn’t out there, so I wrote it. I’ve had just really phenomenal feedback from folks that were in that situation. And one of the biggest…
Carey Pena: Let me just ask you quickly, I just want to ask you on that subject, after you were fired, psychologically how did you pull yourself out of that bad place and kind of get motivated for yourself?
Kathi Miller: That was the biggest problem. For me, Carey, I was very lucky. For some people, maybe it’s a matter of financial distress, right? I didn’t have that financial distress. I had a little bit of a nest egg, so to speak. But yeah, emotionally, I was a type A over-achiever. The kind of person that what I found through research and going through it personally, fear of getting fired, maybe every day of their life because they think it equates to failure.
Some of the first things I had to do was to accept and to realize that it wasn’t failure. I didn’t fail as a person. I maybe failed to meet somebody else’s expectations, but that didn’t mean that I can’t bring value to people, to companies, to my family, and to myself. So that was the very first thing, putting my head back, my shoulders back, and still being proud, and still have the confidence that I could provide value on a business situation.
Carey Pena: One of the things I really love about your writing is that you encourage people to do more than just look for jobs. You encourage people to really craft opportunities for themselves that are valuable, and that bring them joy, and so that they feel like they’re contributing to something that matters, and I think that is such an important concept.
Carey Pena: You write so many interesting blogs on your site, by the way, and your site is kathimillermiller.com. So, what happened Kathi Miller, you married a guy named Miller?
Kathi Miller: I did actually, yes. And how boring is that, right? Every young girl practices writing a new name, and not me, I’ve written the same name forever. But I never went by any hyphenation until after I wrote the book and started blogging, and as you might guess, the URL kathimiller wasn’t available, but kathimillermiller was, so here I am.
Carey Pena: And I did a lot of reading on your site, kathimillermiller.com, and one of the blogs that really caught my attention, I want to go through this. It is titled, Does Your Employer Deserve Your Loyalty. So, you start out by saying, “Young kids can teach us a thing or two.” And you talk about the millennials, how they sometimes get a bad rap for job-hopping, but you say really there’s a good reason for that, because you talk about how more people are thinking about whether or not your employer actually deserves your loyalty. I want to go through some of the bullet points, Kathi, that you break out in this blog because they’re great ones.
So, you present this list of things that people should think about, when it comes to how much your employer deserves your loyalty. The first you list is broken promises, is there poor communication, is there company instability, limited developmental opportunities, misguided management, meager leadership, no passion for you, or for them, lack of trust, poor business strategy, limited vision. So, all of these things you say are indicators of potential danger. Talk to me about that.
Kathi Miller: Yes Carey, an, you know, it’s like anything else, if you have one of those situations, it may not be the end of the world, right? That might be a blip. But certainly, if you start seeing three, or four, or five of those things, what I really want to challenge my readers to do is to stop and intentionally consider if they are getting equal loyalty back from the employer that they are offering to the employer. And if it’s, you know, loyalty is a two way street. It just has to be, whether it’s in a relationship, a marriage, or an employment situation. I think far too many times, employees stay on that corporate train, even if it’s heading for a brick wall, and you just can’t do that anymore.
Carey Pena: Why is that? Just because, are we just in so many cases, you know, obviously people have financial obligations, and it’s scary to jump off that train.
Kathi Miller: It is.
Carey Pena: So, what kind of advice do you give to your readers?
Kathi Miller: Well, in this particular case the first thing I say is, “If you’re getting equal loyalty that you’re giving, and you do see career opportunities, and you are having trust and communication, then maybe you just work your way through it.” But certainly, if you’re in a situation, let’s say, maybe Carey, you have a leader, a manager, a direct manager, or even your corporate CEO officer, and they just don’t have any vision, right? One of the most important things for any business to succeed is a strategic vision. You just can’t, you can’t last forever without that.
So, if you’re in a situation where you have a company that isn’t exhibiting any vision, and add to that perhaps, maybe they told you they’d give you a raise in 90 days, or if you made it through this first year without a salary increase they’d hit you the next year, and they don’t do that, then maybe the next thing that comes in is you find that the management is misguided, you know? Maybe there’s miscommunication even between the managers. Suddenly those things start to add up and you’ve got to look out for yourself and say, “You know what? It is scary to take that step out, but maybe it’s scary to stay here, too.”
Ultimately a lot of times what I find when I’m coaching folks is that they’re so afraid to take that step, right? But so many times that can lead to phenomenal better opportunities for them, once they just make that move, and start looking and networking and talking to other folks.
Carey Pena: Well, I love that you put no passion. Is there a lack of passion for you. or for your employer, because I really think that’s so important. So much of what you’re talking about is the opportunity for us to evolve in our jobs, and my totally unscientific research has shown me that being able to evolve keeps you, and whether that’s financially, do you have the opportunity to move up with your salary, do you have the opportunity to learn new things, to apply your skills in different areas, I find that the people who are in situations where they are evolving, they’re learning, they’re growing, they’re staying passionate.
Kathi Miller: You know, as I often tell folks, we get one shot at life. And people that say, “Well, I’ve only got seven more years ’til I can retire.” Okay. That’s 2,200 days that you’re just giving up by going through the paces, and it’s just so important to stay passionate and engaged, you’re right. Whether it’s your leadership, whether it’s your personal interests, or even just growing yourself through increasing your skills. And I do believe that finding a job somebody loves, and I have a lot of content about that on my site, and also in My Journey from Fired to Hired, the book I published, how to find that job that you love, that you’re passionate about.
There’s a lot of really helpful tools out there, if you’re in a job and you’re going through the paces, don’t think that, you know, don’t be overwhelmed thinking it’s hard to figure that out. There’s resources, great resources, out there to help you. There’s also a lot of them on my website, too, Carey, they’re totally free of charge.
Carey Pena: I want to say that, by the way, I love that you just put it all out there. You’re not like, “Hey, I’ve got this great piece of advice, opt-in, give me five bucks and I’ll give it to you.” You really share a lot of information which I appreciate. Can you give me a couple of examples, when you talk about, in particular your book, From Fired to Hired, I’d imagine after you get fired, you do a little soul-searching and you think about the next steps. How do you go about, and how do you coach people to go about, identifying what is your passion for the next phase?
Kathi Miller: Great question. One of the first things when you get fired, and when I work with folks that get fired, is that I tell them to breathe. The second thing is that nine times out of ten there’s some sort of accountability we can take. Something we could’ve maybe done better, maybe we showed loyalty when we shouldn’t have, you know? Maybe they went through a reduction in headcount, those sorts of things. So, the first thing you’ve got to do is kind of work through some of that psychological stuff before you could even begin to find a job that you love, right? Because you’ve got to be in a healthy, optimistic place. It really comes down to finding the intersection of your passion, and your values.
Again, like I said, there are some great tools out there where you can take and put value identifications up. You know, is money the most important thing to you, is family the most important thing, is constant career growth, is having a job that you could do remotely? Maybe it’s a job that allows you to move around the country. Not that any two people will have the exact same value structure, right?
So, the first thing you have to do is lineup, okay, this is the most important thing to me. Everybody’s so busy in life, right? I think I shared with you earlier that, I don’t know about you, but I have ten, fifteen lists at all times in my phone, where I have everything I need to do. And I’m not special, I’m not any more unique than you are, Carey, or your listeners are. And so what happens, is it just easier to do the status quo, and just continue to go through. But it’s so important, if you really want to have that well-rounded and fulfilled life, to make sure your value string does match up. Then the other thing is, do you have the skill set necessary to do your job that you love, okay? So, maybe I want to be an opera singer, that’s the job that I know I would love. But if I can’t sing, [inaudible 00:10:50].
Carey Pena: You’re not going to be standing next to Andrea Bocelli anytime soon.
Kathi Miller: Maybe there’s a reason I’m not an opera singer.
Carey Pena: Kathi, you are huge on LinkedIn. You’ve had a very successful run. Tell me some of the secrets to your success on LinkedIn, and why you think people should be active on, what’s the purpose, and what kind of content should people be looking to put on LinkedIn?
Kathi Miller: Yeah, LinkedIn has been phenomenal for me. And there’s a couple of key tips, you know, obviously the first one is to comment on people’s threads, and that sort of stuff, so there’s no real new topic there, Carey, but one of the things that has been really good for me on LinkedIn, is the ability to take and interact with other like-minded people through groups. I would really encourage people, if they’re not already in some group activity, to get in there and find one, and that’s where you really get some great synergies going on.
The other thing is, if there’s not a group on the topic you’re interested in, create one. There’s nothing that says you can’t have a group, again, back of, people that want to be opera singers that can’t sing. I don’t know how many people you’d get in that, but my point is, you could. So creating a group or participating in a group is absolutely huge. But one of the other things I really, really encourage people to do with LinkedIn, oftentimes people think, “Well, if I’m not looking for a job, I don’t need to be on LinkedIn.” And that is such, such a professional mistake. For two reasons. First of all, none of us ever know when we’re going to be looking for a job, you know? Downsizing happens, companies go out of business, and so … And the other thing is, you can’t create a network overnight. It takes time to get in, and to forge those relationships, and build those relationships. The third thing is, quite honestly, it’s just a fantastic way for personal growth and development.
Carey Pena: Yeah.
Kathi Miller: I don’t look at LinkedIn as just a networking tool, it’s so much more than that. It’s where I start and end every day.
Carey Pena: It’s the building of your community, and that’s always beneficial for all of us. So, Kathi, since you are living proof of going from fired to hired, you’ve kind of created your own journey, you’ve written your own story here. What do you identify as being the secret to your success for getting where you were, in that moment of being fired, to where you are today?
Kathi Miller: Probably just personal drive, and the belief just really down deep in my soul, Carey, that even in that darkest hour, when I heard those two dreaded words, I knew I still had things to give. I knew I could still help people, and I had a passion that I just, I ended up finding a new way to share my passion, I guess, quite honestly. I went from face-to-face coaching in corporate environments to jumping online, doing podcasts like today, I’ve done a couple virtual career summits, and I absolutely love it. It’s a new way of thinking, which is embracing, it’s keeping my mind growing. All the technology has been phenomenal for me to be kind of proud of the fact, oh wow, I can do this, you know?
Carey Pena: Yeah.
Kathi Miller: It’s pretty cool. And I’ve gone from writing a book that I never expected to, to having a website that I get almost 10,000 visitors a month on, that I’m helping, instead of maybe 20 or 30 people on my old team, you know, face-to-face, in the day, now I can help unlimited number of people, and so that’s been incredibly awarding.
Carey Pena: Well, and I hope you don’t mind me saying this, because I know you’ve blogged about your age, but you’re post 50, right? And I think that that’s an important thing to talk about because, you know, I mean, you still continue to find a new mojo every day, and you’re operating in this progressive digital world, and I think that’s really cool.
Kathi Miller: Well, thank you. I am past 50, post 50, only by about a month, but I am in the club.
Carey Pena: I love that you embrace that. You know, we only have a few seconds left, but I always like to ask everyone, what personally inspires you, Kathi?
Kathi Miller: What personally inspires me? Wow. That’s a great question to end on. Getting better every day, you know? My favorite quote that I have in my office, very visible, is, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” And if I had to summarize my motivation, I think that’s it.
Carey Pena: I love that. Kathi Miller, you are an awesome lady, and I really encourage people to go to your site, kathimillermiller.com, because you pump out so much content, and it’s good content, it’s valuable content, and I think that’s a big part of the reason why you are so successful. We loved having you on the show today, Kathi, thank you so much.
Kathi Miller: Thank you so much, Carey, and appreciate all to your listeners as well.
Carey Pena: Thanks everyone for listening, and you can find us at inspiredmedia360.com. Today’s show was produced and engineered by Shannon Hernandez, brought to you by Inspired Media 360. Until next time, stay inspired.