Interview: Noel Allison

This week, we’re introducing you to Noel Allison. Since she started her career in 2008, she’s had a bit of a rough time as far as career transitions go. We talked with Noel about what it was like going through two layoffs in just a few years’ time, and she offered some great advice on getting through such stressful times.


4word: I hear you’ve been through quite a few career transitions in a short amount of time. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

Noel: After graduating from Texas A&M in 2008, I started my career as a consultant for the healthcare and manufacturing industries. When the economy took a hit in 2009, I went through my first lay-off.

Next, I found a job at Parkland Hospital as a business analyst. I used my consulting skills to work with the hospital staff and my business background to work on the revenue and billing side. I was promoted to a process improvement project manager, where I could keep helping my fellow business analysts, while stretching out into the world of information technology.

In the fall of 2011, GE Healthcare asked me to join their team as an implementations project manager. Since this was a great move for my career, I jumped on board. Three months later, they decided to shut down my product line. This was devastating, but I picked right up and found another position within three weeks. I will now be the project manager for LHP Hospital Group.

4word: When you went through that first layoff in 2009, what went through your head? And what was it like to experience a second layoff just three years later? 

Noel: In 2009, my first thought was, “How am I going to pay bills?” I considered moving back home with my parents, but I have too much independence to do that. Instead, I started looking for odd jobs to get me by until I found a new position in my field.

Unfortunately, since I had not been employed for long at my first entry-level position, it was much more difficult to get hired again. I searched through all the job sites and then remembered some of my former clients. I wasn’t under a non-compete clause from my old consulting firm, so I went after those businesses. I ended up in the perfect position at Parkland, but I was definitely in panic mode until then.

In 2012, my first thought was, “I just got engaged, I have a house, and I have to support my family!” I was at a very different point in life, and I thought about everyone who was depending on me. However, I’d been through this before and knew not to panic this time. I had a sense of peace because, every time I have transitioned, God had a handle on things.

I got out there and looked for the position I wanted: to be a project manager in the healthcare industry. Knowing exactly what I wanted to do, the area I wanted to be in and the compromises I wasn’t willing to make made this search much easier. I also had the experience to back up my confidence level when I talked to companies. I have been very blessed to move up at each transition in my life, but it was not always the easiest road to take.

4word: So what’s your secret to progressing in your career even through layoffs?

Noel: My secret is to be determined, know what you want, what you need and what you will not sacrifice and have confidence. But the most important thing is to have faith, patience, peace and understanding that God knows what is best. He has a plan for you, and He will lead you down it. After going through all of this, I know for sure God had me in His hand the entire time!

4word: What advice can you offer to any of our readers who might be going through a similar experience to yours?

Noel: Don’t panic! I know that is easier said than done, but it makes everything harder on you and your family. Stay poised, determined and faithful. Do something for yourself everyday that will help keep your stress level under control.

Every time this has happened, it has been scary but so worth it in the end. I have come out in a better position for my career, my family and my health/happiness. I wouldn’t have done it on my own, so it goes with my philosophy on life: “There is a REASON for EVERYTHING!”

4word: Anything else you want to add?

Noel: I am very blessed to have a supportive family around me. I hope that people going through this do too. But if you don’t, find a group of friends at church or activities that you enjoy to surround yourself with the good. Keep your mind on the positive things, because it could always be worse. God has always had a plan for my life, even when I didn’t believe Him, so I know He has a plan for everyone out there. That is what gives me peace through the hard times.