Facilitating a Positive Career Transition

Secrets From a Reluctant Expert


Matt Durfee, president of Navigator Executive Advisors, uses his own experiences to help others in the often-overwhelming process of job searching.


It happens to many of us at one time or another in our careers. Our employer lets us go without any warning or the company needs to downsize, and we find ourselves without income or self-esteem. Because it happened to one particular executive from the Orlando area, a new company was formed and an award-winning book was written.

Matt Durfee, president of Navigator Executive Advisors, was vice president of human resources for Centex Homes when the housing bubble burst in 2006. In a very short amount of time, he went from recruiting and training employees to being unemployed and searching for a job.

The first thing you have to do is “get over the shock, anger and depression that accompany the job loss,” Durfee said.

That is where the idea for Navigator Executive Advisors began. Durfee found that he quickly became a “reluctant expert” in the job search process. He began advising others in similar situations to his.

Soon he was writing materials to improve the capacity of those in search of a position to “increase their ability to land on their feet faster and in a better job than they could have found on their own.”

Navigator Executive Advisors is not a job search or recruitment agency. The company’s main role in the employment market is called outplacement. Companies that “really care” about the employees they must let go as a result of downsizing or moving their facilities hire Navigator Executive Advisors to assist their displaced staff with a successful career transition. The training offered becomes part of their severance package. Recently Hostess Brands, bakers of Twinkies, was a client. Navigator handled the coaching of all employees from frontline, non-managerial positions to high-level executives.

“Of course the process is consistent from the lowest to highest level of employee, although the delivery method may change for each audience,” Durfee said. “The complexity of the program increases the higher up the ladder you go.”

The process begins with the ousted employee understanding to not take the job loss personally and realize the future is brighter because of the service in which he is participating. The counseling covers everything from acceptance of the situation to the preparation for the job search phase.

In addition to comprehensive and participative two-day career-transition workshops that can be delivered anywhere in the U.S. and Canada, participants benefit from one-on-one coaching from a professional career adviser. Navigator utilizes the expertise of 140 career advisers in all employment fields, offering “valuable perspective” while servicing in excess of 1,000 employees each year.

Navigator also provides individualized executive-to-executive career-transition support that leverages real world knowledge of what organizations and executive search companies look for when hiring top-tier leadership talent.

Highly effective and economical, the Navigator Institute is an interactive, online series of programs and resources designed to support displaced employees in remote or geographically dispersed locations. The online system is available anytime and anywhere.

The genesis of Durfee’s book, The Job Search Navigator, evolved from “a ton of content” in the training materials provided at his workshops, Navigator Institute resources and a column Durfee wrote for the American Business Journal titled Job Search Secrets from a Reluctant Expert. It is a book that “honestly and candidly” shares Durfee’s own experiences being in the shoes of a job-seeker and provides a how-to process that “is inspirational and offers a more affordable way to launch an effective job search.”

In fact, The Job Search Navigator won an award given by the Independent Book Publishers Association in the Business & Career category. Ten percent of the book’s proceeds are donated annually to Durfee’s graduate school alma mater, Michigan State University’s School of Human Resources and Labor Relations.

When not climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, as Durfee will be doing when this article goes to press, he can be found at Navigator Executive Advisors’ corporate headquarters, located in Suite 301 at 7065 Westpointe Blvd. in Orlando.

For more information about all aspects of Navigator Executive Advisors’ services, visit www.navexec.com. Signed book copies may be ordered by emailing info@navexec.com.

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