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Posts Tagged ‘CBS Early Show’

I’m very blessed to have a husband who loves me enough to confront me. After word about my upcoming return to the Kittery, Maine, school system as a 60% 7-12 Technology Integrator for MLTI was revealed in last Sunday’s paper, I got asked lots of questions. My husband was in earshot as I told the back story. This happened repeatedly as I saw folks after church and at an afternoon concert, all of whom had either seen the article or noticed my updates on LinkedIn and FaceBook.

Monday morning, he asked me if I were grateful to be going back to work. “Of course,” I replied. “Well, you don’t sound it,” was his response. I was dumbfounded.  He continued, “You sound as if getting called back to Kittery is somehow not good enough.” As we talked further, he replayed how I had sounded the previous day. I realized that I had not sounded grateful and was downplaying the successful end of my journey.

With tears now coming down my face, I told him I felt that all my hard work with informational interviews, follow-up phone calls, opportunity on national TV with CBS, professional evaluation of my resume, networking, dozens and dozens and dozens of applications, a bunch of interviews (and later rejections), probably a half-dozen newspaper articles in two different local papers, facilitating an employment support group … and here I was. The ONLY reason I was not still in the job search game was because a position had been created in my former district for which I had recall rights. All my work was for naught … Heck, even Harry Smith had told me, “I’d hire you in a minute,” after my first interview on the Early Show. And 18 months after that experience, the BEST I could do was a contractual call back.

I AM A FAILURE!

That was the root of it! That’s what had been making me sound ungrateful as I told people the latest chapter in my story.

I AM A FAILURE!

By now, of course, I was blathering and my nose was running. I realized that lack of self-esteem was sneaking up behind me and wrapping me with a 2×4, coloring everything that had gone on in my life with the color of failure, taking the beautiful rainbow of new experiences and new friends and making it fade to black.

Bob kindly (yet most strongly) put his hands on my shoulders and reminded me that I was far from a failure. I had taken many risks through my two years of unemployment, there had to be a reason that CBS picked me to follow, I stepped out of my comfort zone repeatedly in going to networking meetings, I had been interviewed a bunch of times and the reasons I was not hired had nothing to do with my capabilities, I started Seacoast Peers for Careers and had helped many other folks, I would be filling a real void in teacher support that had exists for 24 months

He further reminded me that not only was I going to be working back in education (my first love), I would be back again in MLTI, that I had tried my wings teaching Communications for CoLead at UNH and brought a social media component to the curriculum. AND, as time had gone one, I had indicated that part-time employment in something I loved would be the best that could happen.

And it had …

I heard his words and started to laugh through my tears. I didn’t completely believe it yet but did acknowledge how happy I would have been if one of my colleagues from Peers for Careers had had a similar experience in returning to work. Why was it less for me?

Yet again, the specter of lack of self-esteem was right there to come and take my joy.

Does it ever stop? Do we always second guess ourselves and think less of ourselves than we really are?

Fortunately, I have Bob to challenge me to get past those feelings.

Fortunately, also counteracting those failure feelings were some great comments I received on LinkedIn and FaceBook and from those who had written me after getting their own jobs, some of which I share with you here:

  • “Congratulations! I was so happy to see that you just accepted a new position as I was looking over my LinkedIn updates. I really enjoyed attending the Seacoast Worker meetings last summer/fall and really appreciated all the support and help the group offered during my job search. Congratulations again – the Kittery School Department is so lucky to have you!” – K.

  • “Just saw your update on LinkedIn..glad to hear you’re back doing what you like to do. Best of luck.” – M.

  • “And, most importantly, thanks for everything.  Your group (and the other I attended) was awesome and helped a great deal.  Not only did I get some technical help (resumes, interviewing, etc.) but, more importantly, it was a huge emotional and mental lift for me.  Again, thanks for everything.  Please know that you have helped a lot of people with this.” – E.

  • “Just got around to checking out the front page of Foster’s!! You’ve become a favorite spokesperson for unemployment concerns.” – M.

  • “I think it’s vital for people to be in the group atmosphere where they can find people in the same position as themselves. You can only get the kind of support you need from people who are walking in your shoes. … You do such a wonderful job leading SPFC Diana. … I wish nothing but the best for everyone and hope GOD’S plan shows itself for everyone soon.” – T.

  • “CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! You are an inspiration to all of us, and you have really demonstrated how to get back into the workforce successfully! You deserve this and I wish you every success in your new position. 60% is a lot better than 0%!” – K.

When I started this journey, I knew that sharing my story was part of the process. I guess that’s just the teacher in me, knowing how much we learn through each other, especially when those experiences are similar to our own. My story is in so many ways the story of many living the life of the unemployed. The details may be different, but the emotions are the same.

I know my work of sharing is not yet done. How it will continue remains to be seen.

As I was writing this post, I took a moment to go to dictionary.com:

Failure is an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success; a nonperformance of something due, required, or expected while success is the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors, a successful performance or achievement.

Hmmm, don’t that beat all? I guess, I’M A SUCCESS after all.

In overcoming fear and sharing our stories with others,

we find the truth about who we really are—

and discover that we’re not alone.
~ Lisa Hammond

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A year ago yesterday, I learned I had been selected by Audrey Gruber, producer of CBS News The Early Show to represent the over 55 crowd looking for a job in 2009.

A year ago today, I left for a spiritual retreat in Atlanta, Georgia, at which I met a gentleman who was from Haiti. We were in some of the same groups and shared some meals together. Already active in economic affairs, he was working to establish a non-profit organization that could provide education and training to help develop a stronger infrastructure for his native island.

After hearing my story, he nicknamed me, la célébrité, and shared it with anyone within earshot, including on the tram at Hartsfield Airport as we headed home, New York for him and Dover for me. Each time I chuckled, partly with embarrassment, partly at the wonderful lilt of his French accent mingled with Caribbean inflection, and partly out of excitement for the journey I was about to undertake. We exchanged a few emails over the ensuing months, and he included me in some of the goings on of his group.

A week ago Tuesday, we were all shocked at the news that our neighbors in the Caribbean had experienced a catastrophic earthquake that crumbled many buildings and left thousands dead and many more homeless. We soon learned that the number could be well over a hundred thousand. Not only were there at least 33 aftershocks and a growing death toll, many of the infrastructures of hospitals, transportation and communication systems were also affected, causing the UN to call this the worst catastrophe it had ever encountered (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Haiti_earthquake).

A couple of days ago we learned that at least one person was pulled from the rubble alive. While we knew that so so many did not make it and most assuredly the bodies of most wouldn’t even be recoverable by their families, this was a moment of rejoicing and thankfulness for the efforts of many from around the world who put their own lives at risk to offer aid.

Our Caribbean friends and visitors to the island have been sleeping outside for fear of building collapse; they may never find their relatives and friends who were victims of the earthquake; their need for water, medical care, food, shelter, and safety is monumental and encumbered by the vastness of the need and the organization needed to administer the help.

I claim no expertise on how the help should be happening. I have no knowledge about whether or not things are being done properly. I do know that there are those who would say, “charity begins at home.” I have no quarrel with that as charity begins with taking care of my neighbor. I know that my answer to that old question of  “Who is my neighbor?” can be answered simply: “the people of Haiti.”

I know that each of us doing a small part can make a big difference. Whether you choose to donate a dollar or a million dollars, do it, and make sure the organization you give to is valid. I have chosen to make my donation through UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) because I know this organization gives 100% of all receipts to relief. You can also actively participate by making Health Kits and delivering them to a church in your area that is collecting them:

* 1 hand towel (15″ x 25″ up to 17″ x 27″; no kitchen towels)
* 1 washcloth
* 1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)
* 1 nail file or fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers)
* 1 bath-size bar of soap (3oz. and up)
* 1 toothbrush (single brushes only in original wrapper; no child-size brushes)
* 6 adhesive plastic strip sterile bandages
* $2.00 for UMCOR to purchase toothpaste in bulk and help pay their shipping costs

I have no knowledge of where my friend is or how he has been affected by this disaster. I do know that having met him, I feel a personal connection to this island nation that has suffered so much. For me, he is the face of Haiti, and it is in his honor that I give my donations. And it is his face I see as I say my prayers.

To modify a well-known phrase, “Mon ami, this one’s for you.”

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Where shall I start? The bus ride was over, the taxi had taken us to our hotel, we were up early for a 6:15 limo call and arrived at the CBS News Early Show studio just a few minutes later, all to get ready for The Job Squad followup.

Once at the studio, Jack, Kelsy and I met, chatted and were primped for the interview. That’s a photo of me looking in the mirror while my hair is being fixed. Funny thing about mirrors is that while they may be accurate in the detail they present, everything is reversed; so are they really reflecting truth. But there’s more about that in a moment.

The on-air interview itself took about five minutes and included footage from each of our videos from March and one question – “Who has a job?” Jack could answer in the affirmative, having started a nursing magazine with the help of some backers; and Kelsy works for Clear Channel. My answer was not so apparent. While I had a job at that moment, it was part-time and lasted one more week. I found myself raising my hand only part way with a “sort of” look on my face.

So, by Job Squad standards was I a success or a failure where my position was only part-time and temporary at that? That begs the question: What is success?

Merriam-Webster defines success as a degree or measure of succeeding or a favorable or desired outcome. It is also the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.

Well, I guess I have had some favor or eminence being on national TV twice and being on the front page of or having an article about me in local papers about six times (including an article that should be published December 27). Attaining wealth – that’s another story – I can’t say that’s happened. But the definition also includes “a favorable or desired outcome.”

Hmmm – success or failure?

To borrow my metaphor above – which is the “real” Diana – the person that I cannot see and is viewable only by others, or is it the image in the looking glass? If the mirror is all scratched or is otherwise prevented from reflecting a sharp image, am I somehow dulled in the process?

Were The Job Squad participants only successful if we were able to obtain full-time employment as a result of resume makeover, career coaching, and new interview suit? If so, then I guess I am a failure.

However, if success is measured by learning about yourself and doing and experiencing, then the fact that I have continually moved forward to try new things and not only stand on my strengths but also work to improve my weaknesses, then success has been mine.

If finding new ways to help others while using what was gleaned from the assessments given months ago by Kit Harrington, I have been successful.

I may not have achieved the desired outcome of a full-time, well-paying job; but because of my media exposure I have become acquainted with people whose paths would never have crossed mine.

Nor would there be a group of folks meeting every week to support and empower each other. Much, if not all of this would not have happened if that survey from Gene Burnard of Workforce50.com had not landed in my in-box nearly a year ago.

My plate may be empty in many ways, but my cup runs over with blessings and joy. I’ll take that as success any day.

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I’m sitting on the Bolt Bus on my way to New York City for my interview on CBS News The Early Show (December 10, 2009, between 7 and 9 AM EST). It’ll be an early limo pickup (6:15 AM) and an even earlier getting up time after not getting to NY till around 10 PM tonight. With three of the four members of The Job Squad on air together, I’m sure it will be most interesting. I wonder what impact this will have on my on-going job search.

When I was on CBS last March just a couple of days after my birthday and nine months into being unemployed, I mentioned that I felt a rebirth was imminent as I thought landing a job was going to happen very soon. Here we are nine months since that interview and I continue to hope that a new opportunity is coming. This trip being close to Christmas and the New Year reinforces my hopes and dreams.

While The Job Squad – Rewired to Get Rehired follow up is the purpose of my trip, I’m am staying over another night with two very special women in my life to enjoy New York all dressed up for Christmas. We will be going to a Peter Mayer Stars and Promises Christmas concert as well.

Peter (who is also Jimmy Buffet’s lead guitarist and a family friend) writes wonderful music with strong messages. (I have shared some in other blog entries.) Two of his Christmas songs are pertinent to this posting and my life in general, especially during this period. Never did I imagine I would spend a second Christmas without an on-going job.

The first song is about Joseph from the Christmas story, the character we know the least about. He didn’t know what the plan was, but God assured him his presence was integral. He had to “keep walking to Bethlehem.” It was his obedience that allowed for the fulfillment of the promises made in the Old Testament portion of the Bible.

On a cold dark night a man and his wife to be
Walked a wilderness road
With a donkey, supplies, and a woman with child
Don’t you know it’s a heavy load

Joseph a good man of carpenter’s trade
Had made plans to make Mary his mate
Then an angel appeared and said Joe don’t you fear
But the spirit will dance with your date
The spirit will dance with your date

Hey Joseph keep walking, Hey Joseph keep walking
Hey Joseph keep walking to Bethlehem
Hey Joseph keep walking, Hey Joseph keep walking
Keep walking Joseph you’re part of the plan

They came to the city of David that night
But no inn had a place for their keep
Mary said Joseph I think it’s my time
Said Joseph Oh Lord Why me
Said Joseph Oh Lord Why me

So they arrived at the last inn in sight
With no room but a stable so low
And Mary gave birth to the savior of earth
With the faith of her good husband Joe

On the freeways and byways, in village and town
On this 21st century road
We’ve traveled so far but still look for the star
Don’t you know it’s a heavy load

Hey Joseph keep walking, Hey Joseph keep walking
Hey Joseph keep walking to Bethlehem
Hey Joseph keep walking, Hey Joseph keep walking
Keep walking Joseph you’re part of the plan

“Hey Joseph” by Peter Mayer

In some ways, 18 months of unemployment does feel like captivity or a long hard journey. Sometimes I think that a job offer using my skills and abilities is never going to happen.

It is at just those moments that both Peter’s lyrics and the words from Jeremiah written during Israel’s 70 years of captivity offer comfort: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).

My job is to seek, ask, and find, and to worry only about today. That is my “walking to Bethlehem.” I seek through my meditation and my job search; I ask in my prayers and my networking; and I find: No, not an on-going job as yet. Rather, I find by assuming leadership roles at my church, supportive roles in my community, teaching when the opportunity presents itself, and by facilitating Seacoast Peers for Careers.

Seacoast Peers for Careers is not a paid gig, but it is a very important of my life. Although the skills I am using are not unique, they are delivered through my characteristics, personality and style.

In this culture where individuals are not honored and so much is done to tear people down rather than build people up, Peter’s words remind me that all I do and say and am does matter. My walking does matter, and yours does too. Don’t ever forget that.

Think about your own uniqueness, your gifts and graces, and the people who are around you while you read the words below.

It’s Christmas time again
New Year’s ’round the bend
There must be something more than give and take
What it’s all about turns you inside out
‘Till you finally see the difference you make

This Christmas this Christmas
There’s a gift that only you can give
This Christmas this Christmas
Give yourself to….

Love is in short supply
Such an obvious demand
Shouldn’t be so hard to understand
We hang the lights for hope look for the stars to follow
Peace on earth for what it’s worth is in our hands

This Christmas this Christmas
There’s a gift that only you can give
This Christmas this Christmas
Give yourself to….

Start with the best of you
Followed by the rest of you
The things you say and the things you do
This Christmas

This Christmas this Christmas
There’s a gift that only you can give
This Christmas this Christmas
Give yourself to….

Lend a heart, lend a hand
Make a start, understand
Lend an hour lend a day
Wrap yourself to give away

“This Christmas” by Peter Mayer

During this busy time of the year when the focus is on commercialism, don’t get caught thinking you don’t have anything worth giving or sharing. Focus instead on the intent of Christmas and make it a daily endeavor now and into the New Year.

Wrap yourself to give away”

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Wouldn’t it be nice if I could have carried those numbers above into one job offer that I accepted? Unfortunately,  that’s not the case so far. In fact, I have not heard back from my one interview of the last few weeks.

So why did I mention four interviews in my title? Well, that’s because three of them involved media and not jobs.

On September 15, Foster’s Daily Democrat chronicled how Seacoast Peers for Careers came to be along with what it is doing to empower folks in their work search: “Dover woman who found herself jobless now helps peers get back on their feet”

I got my story told from its current vantage point and we got some good publicity for our speaker, Tracey Madden, who was going to talk about Informational Interviews. Well, we had over 20 people show up as a result of the article, a couple of whom have been back a few times. One of those folks was recently hired and another whose very first meeting was this past week told me today that she was interviewed, offered a job and starts tomorrow!

On September 30, another reporter spent nearly 90 minutes with our group gathering information for a series of articles on the economy and the impact of the recession. Part one featured views from UNH economists and other experts and appeared the following Sunday. The second part, “Job clubs help unemployed stay positive,” dealt with how people are reacting and appeared November 1. It contained info and comments from Michelle Hart from NH Works in Somersworth, NH, Nicole Tessier from NHNetWorks in Salem, NH, and Barbara Yates from Seacoast Work Seekers in Rye, NH, all of whom I know from my own job search.

As a result of that article, last week’s meeting had seven people with five of them being new. One woman drove about 40 miles to join us after a friend passed the article along to her. As we have seen almost every time we have had some new members, there are those who have just become unemployed, there are those who have been unemployed for a while and figured they’d now explore a group, and there are those who had been employed by the same employer for 20 or more years and were stunned when their positions were eliminated. It takes a while to come out of the shock and disbelief. It is helped by being in a safe place where people understand. And, boy, do we ever understand the emotional carnage that has occurred. As always, there is empathy, compassion, and encouragement as the stories are shared.

We’ve all learned if surviving unemployment is anything, it is a vast training ground in stepping outside your comfort zone and risk taking of all kinds.

And speaking of risk taking and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, remember my exciting, scary, and enjoyable experience being on TV for CBS News The Early Show? Well, there’s going to be a follow up to The Job Squad. The fourth interview I had in the last seven weeks occurred the same day as the most recent newspaper interview. A video journalist from CBS came to the Thompson School at UNH to ask me a few questions and tape one of my classes.

Three of the original four from The Job Squad, Kelsey Nova, Jack Iannacone and I will be back on air sometime this month. New York City, here I come again.

The journey continues … –

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I had an interesting phone conversation the other day. It started out with the usual pleasantries of “how are you feeling” and then proceeded to my hearing, “It’s awful. There’s not going to be an increase in Social Security this year. The government is giving away so much money and what good does it do to give handouts and where is it going to take us? And this health care thing, that’s not going to be good.”

I’ve heard lots of comments like that before, long before our current situation; and I have to admit that once or twice I’ve probably been judgmental about who gets benefit from governmental funding whether it’s federal, state or local. Based on my own story that many of you have been following, I’m now one of those getting benefit of a governmental program.

I calmly replied, “I’ve been looking for a job for 18 months and have been unemployed for 14. If it were not for the Stimulus, I would have run out of benefits last December and where would I be right now? I am very, very thankful that those funds have been made available. I know how they are affecting my ability to continue. And I am in a much better situation than lots of people.” We didn’t talk too much after that because there was a bit of discomfort on both sides.

I’m not weighing in on whether all of the decisions made or to be made are good ones, but I do know that there are faces attached to additional unemployment benefits, cash for clunkers, and the availability of health care for everyone in this country. Today, one of those faces is mine. And depending on how tomorrow turns out, another face might just be the one you see in the mirror each morning.

Makes it a bit more real, doesn’t it?

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Last week’s trip to New York for the CBS Early Show was outstanding! Oh, yes, the limo driver was late and there’s always traffic from JFK, but my daughter and I still managed to connect with a family member late Tuesday afternoon. Our room was at the Helmsley Park Lane, just across the street from Central Park and about a block and half from the studio.

Oh, and the reason for my trip in case you are new to the blog? — to be on television with Harry Smith and Susan Koeppen for a series on job searching in 2009. The CBS News Early Show selected me to represent the 55+ individual who was unemployed.

“Why Diana Schuman?” you might ask.

Well, according to Gene Burnard who owns workforce50.com:

“It started with a call from Audrey Gruber who identified herself as a producer for CBS NEWS Early Show. That was on January 7, 2009. Audrey described the series she was producing and wanted to explore how Workforce50.com could participate. She needed a group of over-55 job seekers from the Northeast willing to talk to the media and participate in the program. From these she would select a single candidate. She also needed a career coach and resume writer. For its participation Workforce50.com would receive recognition on the Early Show. What a great opportunity to highlight issues encountered by older job seekers! Workforce50.com kicked into action. First, find the candidate. Should be a straight-forward process. We have compiled over 1000 survey responses from employers and job seekers interested and willing to speak to the media about employment issues of the over-50 workforce. Thirty four anonymous profiles were provided to the producer. She selected 6 candidates. Workforce50.com contacted the 6 and explained the situation prior to providing their contact information (we take the issue of privacy very seriously)…. Diana Schuman, an unemployed teacher living in Dover, NH, was selected.”

(BTW, workforce50.com has put together a wonderful page that shows all the videos connected to the series. http://www.workforce50.com/Content/CBSnews-job-squad.cfm#CBSNEWS-Job-Squad-Workforce50.com.

The nine weeks since I was selected on January 21 were drawing to a close. We arrived at the studio around 8 am and proceeded to the “Green Room.” Kelsy was “live on air” that morning and Jack had been live the day before. Jeanne and I were both taped “live in the studio” with her profile being aired Thursday and mine Friday, March 27.

The number of people in the Green Room increased and decreased as the morning went on, going from nearly empty to overcrowded and everything in between as the show proceeded through its different segments. At some point Susan came into the Green Room and chatted for just a moment asking how things were going. I told her that it had been a great experience, that I had not yet had any offers (in fact, no interviews since January), but that with my birthday on March 24, I was viewing my nine months of unemployment as a rebirth. She would quote me later on.

I had been told to arrive in my interview suit with hair and makeup done. I would get “fluffed” when the time came. Because of an unexpected delay in makeup, however, I was no sooner sitting in the chair with a towel around my shoulders when the phone rang that I was needed back upstairs. The makeup artist said, “She just sat down. How much time do I have?” Well, she and the hair stylist did what they could in about three minutes.

Back upstairs, I was miked and escorted into the studio requiring stepping over lots of wires and around lots of equipment. There must have been a hundred rectangular lights hanging from the ceiling, and there were at least a dozen cameras.

Jeanne’s interview was done. Harry was wishing her well. He and Susan then went to change into “Friday’s” clothing. I just stood off to the side and looked around. I was not the least bit nervous. This was going to be fun!

Back on the set, Susan and Harry did their introduction to the series and then a chair was moved in for me. I walked over, climbed the two steps, sat down, straightened my skirt, pulled down my jacket, and sat up tall.

The video, which I had not as yet seen, was begun. Harry and I talked while we watched. He asked about the video resume to which I laughingly replied, “It was traumatic” and then we were LIVE.

Two minutes go by incredibly fast. The only thing I remembered saying was in response to Susan’s comment about my being willing to not be in the classroom any longer. Since people always see little kids when anyone mentions teacher, I thought it important to say that I had been working with adults in different capacities.

Before I knew it, we were done; and Harry was doing two or three takes on his closing comments. We remained in our chairs and chatted a moment. He said I had done very well and that he would hire me in a minute. I responded with, “I can telecommute.” After a bit more conversation, Susan, Harry, and I had a photo taken that will be sent to me along with a copy of the video and interview.

I was then escorted back through the studio to the area where Kim had watched me on a monitor. She gave me a thumbs up and said I had done a great job. Whew. Silence would have not been a good thing.

After a little more banter with Harry and a photo with Audrey and her intern, Lindsey, Kim and I were walking back to the hotel and then off to meet an old family friend for breakfast at Sarabeth’s Kitchen which was right next door. We took a cab ride to Riverside Drive a couple of hours later to visit with a friend and former colleague of Kim’s; and then at 3:15, it was back to JFK for the ride home.

24 hours in Manhattan and lots of great memories! … and about 36 hours till I would be sitting down to watch the episode from my home in Dover.

If you didn’t get to see the live broadcast or haven’t googled me lately to see all the copies of it on the internet, here’s a link.

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