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Posts Tagged ‘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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I spent four days last week in beautiful Castine, Maine, home of the Maine Maritime Academy, and the site of the annual MLTI (Maine Learning Technology Initiative) conference. This was an opportunity for me to get my brain re-activated in “all things laptop” as I get ready to return to the Kittery, Maine, school system as a 60% MLTI Integrator for grades 7-12. For those of you outside of education, that means I will be helping teachers bring more uses of technology into their classrooms not for the technology itself but as a tool for education.

I had a chance to reconnect with some folks and meet lots of new ones. Herein were the unexpected convergence of various parts of my life that are outside my role as technology educator. As they were unfolding, I was fully aware of the comment I made during my interview with the producer of the CBS piece that this entire unemployment experience was directly tied to my spiritual journey. There could be no other explanation why these seemingly disparate events occurred.

One – I had a book with me that dealt with strategies for living the second half of your life including information about self-healing. When a woman I met made a comment about being involved in “healing arts.” That led to hours of conversation over the next two evenings about energy and healing which gave me opportunity to share my experience in healing touch spiritual ministry and how it relates to my Christian walk.

Two – Someone I had met earlier in the week was wearing a pendant etched with a phrase about choosing happiness and putting your energy into that aspect. A conversation ensued about the impact Elie Wiesel’s Night had on her and how much good Wiesel did during his lifetime after living through the Holocaust. I, too, had been impacted by the book and mentioned another, The Hiding Place, written by another Holocaust survivor, Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian, whose family had hidden Jews and members of the Dutch Underground. Although Wiesel’s faith was completely shaken, Ten Boom’s was strengthened by the experience. Ten Boom felt “there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still” and that “God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies.”

Three – Lastly, I found myself using my job search experience with two different people. One I encouraged to make the post-interview phone call to check on the status of the position and the other I told about using a Professional Profile at the beginning of a resume, which provides a clear indication and summary of your skills, experience and accomplishments and value to the employer. I might have been away from Seacoast Peers for Careers in person but not in action.

Could these happenings be a variation on Romans 8:28 (New Living Translation)?

We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

I’d like to think so.

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It’s been a long while since I’ve blogged, not that the spirit hasn’t been willing. I was sick for a couple of weeks and am still pretty tired though improving. There are lots of posts running around in my head that I hope to put to paper.

Today is the 16th anniversary of my dad’s death. He and mom drove from Florida to Illinois in June of 1994 to attend the funeral of one of his brothers. Preparing to head on home, he packed the car, went back into my aunt’s house where they were staying, sat down on the sofa, and died. Yup, talk about a shock. The man my mom had spent six weeks with before he went overseas and six weeks after he came back before getting married and spending almost 49 years with had just faded away with no warning.

My son Kirt wrote a wonderful tribute about Dad which he has given me permission to share with you. The photos are from my parents’ wedding picture in 1945 and one that my mom carried in her wallet that was taken in the early 90s.

Dad 1945Dad 1990s

Flying Fortress

The Boeing B-17 Bomber was the toughest aircraft the allies could put into the sky.  The “Flying Fortress” remains a legend in the history of the Second World War.  It was the plane that struck deep into occupied Europe, in daylight, taking on the might of the Luftwaffe, braving the ferocious flak defenses.  It was the bomber that could hit precision targets from five miles up, then limp home with massive structural damage that would have crippled any other airplane.  It held ten flyboys, many still teenagers, and bound them into one solid fighting unit.

B-17

*Images are from government files and are all believed to be in the public domain.

Since its first flight early in 1940, this “Battle Ship of the Skies” had a reputation for getting its crew home, no matter what.  It was not unusual for a B-17 to come in on one engine, no tail or rudder, massive holes in the wings and fuselage or a collection of the above. Try as they might, the German’s just could not find a weakness.  Because of its tremendous range, some of its most dangerous  missions were conducted without the aid of a fighter escort.

“She’ll fight her way to the target, do the job, take anything thrown at her and do the damnest to get you home,” stated a young B-17 pilot after he inspected a 10 foot hole in his plane’s fuselage following a successful mission.  There is even an account of a “Fortress” landing itself after its crew had bailed out.

The “Flying Fortress” exceed all expectations.  It always completed its missions with great accuracy.  Most importantly, the crews were proud to say they have spent time in a “Fortress.”  She would take anything dished out at her and just keep on flying.  The B-17 was my grandpa.

The second oldest of ten children, he learned responsibility early.  He worked as a newspaper carrier before and after school and a golf caddy in the small town of Elgin, Illinois, outside Chicago.  He led the typical mid-western childhood.  His strengths in school were definitely in the practical subjects of woodworking and electricity.  He consistently applied himself and his dedication was recognized by his instructors.  He was nearing graduation when he was drafted into the Army Air Corps and chosen to be a crew member of the premier bomber of the war, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.  His training would begin at McDill AFB in Tampa, Florida.

These Florida memories came back to him one day when we were playing golf.  The cart paths of this particular course seemed to be interconnected with other longer and wider stretches of pavement.  Grandpa, quickly recognized the pattern and realized that it must have once been a training facility similar to his in Tampa.  These facilities were exact replicas of the 8th Bomber Group’s bases scattered throughout Europe.  I had a strange sensation as I drove down the same tarmacs that the B-17’s had trained on half a century before.  I was in a golf cart with my only worry being if I should hit a six or a seven iron off of the next tee while fifty years before, kids my age had been learning the ropes of the machine that would be the only device that could protect them from death in the coming months, wondering if the Florida orange grove would be their last sight of the country.

Upon opening a box of Grandpa’s stuff two summers ago, I came across the actual Pilot’s Training Manual from their B-17F.  After a brief overview of the gauges came a section that aided the pilot in assigning positions to his crew.  Under the heading of Engineer it reads:

Size up the man who is to be your engineer.  This man is supposed to know more about the airplane you are to fly than any other member of your crew.

To be a qualified engineer a man must know his airplane, his engines and his armament equipment thoroughly.  This is a big responsibility: the lives of the entire crew, the safety of the equipment, the success of the mission depend on it squarely.

Your engineer should be your chief source on information concerning the airplane.  He should know more about the equipment than any other member of the crew-yourself included.

Generally, in emergencies, the engineer will be the man to whom you turn first.  Build up his pride, his confidence, his knowledge.  Know him personally; check the extent of his knowledge.  Make him a man whom you can rely.

Obviously, Grandpa’s pilot recognized his strengths and made the logical choice.  If I were to trust anyone with my life, it would be Grandpa.  His dedication, perseverance, and loyalty were far beyond that of anyone I know.  When we were children he made my sister a doll house (it was enormous and detailed down to the working electrical outlets in the wall).

Instead of buying shingles, he bought a bag of five hundred tongue depressors and cut each one individually to shingle the roof.  He did this, not because he was cheap, but because he couldn’t find any pre-fabricated ones that were exactly right, so he made them himself and spent over two weeks just shingling the doll house roof.

One of my earliest memories is of Grandpa and me laying on the floor playing with my hundreds of matchbox cars and the tremendous multilevel city structure that he built for my cars.  It had working lights, a lighted helicopter pad,  an elevator and three different sirens and horns.  He was never too tired or too busy to get down on the floor and play with my sister or me.  The kids of the neighborhood quickly figured out their Sunday afternoon visit pattern and seized the opportunity to have Grandpa Clay fix their bicycles.

Today, I can imagine Grandpa cramped up into tight places of the bomber fixing one thing or another on the plane, in order to keep it in optimum running condition.  Knowing him, he probably even spent his free time helping other crews with their planes.  After hearing the stories of B-17’s coming back barely intact, I’m sure Grandpa kept himself busy, on and off of the ground.

It was also the engineer’s duty to man the top ball turret.  I’m not sure if he ever shot anything down.  He did give me a shell that he had saved.  At the time it was bigger than my forearm.

After the war he took his expertise and opened up one of the first TV repair shops in Manhattan.  He successfully owned it for many years until moving to Massachusetts to take a job with the ever expanding Honeywell corporation.  He worked there using his hands and thoroughly enjoying it until he took a early-retirement offer in 1989.  He quickly became bored and began working for five dollars an hour as the handy man for the local Sears.  Of all of his jobs, that was probably the one he absolutely loved the most.  In fact when he moved to Florida, the store manager called the Daytona store and had that manager create the same position down there for him.  I remember one day he came to visit and bragged about how a shelf had cut off a big chunk of his thumb.  Just like the old bomber he got the stitches and returned to work the next day.

I had not realized how huge this parallel between the plane and my grandfather was until after he died.  He had been fighting severe kidney problems for over fifty years, yet you would never hear him complain.  He was one of those men who didn’t care what he would have to go against; he would never say no. If you needed something at four in the morning, Grandpa would be dressed and out the door before you could tell him what you needed.  He would drive from Florida to New Hampshire non-stop without getting tired.  He could not keep stationary for more than an hour, unless it was if he was reading his favorite book, “The Little Engine that Could”, to somebody.  In the end it was part of Grandpa that was the most powerful and worked the hardest that eventually quit, his heart.

Grandpa took a lot in his life but just kept on going.  He never asked for anything.  He appreciated everything.  He left Elgin like a brand new plane and went off to war where the paint began to dull.  After returning, the mission continued in New York, Massachusetts and Florida, each year taking hits and making repairs.  Ironically, the final leg of Grandpa’s mission was the limp back home to the home base of Elgin where he turned in his wings after living a wonderfully successful mission.

Thank you, Kirt, for summing up so well this special man who was loved by so many. The love lives on …

In Memoriam: Clarence (Clay) Hansing, February 14, 1925 – June 15, 1994

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It’s been quite a while since I have blogged. After reading today’s entry, you will understand why.

The sun was streaming through my bedroom window last Sunday morning. It felt so good on my face as I lay there in the quiet. I immediately started singing John Denver’s words in my mind: “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry. Sunshine on the water looks so lovely. Sunshine always makes me high.”

While far from a “sun worshipper,” I find being in the warm sunlight so restorative to my spirit. So I was disappointed when the recent trip my husband and I took to Florida during spring break in March proved to be pretty cold and windy. While it was good to get away, not getting to spend some time just relaxing with a book while sitting outside in warm sunshine (oh, and maybe taking a nap there too), left me unable to truly pull back from the cares of my life and really relax.

And I so needed to do that. Relaxing had become foreign to me …

You see, the events of the last couple of months converged leaving me in the darkness. Anxiety had become my constant companion. I’ve been nervous each morning before I head to class and each time I have to be part of a group. My confidence is shaken and my self-esteem is low. While I have been in some new situations for sure, this is so uncharacteristic for me. Added to those feelings and exacerbating them were some medical concerns. Some meds I had started shortly before the start of the new year made my blood pressure go crazy. This, of course, created anxiety of its own. As my primary care provider worked with me to adjust meds and get my BP down, I found myself falling into a depression. I found myself at a very low point just as we came back from Florida.

My birthday that next week was celebrated back at the doctor’s office where I arrived in tears. While relieved to learn that one of the meds being used to control my BP and also relieve some of my anxiety can cause depression, I realized that hitting a second birthday without full-time employment was also contributing to my downward spiral. I was not feeling sorry for myself but was unable to stop those feelings of inadequacy and failure that had surrounded me, also pulling me towards the abyss.

As I write this, I am not completely out of the woods. However, my BP is under control, my newer meds don’t appear to be causing any issues, and I feel less nervous. I’m still a bit unsure as I leave the house each day, but I have not cried in a number of days. I am still very tired a good part of the time, but I am laughing more and finding joy again in those simple pleasures of a husband and family who love me and all the other blessings in my life.

It’s cold and rainy in Dover again, weather so different from the first day of spring almost a month ago and the beautiful warm Easter weekend of two weeks ago. But this, too, shall pass. This is New England after all, where the weather changes regularly. It is because of that change that I so appreciate the warm sunny days when we have them.

And so it is with life.

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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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