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Posts Tagged ‘Job Clubs’

Gratitude is an attitude that hooks us up to our source of supply. And the more grateful you are, the closer you become to your maker, to the architect of the universe, to the spiritual core of your being. – Bob Proctor

My husband Bob went to check the Powerball number in Sunday’s paper. Lo and behold, whose face should greet him below the fold but mine — yet again. Fame is so yesterday. Yawn. Tee hee. Those of you who have been following my story know that I have been mentioned in a number of articles during the two years I’ve been out of work.

Seriously, along with a young man with a few years of teaching experience, I had been interviewed because of losing our jobs. According to the article, Laid-off area teachers scramble to find work, some 200 teachers had been laid off statewide this year with the southeastern and northern ends of New Hampshire the hardest hit. Fortunately, Lee Sims (the other teacher in the article) was able to quickly find a position at a local private school. Others, of course, are not so lucky.

Even more unfortunate will be the students who will bear the brunt of the loss of teachers and programs.

It was mentioned in the article that I am returning to work in my former school district. A position was created this spring for a K-12 Technology Integrator. Funding was sufficient for a 60% position that would deal with grades 7-12 to support the Maine Learning Technology Initiative one-to-one laptop program. Because I had the experience, education, and certification, I was offered the post.

While it has some components of my former job, it is not the same. Instead of responsibilities for integration, small group instruction, staff support, hardware and network for grades 6-8, I will be working with solely with teachers in two buildings facilitating technology use in their classrooms.

While I would not have turned down a full-time position, I have come to realize that part-time is a good thing at this point in my life. It allows the best of both worlds. I am working at something I enjoy. Yet, I’m hoping to be able to have some time with Bob when he’s not working and also continue doing empowerment group facilitation with Seacoast Peers for Careers.

Things have changed in two years, including me. There are new applications and new expectations. Some teachers I don’t know at all; some know me very well. That’s both good and bad. There’s a new superintendent with her own vision for the district.

What hasn’t changed is my enthusiasm for my craft and gratefulness for all these new blessings in my life.

It’s a new day and a new school year! Here we go!

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I HAVE LANDED!

That’s how Tim Ashe entitled a recent discussion on the Seacoast Peers for Careers Group on LinkedIn as he announced his good news. I share his words, used with permission, and my comments posted there as well. Hopefully, there will be something you can take and apply to your own job search.

Tim and fellow alum Amy start their new positions March 1.

Tim AsheI have accepted a position to be the Sales Manager at the Laconia Citizen, which is part of Foster’s Daily Democrat. I will be responsible for the revenue generation of 5 sales people. This is a direct result of Liesl Malone and her Hidden Gems series in Seacoast Sunday. The Advertising Director at Foster’s saw the article and reached out to me. Since I have an advertising background and management experience, it seemed like a natural fit. I worked at Foster’s a long time ago for 2 years, so it feels like I’m going home.

I have already contacted Liesl to let her know how much I appreciate her featuring me in her series. What she does for those of us who are unemployed is invaluable. I think we have to keep in mind that, she too, is unemployed, yet she continues to try and give us a voice that can be heard. Thank you again Liesl for everything you have done and continue to do.

I also want to thank Diana Schuman for starting the group. Once I found out about Seacoast Peers for Careers, I attended every week. I found the group to be very comforting and extremely helpful in getting all my ducks in a row. This is a different job market than we have ever experienced before. I think groups like this are essential in helping people focus their energy in the right direction. I learned a great deal about the job search that I never knew before. Groups like this one don’t run themselves. They need people like you and me to participate in order to stay relevant. I hope to stay in touch to see how things are going for everyone. I will be watching for future landings. I will miss seeing everyone on *Wednesdays, but hope this is a sign of things turning around for everyone. Stay positive.

Best of luck to everyone, Tim Ashe

Thank you, Tim, for your kind words for Seacoast Peers for Careers and for me.

This winter season in our lives has resulted in many examples of “paying it forward.” Liesl’s twist on that concept allowed your generous spirit to be viewed by others and had a great result.

Each of the networking/empowerment groups that we have all attended has its own personality; but all of them are comprised of folks willing to share from their experience, their expertise, their knowledge – some of that being acts of paying it forward within themselves. We are the richer for the camaraderie that developed from our sharing and working together.

As you experienced recently, there is much “hoopin’ and hollerin’” at the good news of a landing. While there is, of course, sadness at no longer having the wisdom that you have brought to the table, the joy that we all feel for you is most earnest.

Vaya con Dios, my friend.

*Seacoast Peers for Careers meets Wednesday, 9:30-11 AM, St. John’s UMC, Dover, NH.

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I made the discovery yesterday that while I had added it to my Blog Roll, I had never included a post on the opportunity I had to be a Hidden Gem of the Seacoast back in December.

I became a Hidden Gem because of my connection to the Women’s Business Center as the columnist, Liesl Malone, had called them for suggestions. Nancy Blake, Lois Matheson, and Director Christine Davis are the enthusiastic team at WBC providing education, networking opportunities, and support for women entrepreneurs throughout New Hampshire. There’s always a warm welcome when visiting their offices. It was my visit there in November 2008 that introduced me to LinkedIn and started me on the road to multiple resume rewrites (with help from Kit Harrington Hayes along the way).

Freelance columnist and HR professional, Liesl Malone, is in the job market like many of us. As part of her desire to offer assistance to others, she writes a bi-weekly column for Seacoast Sunday. Her first article appeared last fall and included her rationale for starting the column.

As a human resources professional for the past 15 years, work force transitions, reducing experienced employees, outsourcing functions and eliminating jobs were part of my job function. HR staff is not exempt from reduction. In early spring, my position was relocated to Ohio. I chose not to go.

I created Hidden Gems after realizing many opportunities are also hidden and applying for jobs on the Internet meant an abyss of other competitors for one job. With unemployment nationwide at 10 percent, the pool is full, recruiting databases are maxed out. Many qualified, competent people are lost. Hidden Gems is an attempt to help promote local talent allowing them to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and abilities and go back to work!

As I meet with various networking groups at which we share our stories, it is rewarding to discover how many of us are including “giving back to the community” as part of their regular activity. I commend Liesl for taking a most unusual approach.

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Yesterday was an outstanding day for Seacoast Peers for Careers!

  • We celebrated the job landing of BY from Seacoast Work Seekers that many of us also attend.
  • Group member Tim Ashe was featured as a Hidden Gem of the Seacoast in Sunday’s paper. Within 24 hours two people called him as a result of the article! Those two phone calls yielded two interviews on Tuesday!
  • AR, who has been out of work just about as long as I have been, got a job offer within just a couple of hours following her second interview. Not only is it a great position, it comes with a super benefits package and an in-town location.
  • At the conclusion of another productive yet laughter-filled meeting, a cell phone rang with news about a temporary position for FE whose resume we had worked on just the week before.
  • I had indirectly heard from an organization I interviewed with last year that they may be opening the position again.
  • Oh, and this evening I heard from MAL, a brand new member as of Wednesday, that a recruiter had contacted him today.

Can it be perhaps that things are finally opening up? Let’s hope so.

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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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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’m sitting here having reworked my resume yet again in an attempt to make it more user friendly. I’m modifying the functional format into one a recruiter I met recently calls “functiological” meaning that you list your skills and accomplishments under your chronologically listed places of employment and not simply rehash the job description.

Many hours later, it looks very different. This proved to be helpful. Now my facilitation at Seacoast Peers for Careers could be more prominently displayed, a definite asset for a particular job for which I was applying. We’ll see what happens as the closing date was Friday, October 9, 2009. The position would be working with adults developing careers skills, basic computer skills, counseling them, and offering support through a job club experience. Gee, doesn’t that sound like me? Here’s hoping!

I found that posting on one of the 12 search agents and 8 other sites I check almost daily.

Doing some quick math means that over the last 18 months of looking I have clicked my mouse at least 8000 times to read about an opening. It brings the total number of jobs I’ve applied for to over 130 (12 with one company alone).

Of that number, I’ve had only 17 interviews. And of that 17 only 8 potential employers followed up. Fortunately two of them offered me the part-time positions I currently hold, 8 hours a week at UNH and 7 students for the Virtual Charter School. I thoroughly enjoy both of these jobs and hope they can turn into something permanent.

That’s a lot of numbers and not really very good results. And I’m not alone with statistics like that. I have a friend who has not had one interview in a year of sending out applications. Another friend’s company is relocating putting 90 people out of work.

It’s still a very tough world out there.

I’m tired of all the numbers. All I want, like the other 7 million who are unemployed, is ONE good offer.

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