Category Archives: Rantings

A second wind, even if it is pretend

mountain

I did an excursion once on an iced capped mountain. It was for fun, believe it or not, but it was the most physically arduous thing I have ever done. I had hiked Kilimanjaro years before but this particular mountain, though only a day climb, was much harder. There was one fellow excursionist who was rather quiet, kept to himself and later I learned that he had lost his mother not long before our excursion. Instead of staying home and mourning his loss he had decided to go through his excursion and offer it up to the memory of his mother.

As much as I want to, and do, damn fate and bad luck  and any number of other things for this job search debacle, I wish I was the kind of person that would find a “second wind” and dedicate it to the memory of my father. I wish I was the kind of person that would double her efforts and determine that given we have a limited time on this earth she was going to find a way to make it count, come hell or high water.

But….

I’m not that kind of person.

But…

I will pretend for the next couple entries.

So the next 5 entries will be dedicated to concrete goals and actions taken.

For the coming week I will establish SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound).

Specific: Networking emails, Job applications

Measurable: 10 Networking emails, 10 job applications

Achievable: These goals are dependent only on my own actions.

Relevant: The more you reach out the higher the probability of finding the right position and opportunity.

Time Bound: Next week, between Monday and Friday

Off you go…

 

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Volunteer work while j*b se*rching

will-work-for-free

I’m a self help junkie. I guess I figure SOMEONE out there knows what they’re doing! That’s not always the case but in reading books and articles on job searching I have often read that it’s good to volunteer while going through a job search or career transition. I have often looked for volunteering opportunities regardless and about six months before I left my job I started volunteering for the Taproot Foundation. Taproot is an excellent organization that puts groups of professionals together on consulting projects that last about 4-6 months to help non-profit organizations. Having volunteered for several organizations in the past, Taproot is a wonderful, well-organized, professional foundation that, I felt, treats their volunteers as professionals and seeks to provide quality help to their “client” base (the non-profits they help). We had an awesome group of five finance professionals that sought to advise and build a financial model for an education non-profit. This project reminded me of what it was like to work with a cool team on a cool project for cool people.

Now that I am out in limbo I have done a little volunteer work for the same education non-profit that we worked with through Taproot and, while it doesn’t give me the “boost” that I expected, it does get me out of the apartment to interact with people in the real world for a good cause. It helps me check a “completed” box at the end of the day that includes an appreciation for my efforts, as opposed to the hated, fruitless tasks related to that which we shall…. not…… name….

It helps that I worked with this organization before in a professional capacity so I am able to use at least a small portion of my professional skills. Still, I think I might try volunteering in something more active or hands on. Perhaps something I’ve never tried before is in order– an animal rescue (though I risk coming home with another pup) or a gardening circle (I haven’t had a farmer’s tan -or any tan!- in years).  The verdict is still out on how much volunteer work helps your mindset during the job search, however, I highly recommend Taproot Foundation as a great organization to volunteer with. Another organization I enjoyed being a part of was Streetwise Partners which seeks to help under-resourced adults improve their employ-ability by improving their office/administrative skills, improving their computer skills, providing mentorship and helping them understand that process which shall… not… be… named.

Happy volunteering and Happy hunting.

The kindness of strangers

smiling coffeeAfter ranting about the silent treatment the universe decided to give me a little something back. I had coffee yesterday with a woman I met through the job hunt madness. She has more experience than I but our career aspirations are tangentially related. I have only met up with her once before, about two months ago for lunch, and I liked her energy so I decided to hit her up again to chat. She has recently found a job but she made time for me. And it was so nice to hear her encouragement, her affirmation that the process is hard and tiring, even for someone with as much energy and experience as she has. She offered to put me in touch with a few people that might be useful and I was on my way, standing up a little straighter from her genuinely kind pep talk.

I suppose I should focus on and be thankful for those people who are open and willing to help, even if only on one small step, one connection, one piece of advice. I appreciate those that do put me in touch with their contacts even though my email is out of the blue and I haven’t spoken to them in years. I appreciate those alumni who answer my emails and are willing to chat. Sometimes people are willing to chat whom I just happened to find on Linkedin and I thought they could help me- no connections, no introductions. I appreciate those people who are encouraging of my career transition and give me tangible advice and a bit of encouragement. They tell me what was helpful to them in their job search or transition, they recognize some things they should have done but didn’t do because they understand its hard to do, they acknowledge the difficulties and encourage you to push through because they did it and they hope that I can too. Looking back, when job hunters “networked” me I might have been an average contact at best. It’s hard to know how to help sometimes but even just saying yes to a call and giving fifteen minutes of your time breaks the cold shoulder pattern that makes the job hunting process so difficult.

 

Treat me bad baby, I get off on it…

Ahh, don’t you just love the cold shoulder when you are job hunting? You do your best. You dress up for the nice interview. You do your homework. You are polite, you smile, you do your best to see straight ad sound smart after four hours of interviews. You are actually interested in the damn company. Everyone is nice and cordial. You think you did ok, you put your best foot forward. “We’ll let you know tomorrow.” You write your thank you notes like you’re supposed to. And then….radio silence. You follow up, not even a response to your email. Job hunters out there, it’s the best feeling out there isn’t it??!!!

I wish I could say, “Well if that’s how they treat you, then you don’t want to work there anyhow. Good riddance!”. Well, at this rate, there will be no one else to work for! HAHA…(not really, its not really funny but sometimes you have to pretend to laugh). When I worked on “wall street” it was ok. They have the reputation of skinning people so you can grow it all back much thicker than before. I really don’t know why “the street” gets a bad rap, considering that I have now seen equal rudeness elsewhere. Perhaps it is a function of capitalism. People forget their manners when they are dealing with job hunters. Is it the power play? Does it make them feel better to treat someone else like they don’t matter? Just once, I’d like to walk into an interview and tell the interviewer how much their product sucks and how I’m glad they are getting devoured by their competitors and how I look forward to the further implosion of their stock price. Take that and stuff it where the sun don’t shine!

But that’s not how my momma taught me. And plus, I’d probably end up doing my rude antics to the one person who WOULD in fact answer my email and treat me cordially. There are those nice ones out there, they are few and far between. I hope they are blessed with great employees.