DIGGING OUT FROM UNDER THE SNOW STORM OF JOB LOSS

I’ve known loss. Haven’t we all?

A blizzard storms through our lives, creating paralyzing white-out conditions.

In my life, a painful storm from which I not only survived but from which ashes I arose to rebuild a new and BETTER life, occurred when my first husband requested a divorce. Within months, I was thrust into life-altering decisions that, even under the best of emotional situations, would have been difficult.

Initially, life lines were tossed my way by family and friends. After years of self-sufficiency, I was faced with either “going it alone” or accepting the help of sincerely caring people. I swallowed my pride and chose the latter.

As well, I acted: traction was the name of the game to maintain my sanity, my emotional stability and my overall fortitude. As in job search loss, the death of a marriage or following the actual death of a spouse or other loved one, the storm requires mourning, but then requires forward movement to recover. Sometimes, even, the two must be managed concurrently.

During my divorce, I did not have the luxury of flying off to a tropical island and licking my wounds or even spending a few weeks resting and healing; instead, I had imminent bills to pay and clients to attend to. Miraculously, I was able to “fake it ’til I made it.” For example, I recall one client telling me (during the thick of the storm) that I was always such a positive person when he and I met! I was strengthened by his sweet comment – further reinforcing the need for forward movement as a key to recovery.

Similarly, job hunters in the midst of career storms often must keep plunging through the cold hard ground of job search. I will venture to say, with persistence and willingness to make changes, these forward-moving job seekers will see sprouts of growth emerge even during the harshest of climates.

Traction Steps Beget Confidence, Courage and Recovery

I imagine the wind-knocked-out-of-me experience I knew following divorce is something people experiencing job loss or major job transition can relate to. I hope some of the practical and soul-fortifying steps I took also may assist job seekers in moving forward in recovery. Here are a few steps I took:

1. Sold my home and downsized to a townhome (saving money but also dramatically reducing my commute to a then brick-and-mortar office from 45 minutes to 5 minutes).

Unfortunately, I hear too many stories of job seekers hanging on to what was versus adjusting their sails and course to mesh with the wind. Sometimes letting go of real estate, other belongings and past lifestyle desires is just the antidote and relief to calm the storms and further work on rebuilding a newer, stronger and often better-than-ever-imagined foundation for the future!

2. Immediately began the process to transform my business, which, at that time was only three years young and not really ready to be self supporting. I had no choice – I was now my sole supporter! I amped up my industry credentials; I now wanted to increase my service offerings (and revenue), so in addition to my Certified Professional Resume Writer credential, I achieved the Certified Employment Interview Professional (interview coaching) training in Dallas, Texas.

3. Earned the globally unique Master Resume Writer credential and received near-immediate PR and revenue.

When encountered with a hard-hit economy and job search, I encourage job seekers to consider future needs, research and listen to other professional opinions and then ACT: if you may benefit by earning a new credential to better market yourself  – go get it! Or, simply, reach for more training, more training and yet, more training. Continuing education opportunities abound either virtually or within brick and mortar settings!

4. Assertively pursued industry partnerships and refocused time and energy on building relationships that would further build my business reputation, visibility, and ultimately, revenue.

Likewise, I encourage job seekers to seek out and build relationships with key partners who may propel their job search. Encourage Recruiters, Hiring Managers, Companies and Human Resources to follow you and your value proposition via Twitter and build your career reputation. Unfurl the sails, look beneath the layers and get curious. Step by step, you’ll learn the ropes of job search, and it will not only flex your untapped job-search muscles, but it will even be fun–an adventure, at times!

Moreover, visit LinkedIn and set up an account. Click on @eExecutive’s informative article: 5 LinkedIn Resources. Order Jason Alba’s LinkedIn DVD by emailing me to help you navigate the ins and outs of creating meaningful relationships within and without your professional industry.

Start stimulating conversations with other professionals and with recruiters, hiring decision makers and human resource managers. Boost your visibility and credibility via a website established exclusively for movers and shakers who not only take pride in their careers but seek to boost their image and career opportunities.

5. Hired another writer and career coach to help shepherd me through a career repositioning and hold me accountable to implement action steps.

As well, job hunters may revisit their career story arsenal: refit, rewire, reword. A plethora of free articles on building a meaty, value-laden resume may be found, starting with articles on my blog and extending through to a plethora of blog posts by resume writers, career coaches and recruiters. Visit bloggers at Blogs I Read to search for how-tos on resume writing.

You may also hire a Master Resume Writer or other professional career writer, coach and/or consultant from Career Management Alliance, Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches, Career Directors International or National Resume Writers Association. Resume writers, coaches and consultants will help uncover the snow-shrouded career story-book and then parse chapters, sub-titles and talk points that reveal your true value to your target audience!

6. Transitioned my business from a locally based, brick and mortar office (with premium office space leasing costs) to a globally focused, completely virtual operation serving clients from coast to coast in the United States, in Canada and also in far-flung places such as Europe and Asia!

Likewise, job seekers should embrace the global design of 2010 job search.  The Internet, and in particular, Twitter, offers a treasure chest of career strategy resources. First, I recommend joining Twitter, creating a pithy profile, and start following others.

As well, my colleague and Twitter friend, Miriam Salpeter and I initiated a Career Collective of 20+ bloggers focused exclusively on job hunters’ needs. Stop in, read a while, find and then personally connect with a couple career experts that appeal to you and with whom you feel a connection. Conversations beget action which beget results–moving from a career hull cloaked in snow to a brightened and buffed career that sails the high seas.

7. Focused on my personal life recovery and fulfillment; getting out there and dating–making it an adventure versus a drudgery. I ENJOYED (for the most part) the interesting conversations and new opportunities to meet new friends. The world was my oyster! It was a series of shared experiences that added value to my day to day life until one day I met and married the love of my life. He is leaps and bounds beyond my expectations, and not because he is perfect (sorry, darling!), but because he is my heart-mate.

Just as the snowstorm that swept through my fare city this holiday season (or that swept through my personal life several years ago), career slamming challenges erupt from time to time, packing your  job-search hulls with snow that weighs you down, virtually paralyzing movement.

After you’ve licked your wounds, commiserated with others about the tragedy that has beset you, Iencourage you to take action. Grab that shovel and start digging! Get out from under that avalanche of job-search snow and regain your career footing.

Captain your career, mend your sails, learn the new rules of career navigation, partner with career experts and SET SAIL!

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18 Comments on “DIGGING OUT FROM UNDER THE SNOW STORM OF JOB LOSS”


  1. Jacqui always uses analogies well. And tying to her own personal experience makes her advice all the more heart-felt and battle-tested.
    My only addition to this article is to keep in mind the work you’ve already put into your job search. Even if it hasn’t resulted in a new job (yet), the effort is cumulative and will keep you moving towards your goal. It is all about momentum. More on this is in an older vblog post of mine: http://tinyurl.com/ktp82h

    • careertrend Says:

      Jeff,
      Thanks for the kind comments and for the term: ‘battle-tested’ – quite apropos!

      Great point re: cumulative effort and momentum. Your vlog is impactful. YES-yes re: your advice to job seekers to ‘keep pedaling’ and consider ‘momentum your friend.’ I couldn’t agree more.

      Even in the most ‘calm’ periods of our lives, but particularly during recovery from a crisis, up- and downhill struggles will ensue, and the momentum indeed keeps us moving toward, and ultimately ACHIEVING, our goals.

  2. shennee Says:

    Jacqui-
    Thank you for sharing your story. Everyone has a story, and reading yours was inspiring! Really appreciated the Raw honesty!
    You may have inspired a blog post for me! I feel blessed to know you!

    • careertrend Says:

      How kind, Shennee, and so nice to know I ‘inspired’ today! “Raw honesty” (I like that!) – what a compliment!

      I look forward to your inspired post, soon!

      Jacqui


  3. Jacqui,
    As is typical of you, your blog is authentic and motivational. I posted this on my FB sites for my customers. Thank you for your insights and valuable contributions.

    @HeatherEColeman

    • careertrend Says:

      Your visiting my blog and sharing your nice, encouraging thoughts brightens my day – it makes the writing process so much more meaningful to me when I know it adds value to others, including colleague career coaches and your customers!

      Thanks Heather! I appreciate all you’re doing to motivate job seekers in an authentic way, as well!

      Jacqui


  4. Advice given from personal experience is so valuable. Thank you for sharing your personal experience to give some hope and optimism to the job seekers “buried in the snow” right now.

    It’s scary to be out of work. Posts like this give people hope and motivation as well as a guide for using a bad situation to create a better life.

    • careertrend Says:

      Hi Fran,
      You’re right about it being ‘scary’ to be out of work. I hear the fear almost every day during client conversations.

      I’m glad to know my personal experience sharing offers some hope and optimism – that truly is my intent. No matter what age or stage in life we are when faced with storms, I sincerely believe we can rise above and rebuild stronger.

      Thanks again!
      Jacqui

  5. Dawn Lennon Says:

    Jacqui, you are an inspiration. I wouldn’t wish divorce on my worst enemy, but suffice it to say, I know very divorced folks whose lives haven’t become fuller and richer after walking through those red hot coals. Look at all you achieved! What a credit to the ability to dig deep, overcome the obstacles, discover fabulous alliances, earn jaw-dropping credentials, and position yourself to live and work in ways that truly fit your needs and your passions. Yours is a compelling story for job seekers, for sure. But it is also a call to action for anyone in a place they don’t want to be. Thanks for showcasing the hard realities and for demonstrating the power of the spirit.

    • careertrend Says:

      Dawn,
      VERY well put (your English degree at work, yet again!). ‘Red hot coals’ and ‘hard realities’ – resonating!

      You’re right re: ‘call to action’ and ‘power of the spirit.’ So many resources are available to us when we are in ‘need,’ the greatest of which are our own INTERNAL resources.

      Your kind and uplifting comments are much appreciated!

      Jacqui


  6. Jacqui, this is a wonderful story about reinvention, perseverance, hope, optimism and creativity – great post!

    • careertrend Says:

      Love your recap of the ‘story’ – and I like all of the descriptive words you used. In particular, “HOPE” – I believe hope breathes life and energy into ALL we do, particularly during periods of recovery and reinvention.

      Thanks Heather,
      Jacqui


  7. Jacqui, thank you for sharing your moving story. I admire the strength and courage you had to face such a tumultuous and traumatic change in your life.

    This post is also practical – lots of great advice for job seekers. I enjoyed reading the links between what you had to do to be an overcomer and what job seekers must do to find a new job.

    PS – I’m not surprised that you were told you were positive during one of the most difficult times of your life. That is a testimony to your fortitude. 🙂

  8. careertrend Says:

    Alicia,
    What a meaty comment! Thank you. Words like ‘tumultuous, traumatic and fortitude’ are so descriptive. The upside is if we can lasso the strong feelings that erupt during trauma, then we can squeeze that lemonade from the lemons!

    Appreciate also your delineating the ‘practical’ take-aways from the post. I truly hope some of my learnings will help job seekers (and others) in need.

    Many thanks for your kind words!

    Jacqui


  9. Hi Jacqui!

    Wow, what a wonderful story. As always, your posts (mini stories) captivate and move me. I love your analogies you use to compare your personal story with the job search. Yes, at times life can stink, but we must move beyond the pain and look to the future (which is always brighter than what we are wallowing in).

    Great post as usual, Jac.

    Erin

  10. careertrend Says:

    Thanks Erin! I love when you visit my blog! (As does Rob :)) Your kind words move ME, too – thank you!

    Also like the idea of ‘moving beyond the pain and looking to the future’ – good point about it being brighter than where we wallow.

    Appreciate your value-add comments!

    Jacqui

  11. Marianna Says:

    Jacquie,
    As I get to know you both through our tweets and in this blog, I appreciate your willingness to not only learn from your experiences, but to share them so willingly with others so that they, too, may profit and be inspired to follow their own paths.

    For those of us who are “indies”, one of the biggest lessons is in learning to ask for and accept help. In so-doing, we allow others to grow and share and we become that much more gracious.

    Thank you for allowing us to see the strength and power in your journey by unveiling your hurts.

  12. careertrend Says:

    Marianna,
    Your communications always resonate with my heart. Your words in this comment perpetuate that resonance. Love your ‘unveiling your hurts’ phrase.

    Only with time and distance did I feel prepared to unveil in this way.

    I also like how you tied the message to the value of reaching out for help in building one’s business: it’s a circle of giving, receiving, giving … quite reverberating.


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