Blogging & My Job Search

(Author’s Note: Just an FYI – while typing this post tonight my pen, camera, and notebook went missing.  I think Rommie might be up to something as I overheard her mumbling the word “Thursday.”)

Blogging And My Job Search

On January 13th, 2011 at 3:15 p.m. JoyReturns went live.  Right after I hit the publish button, I got ready to attend a seminar by several local inspirational/motivational speakers.  What I did about 1 week before attending the event was order new business cards with my blog name in addition to the typical business card information.  Doing this forced me to get this site up and running before attending the seminar.

New Technology

Blogging showed potential employers I could learn new technology.  So many job seekers my age refuse to learn anything new.  They are stuck in 1980’s job search mode, which is the subject of a whole other post.

Online Presence

Most managers google potential new hires.  When they googled me, they found me and my blog.  If I did not have a blog they might mistake me for the Michelle Kearns who is an “adult performer”. Egads!

Vulnerability

One of the hottest buzzwords in today’s world is “vulnerability.” Well publishing stories about my adventures through widowhood definitely qualifies as making myself vulnerable. Most widows would not dare publish something so personal, even to help other widows. My willingness to be vulnerable led to…

Respect & Admiration

I gained respect and admiration from some hiring managers. However the jobs those managers had did not pay over $10 an hour and were a 40 – 45 minute drive and in the words of one manager “not worth your time, gas and wear and tear on your car.”

Morale Boost

The biggest effect blogging had on my job search was meeting people online. There is Maureen in Germany, Nicholas in England, Charissa in the USA, and Michael in the USA,  are some of the many, many bloggers I met during the past 2 3/4 years. They were a great support system (and still are) during a tough time. It was a real morale booster to log in after a day of interviewing and/or networking and read comments from people who loved what I published that morning.

Moving Forward

If you are a job seeker who is not willing to learn blogging or anything new during your job search, you are making a major mistake.  You must update your skills so you can move your career forward into a glorious future.  If I can learn a skill, surely you can too.         ;-)

Are you willing to keep moving forward, whether through your grief or job search journey?

Are you willing to update your skills even though you already have a wonderful job?

 

My 3.5 Year Job Search Journey Part 1

Now I know you new readers are thinking “I thought this was a blog about your widowhood adventures?”  It is.  One of my adventures after becoming a widow was experiencing an extended job search.

What I Did In My Previous Life

When Joe passed in March of 2008 I was working as a mortgage collector for a major bank and had been there 12 years. I returned to work after being given 10 days bereavement leave.  It was very difficult to go back but I had to do it. If I had not gone back after the two weeks, I would probably never have returned to the bank.

Weekends during the first year were spent mostly on the couch conserving energy so I had enough to get through the next work week.

How It Came To Pass

I took a week’s vacation at the one-year mark of Joe’s passing.  When I returned to work, I was pulled into a conference room and told to work 2 p.m. – 11 p.m. or take a 6 month severance package ( I had been working 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) After much prayer, and consultation with family and friends, I took the severance package.

In a conversation with my sister-in-law, I said “I survived the first year of widowhood which was hell, so certainly I can survive unemployment.” She very skeptically said “I don’t know.” She was right, I was wrong. Unemployment almost did what widowhood did not do – kill me.

Confidence During My 3.5 Year Journey

A widows confidence takes a big hit while grieving then combine that with a lack of confidence caused by unemployment and you have recipe for a disaster of Titanic proportions. I began to wonder if I would ever work again or if living under a bridge was my destiny.

My confidence took a hit during job search because of fighting 2 stigmas.

  • The stigma of being a widow.
  • The stigma of being unemployed.

How Society Sees Widows

Widows are seen as invisible and people who do see us treat us as untouchable. At least one of the following 6 statements describe society’s mindset towards widows:

  • You have cooties.
  • You are too “young” to be a widow but “too old” to be hired.
  • We just don’t know and don’t want to know how to help you.
  • You are about to bust up a marriage or a relationship in order to get a man.
  • You are unworthy of help (household or job search) because you are a “young” widow and can do it all.
  • We were only friends with you because we were friends with your husband long before you came into his life.

Huh?!

Finding Confidence

I found confidence in figuring out who I was as a person:

  • Blogger
  • Photographer
  • Book Reader
  • Volunteer (Golden Retrievers In Need; GriefShare Co-Facilitator)

and as a career professional:

  • Loan Officer by day
  • Freelance writer/editor/photographer by night

It was tough figuring out my personal and professional life at the same time. It took a lot of self-reflection about my likes and dislikes.  By no means did I figure it out overnight. Truthfully, there are some days I am not sure I have the professional part of my life figured out.

Faith – My Other Source Of Confidence

My faith got me through my grief journey, so I relied on it to get through my extended unemployment. God blessed me with meeting a lot of people online and offline. I read my Bible, inspirational books, listened to Christian music, and surrounded myself with positive, helpful friends. All of this helped keep me upbeat but I had my down days.  When those days hit, I embraced them and worked through them.

I learned to lean on God and realized He is the only man I need to handle whatever life throws my way.  Yes, someday I might want to be involved in another relationship and marriage, but the need is not there.

Bottom Line

I kept confident during my job search and you can too.

Confidence takes a lot of work …and tartar sauce.           ;-)

Check back next Tuesday 10/29, for a post about blogging and its impact on my job search.

This Friday, 10/25, there will be a Special Announcement from JoyReturns. See you then!

Weekend Wisdom: “Empty” by Cherie Hill

I am reading “empty., Living Full of Faith When Life Drains you Dry” by Cherie Hill. (Kindle $2.99/Paperback $7.16 as of this writing.)  It is about the woman at the well‘s encounter with Jesus and how it applies to our lives when we are feeling empty.

Ms. Hill’s book is powerful and digs deep into the reason we:

  • struggle working our way through grief,
  • feel something is missing in our marriage,
  • despair over any other problems that engulf us.

I am only on Chapter 4 but felt I needed to get some quotes and scripture out to you in the form of “Weekend Wisdom.” There will be more posts about this book as soon as I am done reading it and have a chance to drink in Ms. Hills words.

Quotes:

“although difficult to imagine, physical pain can sometimes be easier to endure than the ongoing anguish of loneliness, rejection, loss, and failures.”  (Chapter 1)

“We’re empty because we’re more concerned about “feeling” better than finding God.” (Chapter 1)

“Emptiness is not the end, it’s the beginning. (Chapter 1)

“We fail, miserably, to grasp the fact that only God can supply what our soul most deeply desires.” (Chapter 3)

“We, just like the woman at the well, don’t realize that what we’re really yearning or is an encounter with God.” (Chapter 3)

Scripture:

“…or God gives the Spirit without limit.” – John 3:34 (NIV)

“Whoever believes in  me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” – John 7:38 (NIV)

“The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them.  People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT  (Chapter 3)

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”  Romans 8:6 NIV (Chapter 3)

For Widows Only?

This book is appropriate for widows, or anyone experiencing any of life’s nasty events.

Call To Action

Don’t wait for my review – go buy this book now!  Have a pen, notebook, and hi-lighter handy as you will need them when you read it.

Closing Thought

“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis (Chapter 3)

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