Tag Archives: career transition

21st Century Parables – Introduction

Good Morning.

Starting tomorrow = I will be writing about some of the parables Jesus taught and explain how they apply to job searching in the 21st Century.

Job searching is one of my adventures since becoming a widow (it is worse than grief).

Lately Jesus’ parables have crossed my mind and I’ve been able to see how they apply to today’s job search. This is a subject I’ve been thinking about for some time and finally decided to do it.

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and Communication (college speak for public speaking) and not a Master of Divinity so I’m not an expert in theology. What I am an expert in is grief, job search, and society’s treatment of those in transition.

The Parable of the Sower is coming tomorrow. Other parables are:

  • The Rich Man
  • The Banquet

as well as any other ones I can apply to job search.

Now off to put paint chips on my spare bedroom walls as I am converting it into an office.

Enjoy your day and I will see you tomorrow.

God bless you.


Wednesday Wisdom: Angel Thoughts

(Author’s notes: Taking a break today from the Poetry writing challenge and sharing a little gem of a poem I found while research joy and grief poems. Enjoy!  I will hopefully have a Limerick for you on Friday.)



“If you give up when it’s deep winter,

you’ll surely miss the promise of your Spring,

the beauty of your Summer


and the fulfillment of your Fall.


Don’t let the pains of one season
overshadow the joys of the rest of the year.
Try not to judge life
by one difficult season;
cherish instead
the exceptional seasons
given you in love.”

~Sec. Cerge Remonde, PMS

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!


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?


Weekend Wisdom: Reach Beyond Your Grasp – M. Blaine Smith

Today’s Weekend Wisdom is brought to you by M. Blaine Smith, author of “Reach Beyond Your Grasp, Embracing Dreams That Reflect God’s Best for You – And Achieving Them”

Expose Yourself!

I will derive unspeakable benefit from exposing myself as fully as possible to people who view life positively and my own life dynamically.

Chapter 11

“Cheerleaders and Mentors”

Be Opportunistic!

The setback I’ve encountered is a God-given opportunity to learn, grow and become more successful; it may even indicate that success is just around the corner. 

Chapter 15

“Responding to Setbacks”

Dream On!

“I’ll contribute most greatly to my happiness, health and effectiveness, by staying strongly committed to growing, open to new adventures, and focused on fresh dreams and goals, for as long as I’m physically and mentally able.”

Chapter 17

“Keep On Dreaming”

Unemployment Is Harder Than Grief

Tom Rath and Jim Harter wrote a book titled “Wellbeing, The Five Essential Elements.” 

After using the code from the book and going to the website, it indicated that career’s significantly shape our wellbeing.  So much so that it takes less time to recover from the loss of a spouse than it does extended unemployment.  

I concur.

Recovering From Grief

I was 18 months into my grief journey when I realized that I was 98% through grief. 

The journey was painful and the 18 months seemed like 18 years.   However, I had access to a quality support program – “Griefshare.”  Those of us in the program could relate on some level to what each person was going through.  We were there to support each other.  The co-facilitators were available 24/7 if we needed them.

The Most Important Fact

There was a consensus about how to recover from grief. 

It was going to take time, leaning on God, viewing the weekly videos, completing the workbook exercises and sharing out stories with each other.

I was confident grief would always be with me but would eventually be manageable.  It did become manageable but not as quickly or painlessly as I wanted.

While working through a grief journey was tough, it was not nearly as tough as being between jobs.

Recovering From Extended Unemployment                                                                      

There are more career counselors than one can shake a stick at, so that means there is NO consensus about what to do and how to do it. The only thing coaches have in common is they love doing a “Jack the Ripper” number on resumes.

One coach says your resume should look like this, a second coach says it must look like this and a third one says the heck with what coach #1 and #2 say – do it my way!

An Outplacement Agency Adventure

For example, while working with an outplacement agency, the counselors talked about having “white space” on my resume so it was easily readable.  After I got done, I looked at my resume and said to myself “Where’s the whitespace?”  All I saw was a lot of words.  The only “white space” was in the margins.  At least they got the party about my resume being accomplishment based right.

Back To Square One

So I went back to the drawing board and refined and tweaked my resume on my own.  I did not do a bad job.  However after attending a video seminar by JT O’Donnell of WorkItDaily.com (formerly CareerHMO), my resume had plenty of white space. WhoooHooo!

I’m So Confused

Extended unemployment can also lead to career confusion.  One moment I was sure which path to take, the next moment I was scratching my head.    

So I started taking career assessment tests.  Since Joe’s passing I had no idea who I was which, made taking career tests even harder.  I knew what Joe and I liked to do, but was clueless about my interests. 

“I’m So Excited”  

It is harder to keep motivated during extended unemployment.  I began to question my self-worth.  Do I have anything left to give society or am I all washed up?  There are days where I still question

Then there was the little tidbit of information my doctor told me.

Shortly after Joe died I went in for a check-up and the doctor told me my chances for becoming ill and dying with-in two years was great.  She did not say how great and I was too shocked and chicken to ask, but I got the impression it was at least 80% or better. Talk about encouraging news. 

It made sense a year later when I became unemployed why no one was calling me back for interviews, after all I was going to be dead by the second anniversary. This led to me having very little motivation for job hunting.

The good news is I have since made it passed the second and third anniversaries of Joe’s passing.  Yes! 

In His Time

I know extended unemployment will come to an end in God’s time, not mine.  No one in my family thought that with 13 ½ years of banking collections experience, including 7 years in management, that I would be unemployed for over two years.

Maybe I should have answered all those insurance sales ads I got once I put my resume on Careerbuilder.

*Michele’s career tip #1 – If you want to transition into insurance sales put your resume on Careerbuilder.  Companies will inundate you with interview requests.