Tag Archives: job search

God’s Hand In Michele’s New Job!!!

As you read this, I will be starting my last two weeks at my call center job.

On May 26th, I will start a new job in a new industry – the relocation industry.  I will be doing customer service, marketing, and office administration for a company that specializes in moving executives.

So I get to add another industry to my varied career background, a background that includes:

  • retail sales
  • banking
  • collections (mortgage loans, lines of credit, automobile loans and leases, and student loans)
  • grief support
  • outdoor products

I have the ability to learn different industries and learn them well enough to be known as the go-to person if someone has a question. The exception to this is the outdoor products. I can answer basic questions about systems and decipher what customers are talking about, (“the rope that goes around the circles that spin the knives.”) but there is a whole lot of technical knowledge I do not possess that would require me to attend lots of training classes.

Over-joyed But Surprised

Surprised is a word that describes how a lot of people felt when they got my email or phone call. Everyone wondered how this came about because there were no requests from me about having an interview and needing prayers that I have all the answers to the questions.

This went down quickly. I got an email from a friend I met while volunteering. She knew I was struggling and needed a break. So when this position came open, she got in touch with me and asked if I was interested. I told her yes and we exchanged emails and phone calls about the company and my role.

I completed the application and submitted it and my resume, along with the background check form and went for a drug test. I was running a few minutes late going to work after the drug test when I got stopped by a train. I sat there for 11 minutes as a train with hundreds of tanker and box cars crept along the tracks. I was not the only person late for work that day. Guess God knew that it would not look suspicious when numerous people were late.

Then came the text that told me everything was fine with the background check and drug test so go ahead and submit my 2-week notice.

Everyone at work is happy for me but hates to see me leave.

Living The Bible

My friend offering me a break is an example of someone living out Proverbs 3:27 and James 1:27

Never walk away from someone who deserves help;
    your hand is God’s hand for that person.

Proverbs 3:27

(The Message) 


 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27


There were numerous people in the past 6 years of career instability who had a chance to be the hand of God to me but instead turned their back, but that is a subject for another post.

God’s Hand

God’s hand was in this situation from the beginning. After all, He placed Isaiah 43:19 on my heart earlier this year. I just could not see “a new thing” until 2 weeks ago.

See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

Thank you God for doing a new thing in my life that brings me out of the wilderness. Please forgive all my grumbling.

May you see God’s hand at work in every aspect of your life.

* “the rope that goes around the circles that spin the knives.” translates to “the deck belt that goes around the pullies that spin the blades.” Pullies are attached to spindles and the blades are attached to the bottom of the spindles on riding mowers.

How To Spread Joy On LinkedIn

(Author’s Note: Unemployment has been one of my adventures since becoming a widow. This tip applies whether or not you are married or employed.) 

Monday, Monday

It’s Monday and most everyone is off to a sluggish start after the weekend so it is a bad time to contact people about anything pertaining to your job search. Instead use Monday for planning your week and endorsing people.

Make someone’s day or week by giving an endorsement for at least one of the skills listed on their LinkedIn profile. Do this while having your cup of coffee, milk, tea or whatever you drink to get your morning started. It is one small way to spread joy.

Do this for 4 or 5 of your connections every Monday.  It is wonderful way to start off the week and only takes a few moments.

Have a joy filled week.


Movin’ & Groovin’ Monday: Flying High Now!

Calling all raw egg eaters, or should I say drinkers!

It’s time for you and us non-raw egg drinkers to get your Rock ’em Sock ’em attitude into high gear for the week.

Remember, whether you are journeying through grief or job search you will one day fly high again because you are getting strong now.

So…cue the trumpets!

Weekend Wisdom: Wait For One Another

The Bible verse for today is

Wait for each other

1 Corinthians 11:33

Waiting for one another requires patience. So with that in mind, here are some quotes about waiting and patience.

Quotes About Waiting

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.

Henry Van Dyke

Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.

Robert H. Schuller

A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.

Tom Stoppard

Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.  

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love is patient.

1 Corinthians 13:4

Be patient with everyone. 

1 Thessalonians 5:14

Bear with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2

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?


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.


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!

How I Get A Good Night’s Sleep

While working on this post, I came across the following quote:

“The tree that is beside the running water is fresher and gives more fruit.”Saint Teresa of Avila

It describes how I feel in the mornings – fresher and able to be more productive in the day.

How did I get to feel this way?  Read on.

My Vision

For years I envisioned a sea green cottage with white trim and shutters, sitting on a cliff over-looking a waterfall.

Most details of this vision were quite clear. As you entered through the front door, you stepped into a foyer.  On the left was the living room, straight ahead were stairs.

The living room floor was hardwood and on the left wall was a fireplace with over-stuffed chairs positioned in front of it.  As you walked through the living room you came into the kitchen/breakfast nook area.  A sliding glass door, off the nook area, lead to a patio with a  nice view of the falls.

The only thing the falls had in common with Niagara was the horse shoe shape.  But the falls did not take up the whole horse shoe only the middle part.  A steady stream of crystal clear water poured over the cliff into the river below.

However the best view of the falls was from the master bedroom which ran the length of the cottage.  To get there you walked up the steps across from the front door. On the back wall was a bed and on either side were bookcases and French doors. The doors opened out onto a balcony that overlooked the falls. On the balcony were white reclining chairs and a round table with an umbrella in the center and four chairs around the table.


I could never figure out the meaning behind what I envisioned. I doubt I will ever have a house over-looking a waterfall. With my luck the cliff would erode and my house would slide down into the river.


Then several weeks ago I read an article about sleeping with the sound of a waterfall or ocean waves playing.  It does something to the Theta brain waves resulting in a good night’s sleep. (If I can find the article I will post a link to it.)


I have on my Kindle “Relax Melodies Premium” which I downloaded several months ago.    One night I put on the waterfall sound and set the time for 1 hour. I slept alright but nothing to brag about.

One night I slept very well and woke up refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvenated. Then I heard a noise and realized I had forgotten to set the timer. Sleeping with the waterfall on all night was the key.

Now every night I sleep with the waterfall sound on and am amazed at how well I sleep. If this keeps up I just might turn into a morning person.  (Mom is laughing at that thought, as I was not a morning person even as a baby.)

I  have more energy and stamina.  It feels as though I can take on the world. Maybe all these years my mind was trying to tell me something.

Grief & Sleep

This is one of those things I wish I had known about 5 1/2 years ago when Joe moved to heaven.  I wonder what impact sleeping well would have had on my first year of grief? My weekends consisted of mostly sitting around conserving energy so I would have enough to get through the next work week. Would I have been more productive both at work and home during the first year if I had slept better?  We’ll never know.

Sleep & Job Search

I also wonder what a good night’s sleep would have had on my job search. Would it have boosted my confidence? Would it have had an impact on my networking? Would I have performed better in interviews, resulting in being gainfully employed sooner? Again, I will never know.

All I can do not is move forward and use this new found energy, desire and stamina to live up to my mantra “Make a Joyful Impact.”

What I Thought I Needed For Sleep

I thought I needed a man in bed in order to get a good night’s sleep – turns out all I needed was a waterfall.           😉


I recommend sleeping with a waterfall either via Kindle or a sound machine. I was able to easily fall back asleep after my neighbor on the corner had a party a couple weeks ago.  Their laughter woke me up a 1 a.m. but I shortly thereafter I was fast asleep.

If you follow my recommendation, may you feel refreshed and ready to take on the world every morning.


Guess what has been the image as my laptop’s background for months?


Waterfall On My Computer

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