Career Corner is a program produced by the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network, part of State Services for the Blind. And it is recorded for people who are blind or have reading disabilities.
You can find complete programming of the Radio Talking Book at www.mnssb.org/rtb. And the password is R T B.
Your host for Career Corner is Anne Obst.
Today, we'll begin with the "Working Strategies" column from the May 24th issue of the St. Paul Pioneer Press titled: "15 Things to Celebrate in Your Job Search." By Amy Lindgren.
Yep, this will be one of those annoyingly sunny columns that I sometimes write, just to irk readers who think I take things too lightly. But here in the north country, the sun is finally shining, spring flowers are popping and I'm seeing knobby knees poking out from cutoff shorts. Surely there's something positive to say about the job search experience?
1. Being No. 2. I once read that silver-medal Olympians are the unhappiest of the three athletes on the podium. Gold-medalists are ecstatic for obvious reasons and bronze-medalists are relieved to be there at all. But second-place finishers are apparently overrun with thoughts of what might have been.
Almost-hired job seekers tend to feel the same way, in my experience. But I see good news in the second-place finish: We know we're on track, and it's just a matter of time.
2. Being anywhere in the interview pool. If my candidate can't place first or second, I'm still happy to score a face-to-face interview. This again confirms that things are on track, while providing good practice and the potential for future conversations.
3. Being interviewed by a panel. Five panelists is five times the exposure of a one-on-one -- ample payoff for a less-comfortable experience.
4. Getting a lowball offer. The key word is "offer." It's sad and sometimes humiliating when the amount is low, but that doesn't change the victory inherent in being chosen. Offers can be negotiated and even when they can't, it's better to be the fish that got away than the one that was never hooked.
5. Making new friends and contacts. My memory banks are jammed with the stories of job seekers who made lifetime friends with the people sitting next to them in workforce center classes -- sessions they would never have attended in happier circumstances. New contacts in one's profession also multiply during this period.
6. Honing communication skills. Letters, phone calls, networking meetings, chat groups ... just about every aspect of job search requires a higher level of communication than most people expect. It's all good news when it comes to skill development.
7. Recommitting to personal goals. It's not fun to trim budgets during a period of unemployment. But the upside is major: By reviewing priorities we are forced to identify the things that matter most to us. It's a common story in my office to hear about re-employed workers who are more balanced in their new work life than they were before.
8. Sharpening professional goals. Although people who are coasting professionally often struggle the most with a job loss, they also tend to realize great benefits. The process of restructuring a career path provides an opportunity to leapfrog to a level or area not imagined under the previous circumstances.
9. Having a more flexible schedule. One fabulous perk of unemployment is being master of your schedule. Enjoy it while you have it.
10. Seeing more sunshine. So, if you have all this flexibility, why are you inside? Drag that computer out into the sunshine and soak up some rays while you do your search.
11. Feeling permission to be a learner again. When you're in job search, people are not surprised to hear you say, "I'm exploring pathways in your profession -- can I come talk to you about your work?" And going back to school? It's practically a rite of passage for job seekers of any age.
12. Reconnecting with your "other" selves -- spiritual, physical, creative. When we're locked into our work-family-home patterns, we tend to let other parts of ourselves wither. But job search almost demands that you call back your spiritual and creative selves, while offering ample opportunity for long walks with the dog or playing catch with the kids.
13. Getting to sample part-time jobs. Sure, you'd rather not have this "opportunity," but since you do ... why not have some fun? I keep bringing up the two years I did my adult paper route but here's the truth: I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't been flat-out broke, and ironically, I've never had a job where I laughed harder than I did almost every pre-dawn morning with my paper route partner. Great memories, and it even helped me buy a house.
14. Getting to re-set your career. A lot of people never get to do this -- why not make the most of the opportunity?
15. Discovering your resilience. However your search goes -- fast or slow, fun or excruciating -- here's one thing you can count on: You will survive this and you will be stronger. That's worth celebrating.