May 19th, 2013
The Job Enthusiast

7 Ways to a Less-Stressed Interview

imageLet’s admit it: Job search is hard enough without throwing in our irrational fears and compulsive fears. While it’s hard and we know the how-to basics and modern strategies, we can examine the reason why we hate interviews.

We need mastery over our thoughts. We need mind control.

We might hate interviews because we believe we have no control over them, like a sitting duck in a penny arcade. We fear rejection and worse, humiliation, victimization—all the “shuns” that eat us alive, plus contempt sometimes, of an ignorant interviewer. We go into them as if they are a waste of time and we lose a sense of inner pride trying to prove oneself to a stranger, like a seal jumping through a hoop in a circus act.

Whew! No wonder we hate interviews. No wonder we hate job search—period!

Let’s infuse ourselves instead with right-mindedness. It will take some practice but just like that seal, you can do it! Let’s examine the ways we can master control over ourselves:

1.     The interviewer is not God. He/she is a person just like us who is probably worried about finances and job security. Don’t let the wood of that desk that separates you both in the meeting, fool you. That interviewer could be on the bread line next week.

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May 6th, 2013
Howard K. Young

Dismissed: Day 2 - 24 Hours After Job Loss

Recommended Reading: “Dismissed: Job Searching in 2013 Compared to 2009

Writer’s note:   One of my “Ten Commandments of Job Search” states that you need to allow yourself one to two weeks to mourn your job loss. I hate to say this but I am guilty of violating that commandment.  Like a dietician who eats too many chocolate chip cookies, I failed to follow my own advice.  Why did I do this?  In retrospect, it is hard to say what motivated me to start my search so early.  Maybe I needed to get my mind off some personal issues. I was concerned about the lack of financial planning for my latest bout with job loss.  In any case, I was motivated to start my search as early as possible and I have learned to trust my instincts.

Time: 24 hours after my surprise job loss

Place:  Home

State of Mind: Ready, willing and able to start my next job search

imageThere were only two times in my life when I was unprepared for a termination meeting.  The first was when I lost an entry level position I accepted a few years after college graduation.  The second was yesterday, when I was called into a surprise meeting with Human Resources.  Although there were other “dreaded meetings” during my career, I was always ready for them.  In one case I was able to get the termination board to reverse their decision.  On two other occasions, I had just accepted offers with other companies. I used the meeting to give my customary two weeks’ notice.  In both cases, those employers decided to keep me for the two week period.   I was proud of myself for thinking ahead.

   This, however, was not the case yesterday…

 I was caught off guard and found that I was angry at myself. “I will never let this happen again,” I thought as I logged on to my home computer.  I thought about what one of my friends told me many years ago:  “Everyone has to pay the piper sometime; there will come a day when your intuition will fail you. I hope you will be prepared for that moment.”  That moment of doubt passed quickly.  There was work to do and it was time to get started.

   My first step was to write “thank you” notes to managers and administration officials who provided me with assistance during the last three years.   After I e-mailed about a half dozen notes, my computer froze.  I remembered my previous job search.  During a critical time, my hard drive crashed.  Although I was eventually able to recover most of my data, it was a slow and painful process.  “What‘s going on here?  The last thing I need is another problem!”

  After a few minutes of investigation I discovered the problem.  My cat was hiding under the desk and playing with the CAT-5 cable.  “Bad kitty,” I shouted.  The cat, startled by my tone of voice, ran out of the room.  I reconnected the cable to my computer and I was back in business.   As I finished the “thank you” notes, I recalled some advice I had given in the past:  Once you finish your mourning period try not to look back at your last position.  Just remember your best achievements and move ahead. 

   It took most of the morning to update my resume.  After several re-writes, I completed the update.  I was pleased with the results.  Suddenly, I remembered Daniel’s call yesterday.  His father, Dr. Warren was seriously ill.  “Take time to handle issues that are just as important as job search,” I heard my inner voice saying.  At that moment, my phone rang.

     It was Daniel Warren.  We had a brief conversation.  I had promised that I would see his father today. The timing of the call almost made me feel as if I had a psychic connection to the Warren family. Somehow, I knew that it would be my last conversation with Dr. Warren. I rushed out of the house to meet Daniel at the hospital, which was a short drive from my home.  I greeted Daniel at the entrance.

  It was painfully sad to see Dr. Warren.  I remembered him as a young college professor, full of hope and energy, with a fondness for Canada Dry Ginger Ale.  The nearly lifeless man lying in the hospital bed bore little resemblance to that professor.  He could barely speak and I knew his time was close at hand. He weakly moved his fingers, indicating that he wanted me to come closer so I could hear his words.

   I had so many questions I wanted to ask.  He had given me so much insight into my future.  Why didn’t he give me some insight into more recent events? What advice could he have given me to prevent my recent job loss? What can I do to get re-employed as soon as possible?  As he struggled to speak, I knew these were all questions that would remain unanswered.  His voice was barely above a whisper.  

  “The darkest hour is before the dawn,” Dr. Warren held my arm and then drifted off to sleep.

   After the visit, Daniel told me that his father had not spoken much over the past several days.  “What could he have meant?” I asked Daniel.  “I really don’t know,” Daniel responded, “I guess you will eventually find that answer.”

   I went back home to continue my job search.  I had received a few calls from contacts who quickly discovered my change in employment status.  Next, I uploaded my resume onto several job boards. While I was researching potential employers I thought about Dr. Warren’s words. What was he trying to tell me?  Would this be a long painful job search? 

   Best not to think about Dr. Warren right now.  Instead, I recalled some other advice I received several years ago.

  Everyone has to deal with problems.  Sometimes our problems keep us from moving forward.  The best way to keep moving forward is by just putting one foot in front of the other until you reach your destination.  Forward, march!

-Howard K. Young

Special Thanks to Lori D. Young for assisting with this writing.

Find more articles in Howard’s series “Good Hunting

Art by bailey mennetti

May 2nd, 2013
Job Enthusiast

Get to the Heart of Your Job Loss.

imageYou’ve got angst. Plenty of angst and no job. It’s understandable. You lost your job after years of blood, sweat, tears—and a rough commute in all sorts of weather and travel conditions. Tossed aside like yesterday’s dead fish.

OK, true. But that was yesterday. This is today.

Take heart in knowing that people are beginning to recoup and find work again. Even older folks. Even folks who are 55+. It takes a while to put the feelings of resentment and reluctance to go forth to a place where you can compartmentalize and start looking for new work.

Let’s examine some of feelings people go through during this arduous process of letting go and moving forward. Is it the job or are you really mad at yourself?

Guilt.  Guilt that erodes self esteem. Perhaps you feel badly that you really didn’t like your job anymore but you wanted to leave it on your terms—not theirs. Perhaps you felt that the workplace or industry was changing so quickly that it seemed to pass you by. Perhaps deep down you felt a resistance to new technology even though the handwriting was on the wall and these changes were incorporated in your business and all around you. Perhaps you lost interest in your field of work or just didn’t like the work environment anymore.

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April 10th, 2013
the405club
USA Network’s first reality series, The Moment, which features former Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner helping nine individuals who are given a second chance at landing their dream job, debuts this Thursday night at 10pm ET. To coincide with the series premiere, USA has launched My Moment, a social platform designed to engage with viewers and help them pursue their own dreams. On My Moment, users will be able to follow a series of steps to land their dream positions. Users will also be entered in a sweepstakes to win one of five $1,000 prizes.
Reported by Cynopsis, will you be watching?
April 1st, 2013
Howard K. Young

Dismissed: Job Searching in 2013 Compared to 2009.

     Writers note:  I started the “Good Hunting” series as a result of my job loss in 2009. It was at the height of “The Great Recession.”  Loss of my long term position was difficult to accept, however I had a great deal of company due to the high unemployment rate. I also had an advantage.  I knew about the layoff far enough in advance to put some strong financial contingency plans in place.

image

That was not the case in the latter part of 2012. Towards the end of that summer I lost my job; I am embarrassed to say that I was caught completely off guard.  Almost three years after I was hired, I disregarded warning signs that a layoff was on the horizon. To paraphrase one of my own writings, I became a victim of “The Boomerang Effect.”

  I mounted an aggressive job search, and landed a new position before the winter of 2012. Up to this point I haven’t spoken about my most recent job search. I am sure several people are asking the following question:  “Why didn’t you tell me about this search?  I could have helped you!”   Perhaps I didn’t use my network to its fullest extent.

  There was a time when I actually contemplated discarding this writing. It seemed the sense of camaraderie I felt during the 2009 search was absent in my 2012 search. What changed my mind about publishing this writing? 

  Earlier this week I found out one of my previous employers was initiating a major layoff.  I continue to feel a great deal of kinship to all I have worked with over the years.  Perhaps if they see this writing, it may help them find their way through this maze we call unemployment.

     I kept an extensive log of everything I went through during my time between jobs. This writing began with my early arrival at home on the day I lost my job. This writing is called:

Dismissed

   The last thing I expected was to be home, staring blankly at the walls, wondering why I am jobless.

   “I am much smarter than this!” I thought as I stared at the blank TV screen.  “The warning signs were right in front of me!  Why did I choose to ignore them?” 

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