Archive for September, 2014

314799_4865839976057_1080256591_nYour resume must look sharp.  Your job search methods must be fresh, creative, powerful.  You need a prepared list of personal and professional references and a versatile cover letter that can be tweaked for every different type of potential interview.  And you need to network, network, network!  This was just some of the helpful advice doled out this morning by my Jersey Job Club leader, a lovely woman named Cynthia.

What is a Jersey Job Club?  It’s a helpful meeting place for unemployed people living in the Garden State, a “club” where job seekers can go to get ideas, get advice, get encouragement and, of course, network.  I sat through a 90-minute orientation this morning in a drab East Orange building staffed by cheerful and helpful Department of Labor workers and I left feeling better about my chances of winding up back in the workforce.  There were about a dozen other women in the room with me, ranging in age from mid-60s to early 30s and crossing a wide swath of the career and education spectrum.  We had all been downsized by companies looking to save money, stay afloat or just plain go belly up.  We were all frustrated and rather stunned by our current situations and while we may have been a bit depressed and discouraged upon entering the room at 10am, I believe we all left feeling positive and empowered.

Some of the unemployed women in the room had had clerical jobs in nearby schools.  Some had worked in collections.  A few had worked for lawyers or executives.  They had all been employed in what I would consider more “conventional” fields than mine.  For the better part of three decades I have worked as a freelance television stage manager.  It’s never been the kind of job for which you would see a help wanted ad in a newspaper (remember newspapers?), or on a typical electronic job-search bulletin board.  It’s not the sort of position that requires the help of a headhunter.  It’s the kind of job that you somehow manage to get in your 20s, hopefully right out of college, and then maintain and grow through internal networking.  The more you work, the more new job leads you hear.  The different and creative ways that people use to obtain their first jobs in the industry are about as varied and numerous as there are job titles in TV production, from following in a family member’s footsteps to interning or working as a page to DJ-ing a TV station’s Christmas party and asking everyone there to send over the person who hires crew members.  Yeah, that last one, that was my creative path into the land of television.  Smart, right?  Serendipitous, even.  It worked and I had a fabulous 30-year career.

But lately the jobs have been hard to come by.  I worked the Olympic games in London, Vancouver, Beijing and Torino but not earlier this year in Sochi, and I’m still not really sure why.  I’ve had a few freelance gigs here and there, but not enough to live on.  And at the start of this year I thought my troubles were over when I landed a position on the crew of an awesome new cable health and wellness show.  We were supposed to be on the air for at least a year, maybe get picked up for syndication and survive past that projection, but the show was hemorrhaging money and was canceled after eight short months.  So now I’m unemployed again and having a hard time with it.

At the Job Club today we were reminded to stay focused and stay positive.  I have a difficult time with that no matter how much I try.  I asked Alyson Charles, one of the hosts of the show I had most recently been working on, to suggest a few daily affirmations I could say to hopefully keep my mind filled with positive thoughts that would crowd out the feeling of doom and gloom I so often experience in stressful situations.  She happily obliged.  My favorite was, “I am a being of Divine light and love and my purpose here is to embody that through my words, thoughts and actions. And so it is!”  Thanks, Aly.  I have been repeating that every day along with, “Help me please, thank you,” to stay positive and grateful and attract the job I desire.  I have treated my search as a full-time job and I have been networking my butt off.  Friends and colleagues have chimed in with leads and ideas, for which I am so very grateful.  I have looked through old contact numbers and reached out to people I have not heard from in years.  And, meanwhile, I have remained open to the idea of a new career in a similar but different field.  I’m not exactly 21st-century-ready but I’m smart and I learn quickly.

One suggestion the Job Club leader made today was to create something called a visual board.  It’s supposed to be sort of like a poster that you place where you can see it daily and it should contain images that represent your goal.  I told Cynthia and the other women in the room that I have been continuously and frequently changing my profile photos on Facebook and LinkedIn and rotating through older and newer pictures of me working as a stage manager to remind myself, other people and the universe in general what it is that I have done, what it is that I DO, still.  Then I asked if that counted as a visual board.  It does.  But just to make sure, here are some more photos that I send out, with all good intentions, to affirm what it is that I am, what I do, what I want and deserve:

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Thanks for reading this blog post.  If you have any job leads, please let me know!  DJGRRR17@aol.com