August 2009


I recently spent time with an adorable 2-year-old who is learning to share. If she had a cookie, she insisted I have one, too. If she had a balloon, why then, please give one to her older brother. And when she noticed we both had pink sandals, she was…tickled pink. (Pun intended!)

At two, we begin learning to share our cookies, toys, and belongings. We develop this sharing technique as we mature. And lately I’ve seen evidence of this development.

During past job searches, folks held their leads very close, almost regressing to the pre-2-year-old stage. We seemed to be saying, “If I tell you about this job I’m interviewing for, you might apply and then I won’t get it.” That comes from a belief that there’s not enough to go around.

In my current career search/transition phase, there’s been a shift. My fellow job seekers and I are sharing career resources, job leads, and general endurance tips. Several times a week I receive an email from a colleague describing a position they heard about and maybe it’s right for one of our group. Or an email from one of my groups has relevant career advice and announcements of networking meetings. This information exchange is refreshing and revitalizes my search!

I’ll keep the exchange going:

Have any career cookies to share? Post them here or email them me and I’ll post the information.

–Thanks to folks who sent these additional resources:

  • Jim Grant, CVJS co-founder, authored Get the Job (and Compensation) You Want. This helpful “how to” book contains concrete and helpful information for career transitions. If your funds are limited, this is THE job search book to own; it’s available from Amazon.
  • For detailed job search/career planning, company information, and online resources, check out the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Career Information web page. The Survival Guide lists great employment, financial, legal, and social service resources.
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That’s the activity of the day. What makes me tick? What activities am I most excited about? What – besides coffee – gets me going in the morning? And why explore this topic? To best align and balance my life and my work.

This is a work in progress. Here’s what’s on the list so far:

  • Being outdoors in great weather
  • Swimming
  • Writing pieces that inspire, empower, and enrich another
  • Hanging with family and friends – sharing day-to-day activities
  • Studying and learning about writing, languages, and spiritual pursuits
  • Travel

What’s your passion?

I’ve discovered the hidden treasure in our libraries. They are wonderful resources for folks working through a career transition. Libraries in Northeast Ohio offer free computer access, available printers (some libraries allow 10 pages free per day), business databases, computer skill classes, and career training. Some libraries host great lectures and job seeker clubs.

I recently attend a networking event at the Hudson Library. Their fall schedule features an entrepreneurship series. Email askus@hudson.lib.oh.us for details.

And in my backyard (well, almost), there’s the Cleveland Heights Library on Lee Road. That’s where I learned about blogging and wikis. Need to bone up on your computer skills or revise your resume? The library offers classes! Check out their upcoming events.

Enjoy the learning journey!

At about 3:00 AM Tuesday morning, we heard a loud bang. What was THAT? An attack? Gun shots? Fireworks? None of those – it was simply some malfunctioned electrical device. Truly, we were in the dark. It was eerily quiet and odd – the houses across the street were fine, as were those further down our block. There were about 10 of us affected by this local blackout.

Now what? No fans, no a/c, no land line, and no computer. What was I going to do all day? Where could I go to cool off? I did get creative and find places to go and things to do. I learned that the Employment Connection location on Brookpark Road is well air conditioned! Fortunately for me, there’s a great resume clinic session on Tuesdays!

But this short, 24-hour experience got me thinking. Is there anything I can do to counter-act the dependence?

  • Call the electric company as soon as we’re in the dark.
  • Have a supply of batteries on hand for radios and flashlights.
  • Keep the fridge closed as much as possible.
  • Back up key documents often so that they are always ready.
  • Maintain a supply of drinking water.
  • Have a telephone that does not require electricity.
  • Enjoy a ride in the air conditioned car AND charge the cell phone.
  • Eat dinner out – a treat!
  • Smile (a challenge in 90 degree weather with 90 degree humidity).

I am very grateful to those electric company workers who came out at 3:00 AM the following morning to repair the malfunctioned equipment – a transformer.

My day without electricity was really a transforming experience!

I’m using this transition phase to discover how else I can best use my talents. Today’s activity…inventory my skills and interests. Here are some of the tasks I worked on (with gratitude to my job coach):

  • Listed out past careers and jobs that piqued my interest (revealed some patterns and dug up jobs that I’d forgotten about)
  • Described what I would do after I won the lottery (showed me my priorities)
  • Wrote out some of my goals and dreams
  • Listed my strongest skills and how I’ve used them
  • Explored and prioritized my values

What a great way to uncover some fresh tools for any transition!

Oh – my favorite task? Describing what I would do after I won the lottery. What would you do after you won the lottery?

There are advantages to being “in transition” in the summer as opposed to the winter. I’m enjoying the journey at this time of year.

On my walk in the neighborhood on Friday, I saw a goldfinch and a rabbit. During my walks around Shaker Lakes I take time to watch the fish (rest stop!) or families of ducks or geese who are also taking in the sites. Then there’s swimming…my favorite. Of course all of this physical activity is to keep me fit, vary my routine, and stimulate my brain.

We’ve also toured some of Cleveland’s Metroparks this summer. I’m grateful that there are wonderful local nature spots.

“You are never trapped in life. When you realize that, you find you’re free to accomplish incredible things!” (The Spark, p. 79; see Growing through writing.)

Nope, we are never trapped. Not even into a career. We can always explore other options. We can choose to look around, inventory our skills and interests, speak with mentors, or even chat with new-found network contacts. 

Just this week I learned about a website designed for those of us who are exploring careers. For Ohioans, check out Career Exploration.

As always, enjoy the journey! You can accomplish incredible things!

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