This is Ian’s story in his own words, and singing my praises which I unabashedly share below. Of course, I was a puddle after reading this for the first time. Now, I am grateful that Ian is truly a creative writer and can express the experience with such fluidity and elegance, and offer hints of what really worked for him. His gifts and talents are being used in the way they were MEANT to be used and in a way that he can best be of service to himself, his community and the world. Even though Ian is a recent college graduate, he could be anyone who has been laid off or is dissatisfied with his or her career. This story is his journey, yet the process to doing what you love is the same and the road less traveled. Enjoy!
“I was fired, let go, downsized, call it what you will. It felt like a punch in the stomach. I was fired on the Fourth of July in the middle of one of the worst economic downturns in history. I was a recent college grad with two years of bartender experience under my belt and nothing more. You’d be hard pressed to find a more desperate case when itt came to the field of job searching. That was what I thought anyway, I saw in myself only my short comings and inadequacies. I thought I would have been lucky to find another job in the restaurant industry if anything. Then I met Shell.
She asked me questions about myself that I never even considered asking. What would my ideal work environment look like? What kind of structure would there be? Would I like to work in groups or as an individual? Would there be windows in my office? These questions almost seemed silly. Shell got me to think differently about my goals and what they would look like. What do you think about when you look for jobs? The pay? The benefits? The commute? She got me to think about what I wanted out of a job down to the detail, and because of that the big picture got brighter, more focused, and became more of a tangible reality.
So I went from sitting in my basement playing video games all day long to a structured lifestyle where I had a job. My job was of course to find a job. That meant getting up and starting my day before typical business hours, dressing professionally, and setting small goals and projects for myself to achieve. You have to really give yourself over and trust the process. Shell and I worked together to understand and map out my career goals. We figured out those details I mentioned before and I began to actually see myself in the job I wanted.
The process took a lot of hard work and yes at times I did get frustrated and even upset, but Shell was there every step of the way to encourage me and keep me on the path towards my career goals. Some of my career goals were as follows:
To work in a creative/ marketing position
To work in an environment that was a fair mix between team and individual structures
To work with kind people who kept their work and personal lives separate
To have an office with big windows
At the end of my work with Shell I got a job. I am an internet marking specialist. I am allowed to write and be creative. I work in groups and by myself, and my office has plenty of windows. None of this would have been possible without Shell. Her support and guidance helped me though the darkest moments of my job search, she constantly reminded me that there was a light at the end of the tunnel and the only person who could make it brighter was me. I thank her from the bottom of my heart.”
The caveat to Ian’s story is that he went to work for The Money Tree, voted the best company to work for two years in a row in Seattle, WA. The education and training he is receiving from the position is setting the stage for many opportunities in the future. He loves his job and the company loves him.
Tips for the ultimate “Job Hunt”:
Treat identifying your career/job direction doing what you love (the nit picky details), and subsequent job hunt as a job.
There is truth in the details – they are the authentic you. You will stand above the rest when you can express them (knowing who you are) to a potential employer.
Support does make a difference.
Persistence is key. Stay on track. Never give up.
Shell Mendelson, MS, has been a Career Path Counselor for over 22 years, and trained directly with Richard Bolles, Master Career Counselor and author of What Color Is Your Parachute. Shell is the founder and former CEO of KidzArt, an international art education franchise in 29 states and 8 countries.