Sustaining Job Loss Injury & Healing From It

mental health art by Katie DiamondMental health experts say there is a grieving period from job loss that one must reconcile before being able to receive assistance seeking new work and become open to opportunities for a new job. Some folks can do both concurrently. For others, it seems they need “time out” to comprehend what happened to them and try to make sense of it, if they can. Although it may or may not have anything to do with their job performance, the ramifications and consequences are the same: Displacement, alienation, esteem erosion, anxiety and increased economic hardship.

Grief takes the form of a roller coaster of emotions. Employment specialists can throw tools at them and feed them information after information, all well-meaning and ultimately useful, but unless those grieving are ready, it is futile. There is so much information available, sometimes it feels like, water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink, which can increase anxiety.

“I don’t know where I fit in.” This refrain is echoed by the unemployed whether they are new college graduates or matured professionals because the business world has truly morphed into unrecognizable forms and shapes.

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My Greatest Disadvantage and How I Overcame It

escape art print by Eric FanMy name is Dennis Hart and I am a toxic workplace survivor. Not too long ago I read a submission about what you should do if you were terminated as a result of personality conflicts, negative office politics, and other negative workplace events.

I feel like my last employer wrote the book on effective workplace abuse techniques, psychological torture and toxic work environments. All this occurred while human resources rubber stamped the actions of the worst abusers as “routine business policy.”

Despite the fact that I knew all of this, I could not escape the negative effects the abuse had on my self confidence, and even my mental stability.  Eventually I lost my job and found myself out of work for over a year.  This submission, however, is not about the abuse I endured.  It is about how I overcame the detrimental effects, restored my confidence, and found a new job.

I remember the day I lost my job and the last meeting with my former manager and human resources.  It was if they wanted to make sure that the abuse I endured would have a lasting psychological effect.  On the drive home I felt a strong desire to run my car off the road.  I thought my employer had so damaged my reputation that I would never work again.

Fortunately common sense took hold…

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Over 50 & Long-term Unemployed? This is How You Land a Job. A Firsthand Account from Someone Who Beat the Odds.

patricia nordin

After our latest newsletter we received some great news that a former 405 Club member landed a new job.  First off, we LOVE to hear those stories so please continue to send those our way.  Secondly, when we found out she had been unemployed for over 2 years and she is over 50, we knew this would be a fantastic opportunity to learn from her experience and inspire many others through a Q&A piece.  Please join me in thanking Patricia Nordin for sharing her story, her life, her experience so that others can follow her lead and get back to work. 

~Garrett Dale, Co-Founder of The 405 Club

1. Let’s get right to it. You were among the long term unemployed, over 50, in a creative field.  The odds were stacked against you to get back to work. How did you do it?

  I took a short break right after I was let go from my job of 25 years and started to send out resumes and call people. Nothing happened in the beginning and I felt confident I would get something. After a year of no definite callbacks— I decided to stay current with technology and took a course in Dreamweaver to learn web design (I am an art director), as I knew if I did not learn some new skills it could hold me back.

2. When you were unemployed for over 2 years, how were you able to stay emotionally tough and mentally prepared for re-entering the workforce?

 I was feeling ok most of the time, but felt after 2 years out of the field—that if I did not get something in art direction before the 3 year mark, I would not get something. I tried to stay positive, and always had a gut feeling I would wind up somewhere—I was very good at what I did, and could not understand why no one was hiring me. I know my age (58)— and high salary were a huge drawback—but I kept answering every job listing i saw— I even took a job at Macy’s in retail at the holidays in the hopes of getting into their visual display department—but that did not happen.

3. People always say, “if I knew then, what I know now…” How would you end that phrase after this experience? Would have have done anything differently?

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Doing As We’re Told… Which Apparently Wasnt Enough

homework by Bex BourneWe did everything right. We did our homework in junior high school, because we were told, “In high school, homework will be a lot harder.”

We did our homework in high school, too, so we would be prepared for the tests. We knew we needed to do well on the tests, because if we didn’t, it would hurt our GPAs. “If you have a low GPA, you won’t get into a good college,” they told us.

And then we did it, we finished high school. Some of us did better than others, but we were eager and willing. We listened to what our guidance counselors and teachers and parents said; we toured college campuses and  we filled out applications at the start of senior year, we waited for acceptance letters. We applied for scholarships and student loans and filled out our roommate preference forms.

But all the while the mantra was This is what you’re supposed to be doing. You graduate from high school and you go to college. That is just what you do. I told my parents I wanted to be an author. “That’s nice,” they said, “but not very practical. Get a degree instead, and then maybe, if you have time later, you can write those books.”

And so we went to college, because that’s what smart go-getters did…

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More Shows and Movies to Watch When In Between Jobs

More Shows and Movies to Watch When In Between Jobs

Over a year ago I wrote “The 10 Best Movies & Shows To Watch When In between Jobs.”

When I write an article that deals with the “best of” anything, I find myself asking what I could have left out. Recently I took another look at the movies and shows I selected in my previous writing. While I made some excellent choices, I feel it’s time to add to that list.

One of my job search mentors recommended Friday afternoon as the best time to watch inspirational Movies or TV shows. Her reasoning made sense. She would often tell me “After spending the week chasing down employment opportunities, you need to do something to clear your mind.” As a result, I decided to use Friday afternoon to put job search issues aside and watch inspirational movies or TV shows. It was one of the activities that helped me start the following week recharged and motivated.

The following movies and TV shows provided me with both inspiration and entertainment…

Finish reading this article via The 405 Club: The Un-Employment Support Network in New York & Beyond! · More Shows and Movies to Watch When In Between Jobs.

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Have You Really Researched That Company?

ctl alt delJobseekers know how important it is to research a prospective company. While networking is at the heart of job search, one of the other critical elements is learning about the prospective company.Doing research in as many sources as you can is just as important as a compelling cover letter, dynamic resume and solidly good interview. You want to get the best-rounded scope and bird’s eye view of what a particular company that you are targeting for possible affiliation is all about.

Research is priceless for interviews through personal introductions when you already have a leg up because of mutual acquaintance and for taking the initiative in ferreting out opportunities for yourself by constant investigating everything, leaving no stones unturned. But research can still bode you well even in traditional interviews begotten from advertisements when you are lucky enough to receive a callback from your application.

What many people don’t understand is that you begin impressing a prospective employer in the cover letter! If you’re lucky enough to meet the right person face-to-face at a chance encounter like a job fair or networking meeting where someone knows someone and facilitates your meeting, you can then tell that key individual in person! The cover letter is a forum to briefly choose one element you have learned about them and most importantly tie it into something you’ve done, a strength you possess, a talent, and what you can do for them. Pay attention to their corporate philosophy or social mission and align with it.

No one should be without at least a basic understanding of the company, agency, institution or organization for which they seek opportunities and offers. Knowing something about the company shows engagement and serious commitment on your part. Research is essential for a number of reasons…

Finish reading this article on The 405 Club: The Un-Employment Support Network in New York & Beyond! · Have You Really Researched That Company?.

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The Crooked Ways of Business: It Isn’t Always About You. In Fact, It Rarely Is.

birds of a featherPeople who are unemployed suffer enough abuse. Financially strapped, they are mercilessly teased and antagonized by unremitting dead-end leads over protracted period of time that feel like a bloodletting, treated anonymously, like a number, feeling like a non entity in cyberspace—and victimized further by insensitive interviewers and job search policies by companies that would turn the dead over in their graves.

I’ve entertained a number of complaints from jobseekers about recruiters and practices on employment applications regarding questioning both on paper and in the interview. I’ve heard on several occasions that recruiters will want to know the companies to which you have applied or interviewed. This seemed like a normal request. After all, they wanted to know what strategy they would use if they repeated your application the second time—through them—or would skip altogether if you had had an unpleasant outcome and applicants and placement counselors like myself thought nothing of it. It made perfect sense…right? But now I am also hearing that some recruiters are pumping their clients for names of human resource personnel at companies with whom these clients met—so the recruiters can use them as contacts for more of their ownbusiness. This conveys to their clients that they are not interested in placing them, only gathering information for business and potential corporate paying clients. Regrettably, I hear this more often than I care to.

It’s clear that staffing agency personnel are judicious in very specific, exacting ways to please what corporate business clients want and who they want to hire. They want to keep their accounts. I’m certain there is a mold or prototype to fit—and they want to please the paying employer-client—not you.

Maybe they want an orange or pear but you are an apple. Keep looking for the right orchard… 

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What Holds You Back? Examining the Wild Horses of the Job Search Apocalypse.

No doubt, unemployment wreaks havoc and plays with your head in damaging ways.

wild horsesOver time, as an employment specialist, I have observed that many who seek new work become trampled by the horses of the Job SearchApocalypse. I realize it’s not fair or accurate to judge and paint an entire unemployed population with the same brush, as there are mitigating circumstances surrounding the economy and the number of jobs lost. Current reports fluctuate and are enough to paralyze anybody who loses a job. But some of the self deprecating and self defeating characteristics emerge time after time that they could easily form a course entitled, “How to Lack Luster 101.”

Many people unwittingly or unknowingly sabotage their job searchsuccess in little ways. The same profile of hopelessness and apathy repeatedly seems to emerge. While reality dictates massive changes in the world of business, don’t give up trying to find work.

Please make sure that you develop the following healthy job search characteristics as it is your only hope to combat the demons of unemployment:

1.       Show Initiative. Do you feel like a sitting duck in a penny arcade? Are you stuck in the self pity mode? Do you feel unmotivated with no sense of urgency? It astounds me as to the huge amount of time that passes between meeting someone, providing them with tools, assisting them with ideas, and the time it takes for that personto get back to me. Often weeks go by and I have to first regroup to try and remember that person. People get used to being unemployed and it becomes a whole new culture, a way of life.

Work with me! I want to help you!

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How Big Business Can Grow a Heart: An Open Appeal for Social Consciousness-Raising to Help Us All Revive the American Dream Together

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about how big businesses canredeem themselves and resurrect a work life for those millions who’ve lost jobs due to economic downturns, domino theories, corporate greed and just about every other reason people lose jobs. Here are my ideas I’d like to share, thirteen of them and counting:

1.      Companies should advertise when they have massive layoffs. They could place full page ads in major metropolitan dailies like The New York Times and dozens of others across the country saying they have good dedicated workers and categorize the areas or job titles which they fall under with an appeal to other companies to contact them if they need any of the services these about-to-be laid off employees (listed in ad by job title only) provide and that they are being laid off through no fault of their own.

2.      Companies should pay attention to the various incentives offered by the federal and state governments to get disadvantaged workers achieve independence, self sufficiency or get back on their feet—including ex offenders and welfare recipients. Incentives include Worker Opportunity Tax Credit offered to employers who hire those disadvantaged populations and something called bonding. That’s free insurance provided by the government for hiring ex offenders. If the new hiree commits a crime of theft, etc., the employer is guaranteed to be reimbursed.


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The Importance of Networking

Preface:  My job searchtook place during the height of the recession, and although unemployment is currently declining, there are still too many who are out of work.

An article I read during the summer of 2009 stated that for every one job opportunity, there were five people out of work and ready to fill that position. The article also compared job searchto a game of musical chairs. It was an interesting analogy, however, I did not agree with the analogy then, and I still disagree with it today.

Job loss represents a change in your life.  The stability of a daily or weekly routine is replaced with uncertainty.  Unemploymentinsurance and savings are now your lifeline, and you must learn to live on diminishing resources.  Your employment search, in turn, becomes a fight for survival, similar to the way our ancestors had to hunt for food and shelter in order to survive.  In both cases, the only way to succeed is to be among the most fit and cunning. Those who areequipped with a strong set of survival skills will always succeed, no matter how demanding the environment is.

It was in that spirit that I wrote the following piece:The Importance of Networking

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