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With Employer and Employee, as in any relationship, the Blame Game will not resolve problems. The Occupy Wall Street camps across our nation are going to soon have to come to grips with the fact that they can’t feed on concrete streets and buildings. Somehow, somewhere they are going to have to accept whatever employment they can and get back to their lives like the rest of us. When we elect PERSONALITIES with personal political agenda instead of LEADERS who can actually change our circumstances, the results are catastrophic!  However, if we refuse to get tangled into the maze of Somebody Done Me Wrong, and stay focused on using our skill set to work at some job, as we polish current skills and develop new ones, we can stay employed and move up. Perhaps the greatest oversight in people becoming unemployed is the misconception that we could continue one career for life with a nice retirement plan, pay our mortgages, car payments, refinance beyond our current income, and send our kids through college. NO ONE has that assurance anymore. Even nurses and teachers have to expect change, though we expect to always need human services people.

For over 20 years, we have been interviewing, hiring, and training employees for various company skill sets. The worst candidate I can describe is the one who has depleted their unemployment, no work record for several months (WHO does that?), and is not current on the skills they had when they were employed. They have a wonderful resume, but cannot speak professional English, and their conversation does not match the language skill level of their resume. They use very casual or slang comments, are inarticulate in their speech, and I need someone to interface with clients at all professional levels.
Apology! The worst candidate I can remember was one who had not worked for 12 months, I called to give her the position for our starting rate for her experience, with medical benefits, and 401K and she replied, “Oh, I’m going to have to decline that job. I’m making more than that on UNEMPLOYMENT.” She calculated no value for the 75% health coverage and matching retirement fund we included with her pay rate. Say what you may, an employer has great difficulty believing that person really wants to work. They may want a paycheck, but if they really wanted to workthey would have done SOMETHING in the last 18 months! If they worked for someone and did not report wages, pay taxes, or declare income, an employer suspects that. This suspicion makes them an even less likely candidate for employment. Business owners are looking for a trustworthy employee. Any proof of work, current references, training, refresher courses, are going to set a candidate ahead in the interviews.
BOTTOM LINE: Whatever the “cause” for your unemployment status, do a re-boot on your career goal.
  1. VOLUNTEER or work part-time (if necesary) at a job that continues to challenge your skills or develop new ones toward a career you hope to acquire. You have nothing to do for 40 hours a week, so take a part-time SOMETHING. Volunteer to help in a vocation or avocation that accents your talents and skills.
  2. EMOTIONAL QUOTIENT: (EQ) Maintain a healthy attitude toward “WORKING,” not just making money. Go beyond what every other employee is doing, knowing you are in a contest for doing the BEST job. You will get the employer’s attention. The next available opening will likely go to someone they are already familiar with rather than risk someone new. At least, you will be able to get a wonderful recommendation for your next interview.
  3. NETWORK: You “become” your environment! So, avoid everyone else who is unemployed and any excuses for staying unemployed. (Resist the OWS temptation!) Difficult as it may be, stay connected with the WORKING CLASS! Keep an Instructive -Constructive attitude. Be teachable: do free online courses, webinars, articles that teach state of the art skills, technology, policy changes. Make it your new job to learn the trade. Make your boss regret terribly that you are the one that was “let go.”
  4. RESUME: Revise your resume. (HINT: If we see one misspelled word in a resume, we DO NOT call you for an interview.) Get someone professional in your industry that will help you rewrite it with current information; new references who testify to your refreshing attitude and expertise. Call us for encouragement and career coaching; I will be glad to help with your resume, or at least review it for you.
  5. INTERVIEWS: Before your interview, research the company, the founders, mission statement, company policies, commitment to staff and clients. Be ready with ways you know you will be an asset to the employer, as well as ways you hope to grow professionally in that career environment. During your interview continually redirect the conversation to the care and attention you will give to the employer’s clients, your commitment to the team, and the productivity of the company. Define your passion to serve the staff and clients for the company. Have childcare already resolved; work schedule flexible according to job expectations, (DO NOT go in asking to work days only when the company depends on evening hours to best serve their clients.)

*Remember the Triple R’s: Reinvent your future. Refuse to be discouraged. Realize your dream!