Saturday, February 21, 2009

A week of dichotomies

And it started with the weather, of all things. Earlier in the week, we had warm, taunting spring-like weather that made me forget that I live in a northern state. Today, we have a winter weather warning with up to eight inches of snow expected. Sigh.

Over the course of helping with JobAngels I have taken the opportunity to talk to people about job hunting and job searching. The stories run the gamut of extremes and it is hard not to be touched in some way.

My first story is an acquaintance who found work after eight months of searching. He interviewed for as many positions as possible, keeping his suit ready, his resume up-to-date, thank you notes ready to go - always thinking that perhaps this was the job - the one today, yesterday, last week - that would give him the nod. And one day it was. He response surprised me slightly: he said upon receiving the offer that his thoughts weren't exuberant, joyful and celebratory; rather he (and his wife) sat down with quiet reflection and cried. Cried. His story made me pause. Never did he think that with a master's degree and his experience would it take so long to find a job.

And then there is fun ....I had a chance to chat on a panel of HR people for a class that @sbjet - Steve Boese who blogs here. He had a terrific class - graduate class in HR Technology. Well that was a hoot - so many stellar people on the call. We joined through a website, could hear each other chat and laugh, the class leader making fun of us and his wonderful students. After the class, I reflected on what is next for his students. Many asked for advice about joining the work force (either for the first time or in a new HR role). The response from many of the panelists including me - be open, do whatever you can, don't be afraid to get your hands dirty, seek out mentors, network like mad, use as much social media as possible, know the business, now its goals, ask for help - put yourself out there. We wish them all the VERY best.

Another good friend is currently seeking. She is immensely qualified, educated, bright, outgoing and brings so much to any table. She stays positive in the fact that there is a good job and place for her. Last week she interviewed and didn't receive an offer. She wrote a thank you note to the person who interviewed and made the decision - thanking her for the time and asking for consideration and referrals should she have any. I want to pick up the phone and call all the places she is interviewing and tell them how LUCKY they would be to get her. :) But I don't.

In my office, we have a standing policy of returning all inquiries - all calls, emails, contacts. Good service, good business. We strive to be good stewards. Now more than ever, I see and feel a somberness: tremendous empathy for the job seekers, an extra smile for the employees who are adding spouses to benefits because of a layoff or downsizing and a few extra words when employees stop by. Something has changed and we are all aware though no one quite wants to articulate it. But everyone wonders if and when it will end. I wonder too.

There are jobs out there. Great companies are hiring. It will take time and patience to find what's next. If you are looking, reach out and ask for help. If you are working, take a few minutes to help someone - a resume review, a link to an opening, a referral, a kind word. We are all in this together.


Steve Boese said...

Maven - What a great post with some really touching stories. I have to thank you for sharing so much of your time and energy with the JobAngels project, as well as with helping me with my class. You are the best!

Lisa said...

We really are all in this together aren't we? I doesn't take much to help another and keeping that in the forefront can make such a huge impact.

Anonymous said...

Great advice, I really enjoy your posts.

HR Maven said...

Steve, thanks for the comment. It's so wonderful to know you in the HR world.

Lisa, we are in this together. :)

Anonymous, thanks so much for stopping by!

HR Minion said...

Awesome post!!! :)