Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Your Post-Christmas, Pre-New Year's Eve, Snowing, Freeeeezing, Single-digit-Chicago-Temperature Post!

It wasn't easy, they said it couldn't be done (don't they always say that..whoever "they" are?), but just under the wire, here it is: my final blog post of the year.  It's been a while since my last one, so tell us, is the economy fixed yet?  Everything going better than ever?  Everyone you know is employed?  Signed up for your Obamacare policy yet? More on that later (and no, not from any political point of view).  Carefully formulating your new year's resolutions - want to share yours?

How about sharing any wonderful things that happened to you or your family this year? What about any challenges you faced, overcame, or even still may need help facing?
An email from a good friend inspired me to work on a new blog post - I want to share with you some of her feelings about her relatively new job. Like so many of us, she's struggled through a few job searches, trying to apply her deep experience in sales and marketing to a new position.
Thankfully, she recently landed, now working for GoHealth.com. What is GoHealth.com you may ask?  They were the first Marketplace to go live with an integration that allows consumers to fully enroll in health insurance plans created by the new health reform law.  One can also get tax credits and subsidies through GoHealth.com.  Personally, it was a wonderful chance to avoid our government's famously flawed Obamacare site.  And...as I learned first hand just weeks ago: navigating GoHealth.com is easy, and it does work very well. Plus, working with her on the phone made it painless.

Her email made me think: when was the last time that I heard anyone this sincerely enthusiastic about their new job? Here are some of her thoughts she expressed:
"The culture there is so cool, I really enjoy it.  We were visited by the Secretary of Labor two weeks ago for the job creation, training program initiatives. They paid for all licensing & classes, registration in multiple states, etc.  I now have the ability to go anywhere pretty much to get work and because of my deep knowledge of ACA (Affordable Care Act) most agencies would love to hire me.  I will be 60 in 2014 and have a great future employment forecast."
This is so rare, amazing, and something that can't be taken for granted...especially from someone in their upper fifties! After reading her email, I immediately went to the GoHealth.com site to read about marketing job opportunities.
And now a quick update: I landed a tremendous contract job in September with New Control, a very unique, fantastic direct and digital marketing agency located in the Loop, in downtown Chicago.  I was fortunate to work on one of their key clients, Wellpoint.  The role abruptly ended last month due to an unexpected lack of work from the client.  With Obamacare around the corner (good lord, Larry, enough with Obamacare!), this was such an interesting time to work on this client since they run Blue Cross Blue Shield in 14 states - the second largest health insurance provider after UnitedHealthcare.  The people I worked with were very talented and top notch, management really cared, and those aren't empty words...I've been all over...the people running this agency cared so much!  Fingers are crossed for a call-back once their work load picks up.  

I've been very fortunate with the few contract jobs I've landed the last few years.  Next: turn one of these into a much longer lasting opportunity.  So, gulp, yet another job search continues...and I'm here as always, to help you and your friends' searches.
For those dinosaurs out there (e.g., me), I've found a bunch of interesting articles to help us all through the ageism challenges we face (ageism? Yes, everyone denies its existence, except, those that have to deal with it).  Some statistics about boomer job searches really surprised me.
Here's a program developed for those over 50 and out of work.  Some frightening facts: about 40% of unemployed workers are over 45; unemployed people aged 45-54 were unemployed on average for 45 weeks; for 55-64 year olds this number reaches 57 weeks. Have a look, share your thoughts on this article from nbcnews.com.
I don't call this article negative, I see it more as eye opening, being aware, and a learning opportunity about some, not all, but some headhunters. From Forbes, Seven Things A Headhunter Won't Tell You. Do you agree?  Have any experiences like this or similar when dealing with headhunters?
Last, from The Ladders, a good piece covering us older job searchers, but also a link to their article on job searching in your 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, and 60's.  Does it make sense?  Any thoughts on this other Ladders piece?
I think that's plenty for now to nudge our job searches forward, as we're just hours from 2014 creeping into our lives.  As always, I wish for success for you all in your search, as well as a healthy, happy, MORE prosperous, safe, and loving new year!  And, I hope to hear your thoughts here, soon, from which we can all share, learn, and debate.
Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

So....Did Anything Happen Around Here for the Last Eleven Months?

Sure, it's been almost eleven months since you've read an update here.  Perhaps since then you've had exciting and challenging opportunities at work, breakthroughs in, or an end to, your job search, achieved personal fitness goals, met the love of your life, or shared new milestones and adventures with your family.  You know that we all want to celebrate your successes - please share them with us, if you like.

It was a year that, in hindsight, I can't really compare to any other in my life. Last year's highs included:
- a wonderful three month contract Brand Manager position with Deltak in Oakbrook
- a blog ghostwriting opportunity for an insurance web site
- the birth of my brother's first grandchild
- a short trip to Israel to meet him, who is also our family's first Sabra, and to attend his brit.

In the fall, my little six year old daughter was blessed with one of the most incredible first grade teachers out there.  Finally, and most incredible - fourteen long, torturous years of misery came to an end for my beloved Baltimore Orioles, a playoff team, no less.

Sounds pretty great?  Well, 2012 also included its share of bad - a case of mild-pneumonia that hung out with me for the last 9 weeks of the year.  But of course that was nothing compared to the worst - after five long and miserable months of battling AML leukemia, the death of my mother, Jackie.

So, what's on  my table? Once again, I've kick started the job search; a smattering of freelance work; catching up with headhunters; networking; and saying Kaddish three times a day for my mom, (to learn more and read a fantastic traveler's blog about our year of saying Kaddish see my brother's blog: TravelingandKaddish).

One of my freelance gigs took me to the "other side of the table".  An excellent outplacement firm hired me for one day to meet with newly downsized employees of a large, local company.  I was tasked with sharing the outplacement information with them, encouraging them to take advantage of this package offered from the downsizing company. Not being a human resources pro, it was brave, but wise, of the company to use me.  Who understands what these folks were going through better than someone like me?  It made for a long, emotional, but fascinating day.

I haven't posted here in way too long, but my information gathering never stopped.  Here are a few nuggets I mined that may help you, please share your thoughts after you read them.  A reminder, I've attached very helpful links to highlighted words in my post, as always.  Please click and take advantage of all this additional knowledge.

On TheLadders.com are many helpful articles, a great resource, including one that discusses changing your perspective while in a job search.  Many excellent jobs can be found on The Ladders as well.

In ChicagoCareerSite.com I found a few helpful ones concerning your resume.  For those that are new to the concept of Keywords, so crucial when your resume is discovered through corporate scanning software, this one helps you avoid Resume Key Word Mistakes.

From the New York Times - an article from January, and I know it's a very scary thought for our tender, younger readers, but it may be very helpful for those of us who are, eh, um, not very young any more: Over 50 and Under no Illusions.

I hope that you take a few minutes to comment, share, criticize, opine about the articles, the post, the young baseball season, last night's NCAA Championship battle....anything.  Thanks for your patience, and thanks for reading.