1100 Days of Risk and Perserverance

Risk-taking

No risk, no gain!

A couple months after graduating from college, in August 2012, I applied for an entry level finance position with an airline. No one responded. I continued to look for the right job where both my analytical and creative talents could be recognized.  Shoot!  With my excellent grades and work experience in college, I didn’t think it would take long.  However, it took 1100 day!  If I had let down on my risk and perseverance, I’d still be looking.

I’ve always had a strong interest in geography, travel, and transportation. I have family roots in the transportation industry, too. My uncle worked for an airline, and another uncle worked on the railroad for over 35 years. Both men made constant remarks about their love for the job, giving me a strong incentive to work in transportation, especially for the airlines.

Refining the Search

In November 2013, I decided to approach my goal of getting into this company another way. Through a Google search, I came across a company employee based at Los Angeles National Airport, who attended my alma mater. I emailed her; to my surprise, I received a response 10 minutes later. She helped me land a phone interview for a finance job. I excelled during the phone interview. The next step would be a flight to the company’s headquarters for a final interview, but that fell through due to a hiring freeze. I gave myself permission to feel sorry for myself, rage to my family and a networking friend, but I didn’t quit. I continued my relentless perseverance to work at this airline.

While searching for additional jobs, I came across a contractor program this company offered. I didn’t know much about it, but I  researched, which peaked my interest. I applied to participate in it. I thought this would be a great way for me to get my foot in the door at the company. I received a call asking if I wanted to interview.  Absolutely! I took the Amtrak from Northeast Ohio to Chicago and to Texas for an interview.  I felt sure I aced the interview, as the HR lady indicated as soon as an opening occurred, she’d contact me.

The Contract Job in Texas

When the cell phone rang, I’d rush expectantly to answer and the miracle occurred.   In a week, I made my way down to the Lone Star State. I moved across the country knowing the risk involved to start my career with this airline. I had six months to find a full time job with the company. If I didn’t, then I would have been out of luck and looking for a job far away from friends and family.  I knew no one in the area.

I rented a small apartment, sight unseen, near the airport and drove myself to Texas.  The pay was low, and I owe $350 a month on my student loan.  Scared?  Of course!  Excited.  You bet!  But I wanted out of Ohio and a job in transportation.  I took the risk!

The vast majority of my contractor assignment involved working in the baggage department, doing administrative work. I dedicated my life during the six-month training period to my assignments and job search at the company.  Although I sent a few resumes to other airlines and transportation companies in the area, I concentrated on where I was.

Risk with Urgency

I knew people respected me.  My boss encouraged me and spoke on my behalf to others.  I heard comments about myself such as:

“You’re smart, responsible and dedicated.”

“You are so motivated. I’m sure you’ll find a job here.”

“Our company is lucky to have you.  Someone will pick you up.”

And the one I liked best was:

“Do you know what we need here?  We need ten people like you!”

I contacted over 60 employees at the company seeking help or advice on landing a job. I wrote a personal note to an executive at the company and by chance, met the CEO on an elevator when I was attempting to speak with the hiring manager about a job application. I extensively researched the company, its competitors, and airline industry trends.

Unfortunately, my six-month period passed without obtaining  position. But, my faith and confidence kept me moving forward.

Perseverance Pays Off

Before my contract ended I had an interview for a Product Planner position with the company and received an offer the week after my contract ended. All my hard work paid off. I’m very excited and thankful I’ve been given a chance to prove myself where I focused my efforts.

My parents allowed me to take this risk because they had the utmost confidence that with my work ethic and the effort I put forth that I would be successful and accomplish my mission. I’m very grateful to them as well.

I know this is said all the time, but my message to those looking for a job is to never give up. As long as you are willing to take risks and work hard, someone will definitely notice. I’m a very good example of this. It took me over 1,100 days to complete my goal with major emotional ups and downs, but I’m thrilled to be starting this new chapter of my life.

Written by Anonymous

Edited by Ruth Glover

 

 

 

Lessons Learned In My Job Search Journey

Lessons Learned from Experience

Lessons Learned from Experience

Going to a professional meeting to gather a few business cards does not equal networking.  But standing in line at a job fair, could mean the start of a meaningful, ongoing relationship with the person in front of you.  Whether you are unemployed, under-employed or in an unstable situation, you must continue adding people to your pool of friends and referrals.

Three years ago I published MORE than a Paycheck, which is a book of 20 stories about real people who moved their careers in various ways.  Very few found the roller coaster of job search much fun.  I am contacting all 20 people to see how they have fared in the past three years.  Here is one response.

 

Networking, Networking, Networking

“Looking back on the past three years, I’ve learned the importance of ongoing networking, particularly when you do not need any help.  While employed, my objective is to meet with two new people per week and connect with five individuals within my network per week via phone call, email, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

While in transition, my goal was to meet five new individuals per week, and connect in various ways with 10 to 12 individuals from my existing network.  I continue to update my job search records monthly to assure my efforts.  Looking at my spreadsheet, while employed, brings a smile that I have a great job!  But, I don’t want to drop the ball now.  I recently turned 50 and know job search will not get easier, if or when, I’m in transition again.

 Lose the Pride

One area I had failed to network into heavily was my very own Sunday School class.  I think one of the reasons for this failure was my own pride got in the way.  By losing my pride and networking with members of my Sunday School class, the door opened for a consulting opportunity with XYZ Corporation (my current job).

Consulting Reaps Rewards

During my career, I have accepted various consulting roles, many of which resulted in new full-time opportunities.  This approach works well. Not only does one learn about the company and culture, one can see what the challenges within the company are and then position oneself to be a solution to the challenges.  Companies benefit from this approach, as well as they get a trial run with the consultant to evaluate “attitude, aptitude, and fit” (the top three things a hiring manager seeks in an employee).”

Our guest contributor has impeccable educational credentials and work experience, yet he struggled  with layoffs before landing his last job.  Throughout un-employment, his attitude remained upbeat with unwavering faith, at least outwardly.  He volunteered, helping others in job search.  He seemed to do all the right things, but the job journey wasn’t easy.  His wise remarks should slap you in the face with reality.

Job search wisdom can easily be forgotten when you are employed.  Our spokesman is right on target with his advice: you need to make new contacts weekly, regardless of your employment status.

Job search does not end when you start a new job.  Networking is an ongoing activity.  You need to show pride in your work but stay in touch with the outside world and if you are laid off, consider contract work.  The world is changing.  More contract jobs are available than ever. The message is clear!  Now call someone you haven’t talked with in months!

A special thanks to our guest contributor for his insight for you, the reader.