Archive for November, 2009

The 2009 Holiday Gift Guide for the Unemployed

November 27, 2009

If you are home reading blogs, I congratulate you for not being out there buying toys, gadgets, acrylic throws, appliances, and cheese logs. Now we can consider carefully the needs of the person on your list who is unemployed.  You want to be helpful, you want to make a difference, you might want to reflect the spiritual reasons we celebrate in these short, dark days, so here are my top ten gift suggestions in no particular order:

1. A food basket that looks like a luxury, but contains essentials such as  fresh fruit, coffee or tea, and maybe a grocery store gift card  (especially for someone who is getting by on unemployment),
2. A great book with either an overview of the job search process or a focus on one particular aspect of it (arranged alphabetically by author, because they are all my favorites):

  • Anderson, Maureen, The Career Clinic: 8 Simple Rules for Finding Work You Love,
  • Bolles, Richard, What Color is your Parachute 2010?
  • Baber, Anne and Waymon, Lynne, Make Your Contacts Count (2nd edition)
  • Krumboltz, John and Levin, Al, Luck is no Accident
  • Taylor, Karol, and Ruck, Janet, Guide to America’s Federal Jobs.

3. A coffee or lunch date with you and a friend who happens to work in a field that interests the job hunter,

4. A debriefing after the next job interview, including a pot of tea (insert beverage of choice here) and you as a great listener,

5. An appointment with:

  • a very good hair stylist,
  • a computer coach,
  • a massage therapist,
  • a career counselor/coach,

6. A pay-as-you-go cell phone and/or prepaid phone cards for those who are suffering financially. It’s important to keep that cell phone operating to keep the job search current,

7. A classy accessory, such as a watch, pen, business card holder or cell phone cover that reflects the position to which the recipient aspires (doesn’t have to be expensive, just look it),

8. An invitation to a play, concert, or movie designed to (1) get one’s mind off the current situation  and (2) provide an intelligent answer to an interview question about what you have been doing recently,

9. A gift certificate to try a new career for a day.  Splurge on one of the offerings of Vocation Vacations (  This is a dazzling program that promises experience shadowing someone in a totally different career field.  Pricey and memorable.

10. A card or note reminding the job seeker that 2010 brings promise of an economic recovery and that this time next year, the world will seem very different. You can also use the card to list what you think are the person’s gifts that will be welcome in the  workforce.  It has been suggested that you could use a “Top Ten Reasons You Are A Gifted Employee” format.

Your gift of concern, support, and love will add a unique dash of sparkle to the season.

God bless us, everyone!

Thank you, clients

November 23, 2009

As I consider my work this year, I marvel at how difficult life has been in 2009 for so many people.  And some of you found your way to me.  You think I helped you, and I hope that’s so.  You think I know the answers, or maybe you have figured out that I only know a few of them.

What you don’t know is how much I have learned/been reminded of from you this year.  Here is a sampling:

  • creative people can also be organized, and need help in explaining that to others,
  • organized people yearn to express their creativity, which is also hard to explain,
  • family leave is an excellent time to explore career changes,
  • people can internalize trends in their own professions, which can be depressing indeed,
  • fearful people can take enormous risks,
  • spiritual struggles are hard for some people to express, easy and natural for others,
  • keeping your day job can be okay if you are doing it with a purpose in mind,
  • writers just keep on writing no matter what,
  • new college graduates can get discouraged way too easily in this economy,
  • the most confident-appearing people need positive feedback as much as anyone,
  • career clients are almost all willing to do homework that is specific, not willing to do it if it is vague,
  • career counselors can be struck dumb by their own ignorance sometimes, which may be a good thing.

Thank you for reaching out.  Thank you for keeping your appointments and for coming on time (our horrendous traffic notwithstanding).  Thank you for paying promptly. Thank you for sharing your work experience and your aspirations.  Thank you for showing me your portfolios. Thank you for letting me know how the interview went.  Thank you for recommending me to your friends. Thank you for your amazing understanding when I am forgetful. Thank you for reading my blog and making comments.

Thank you, associates

November 21, 2009

I continue expressing my gratitude by focusing on those individuals and businesses who support, promote, or in other ways enhance my ability to do business.  No sole proprietor does it alone.

  • To Nancie Park and the gang in continuing education at Prince George’s Community College, thank you for continuing to facilitate my work in training, whether providing contracts, hand-outs, schedules, or a good laugh,
  • To Larry Zimmerman at MNCPPC (That’s the Maryland Park and Planning Commission for those of you who read this from afar), who continues to hire me to train, including bribing me with maple donuts,
  • To the anonymous folks at Paypal, who keep the money flowing in an accurate and rapid fashion,
  • To Adrienne, my business rep at Verizon, who cheerfully and effectively explains all those little charges that come up for renewal annually,
  • To Aisha at Salon Nuance, who continually advances the cause of greying beautifully, leading by example, skill, and tact,
  • To Catherine Holmes and her team at CPP, who keeps the career world up to speed in the latest data behind their assessments,
  • To Ann Poritzky, my marketing person, who has the unique ability to babysit my blog when I’m on vacation (everyone should have such a friend),

To you, I wish a blessed holiday season.  I hope you know that you are appreciated for all the support you offer during the year.  It is great to know that you are there.

Happy Thanksgiving, 2009.

Thank you!

November 17, 2009

I note that my friend and colleague Maureen Anderson is doing a series of blog postings on saying thanks to key people in her life and career.  Great idea, Maureen!  (In fact, you can drop everything and read this at  I’m going to lift that idea and share my thanks with those who have made 2009 a successful and stimulating year for me.

Today I want to thank my career colleagues, without whom I’d be operating in a vaccuum, going stale fast,  bored with the sound of my own voice.

Here’s to you:

  • Karol Taylor, who as an expert in federal employment, colleague from college teaching days, and neighbor, has enlightened me through phone calls and all-too-rare personal visits.
  • Nancy Abramson and Bruce Ritter, colleagues from my faith community, who with humor and expertise, have shared their considerable ideas and skills,
  • Will Anderson, whose promptness and professional resumes have delighted my clients for several years,
  • Lynne Waymon, networking specialist and consultant, who lives out her message by sharing information and resources before getting anything in return,
  • Ann Poritzky, who offers her expertise in web analytics and design to enhance my career.  Although she’s not a career counselor, she has offered as much connection, introduction, and counsel as any of us.
  • Maureen Anderson, who is dedicated to spreading information about all aspects of career development through her books and weekly radio show.
  • Kim Collins, who specializes in career work with ADD/ADHD clients.  Her understanding of the unique needs of her population is truly amazing.  Check out her blog at

Thank you.  You make my work life more stimulating, more enriched, more current, and more effective.  I am grateful to have such a network.

A message from The Career Clinic’s Maureen Anderson

November 9, 2009

Maureen Anderson here, host of The Career Clinic radio show, career blogger at, and friend of Anne’s. I’m so happy to fill in for Anne on this post, and I volunteered to do that so I could share–the way we did on the radio recently–my top ten reasons we at The Career Clinic love Anne. Anne didn’t feel right about passing this list along herself, and I understand. Plus as I recently pointed out on my own blog, getting someone else to share your story is the sweetest way to do it, I think. “Don’t take my word for it. Take hers…” So here goes. In no particular order…

1. Anne has spunk, and at The Career Clinic, unlike Lou Grant, we love spunk.
2. Anne experiments with her life, by doing radio interviews–for example (lucky for us), so she has more credibility when she suggests her clients experiment with their lives.
3. She stays on me to do things–like blog–that are good for my career.
4. She lets me stay on her to do things–like write a book about leaving a job with class–that I think are good for her career.
5. She tells me what she thinks I’m doing right.
6. Perhaps more importantly, she cares enough about me and trusts our relationship enough to suggest things I could do better.
7. She posts comments on my blog!
8. She sends me great guest ideas for the radio show.
9. She’s funny, and fun.
10. When I tell her I worry that she isn’t getting enough out of our relationship, she objects–and tells me why in detail.

I am aware that Anne is compiling her 2nd annual Gift Guide for the Unemployed. I propose that we all take the time to appreciate our friends who are out there in the job market by letting them know why they are special to us and why they will be an asset on the next job.  Feel free to take the Late Night format of the Top Ten List to express appreciation  – we all need this feedback.

What Color is your Parachute 2010 – what’s new?

November 5, 2009

Does anything really have to be new to make this a great book? No, it’s still the classic go-to book for job hunters.  Written by Richard N. Bolles, for several decades, it has been the first/best/most comprehensive source of information and inspiration for the unemployed.  Most people would admit to have a copy of it in their collection, but too few turn to it when it’s needed.

I’m going to make a few observations about this newest edition in the next postings.  If you have a question or comment about the 2010 edition, be sure to add a comment now so I can address your point during the month of November.

Today’s observation jumps out from the cover:  this book is called the “Hard Times” edition.  And Bolles jumps right in.  Chapters 1 and 2 are specifically related to tough times.  If you are discouraged because of the barrage of bad news that is served up daily in the newspapers, online, and over the airwaves, this section is for you.  Yes, unemployment figures are high (and some say will go higher).  Yes, it will take you longer to get a new job.  Yes, there is increased competition out there for you.

Heard enough?  Time for a dash of Bollesian logic.  He takes you through the process of working through the numbers in a way that just might make you smile.  He quite possibly proves that it’s not hopeless, that there is a place for you, that you have done it before, that you will become gainfully employed once again.

Probably the most startling thing to me that he doesn’t back down from his long-held belief that one should begin one’s job search with an identification of one’s passion, something he calls one’s mission in life.

In tough times, it is so easy to forget that mission stuff, to just go for the nearest attainable job.  Whereas Bolles agrees that for now, you may well have to take that stop-gap job, he never suggests for a minute that you let go of what you are meant to do on this earth.  You just may have to get there via smaller steps.

Interested?  Stay tuned for a few more thoughts on Parachute 2010.  Meanwhile, get yourself a copy!