FACT: I am one of those Gen Xers. Did this term really take off as it has for other generations? I mean, who wants to be called Generation X?
FACT: I have been unemployed for the last 7 months. This is the longest I have ever been unwillingly unemployed and at my age, that’s pretty damn scary. In the beginning, there was a lot of doubt about myself. I wondered why I spent 5 years in my previous job to only be out of work. I wondered what I did wrong. I thought it was my fault. I thought I was too old. Hear me on this friends: I WAS WRONG!
After I had my brief pity party, I started thinking about what I really wanted to do. You see, since my last dream of owning and running a Day Spa came true, I did not know what my next dream should be. I had to work to support my family, so it was essential to work. I knew I had to get a job no matter what. Here’s what I did to get to my new dream:
Daily, I would get up at 5am, have some coffee and start applying for jobs online.
My goal was 20 applications a day. That’s 2,800 online applications since I started. That’s also 2,799 rejections. Rejections were tough because I spent a lot of time and effort, not only with my applications but with companies and with people. It’s amazing how some companies don’t respond to you at all. Just ignore you as if you don’t matter. If you read nothing else, read these words: YOU DO MATTER!
I joined a support group for job seekers like me.
This was the best thing I did. Job Seekers Network gave me new in person connections. Some friendships came through and others did not. However, there was always an inspiring speaker to get our day started. We heard about other people’s successes. We got our resumes reviewed, we learned how to interview better, network better, handle our finances, and market ourselves. There were a lot of Gen Xers in this group reinventing themselves.
I joined Camp Gladiator so I would working out as much as possible.
This was so helpful in my journey to reinvent myself. Oh yes, there were days I did not want to go but the people in this group were so supportive and encouraged me to go. I made the commitment to go even when I did not feel like it. As a result, I lost 20 lbs and gained strength and courage to keep going.
I invested time in learning something new.
I took an online course from coursera.com with Northwestern University and started practicing Social Media Marketing. Let me be clear, I am not from the generation that grew up with technology. We had those brick size phones and maybe a pager. Our computers at that time were big and clunky and not everyone had one in their house. However, once I started taking the class, I fell in love with social media. Why? The connections that I made with people all over the world, sharing ideas, talking about struggles, support for one another. It takes a while to find the right group and friends, but once you do, there is no turning back. Here’s where I want to thank all the people who are true experts in Social Media. These people gave away knowledge and advice so that I could become better. During a time where I did not have any money, this was a game changer for me.
I helped others whenever I could.
With my new skill in Social Media Marketing, I started to share my knowledge with others and help them to market themselves better on social media. I helped them understand their passion. Any time I could give a kind word, or encourage, or physically help someone, I did.
I also volunteered to visit the elderly, babysit, and clean houses. This volunteer work was tremendous for my soul and my attitude.
I trusted my intuition and took action.
While I was on Twitter, I noticed CEO, Anthony C Gruppo was putting out his own original quotes about leadership and teamwork. They were very inspiring. I started to think how I could get them more noticeable. I started to create quick moving pictures of his quotes. I did this every other day just because I wanted to. I didn’t know if he would like them or see them. But, he noticed them and liked and commented on them. Then he graciously sent me all the books he had written. I read his books and continued to do moving pictures or still ones with his quotes every week, very consistently. I also continued gain real followers on my Twitter account. I went from 100 to 2,700 followers in about 5 months. Anthony made a comment on one of my posts “I should hire you to promote my work.” Now, I could have ignored it, said thank you and moved on but instead, I took action. I immediately messaged him and said “We should have a discussion about this.” He gave me his number and we set up a time for an interview. We talked for an hour and we got to know each other. He told me his group could use some Social Media training and asked if I would be interested in coming to New York to consult his team. I said “yes” and now I am going to New York in October to train his team.
I stayed positive and did not give up.
Other people gave up on me. I heard “You don’t have a job yet?” quite often. Some of my “friends” did not hang out or call me anymore because I did not have extra money to spend on going out. However, I kept going and spent time with friends who supported me in spite of my circumstances.
I applied at Whole Foods for a Team Lead role on their Global Support team because I saw the opening and I have always loved Whole Foods. I got an in person interview and really enjoyed all the people I met there and I thought I would definitely get an offer. But I did not! I was devastated. The manager reached out to me and said, there is a position coming up that I would like you to consider but it’s not posted yet, let’s have coffee and talk about it. We had coffee together and discussed the position. I told her that I was interested. This was a month ago. I started to think it was not going to work out because I have heard others tell me this before and the job ends up getting cut or they delay in hiring someone due to budget constraints. However, I am starting on Monday working for Whole Foods (which just got bought by Amazon) as a Program Manager. The group of people I am going to work with are outstanding. They have the same values as I do and I can’t wait to start on their team.
Two dreams came true for me: I am working for an awesome company, Whole Foods and I am excited about being a part of their Corporate Headquarters team. I have become a Social Media Strategist!
My reason for writing this is to encourage you to keep going and not give up on your passions, dreams and job searching. In fact, what’s your dream? Please tell me in the comments, I would love to hear about it.