Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Forward 2010



By Alicia Pozsony


As we set our clocks ahead and await warmer, sun-filled days, it’s time to recognize the season of spring. New life and bright colors of nature—it’s as if Earth is taking new breaths. Take this opportunity, as nature flourishes, to start anew in your job search journey. Whether you’re new to being unemployed or you’ve been unemployed for a longer while, I hope you will find my story uplifting.


Can you think of another time in your life when you were down on your luck? Maybe it was when you were younger in age and less informed about the ways of the world, as was true for me. I recall the very first time I was asked to walk to the corner store to get milk and bread for my mother. This was a challenge I gladly welcomed and proudly accepted. It came with age and she felt I was ready. “Come right home and bring me all the change” I heard my mother call as I walked away from our front door.

It was a warm, sunny day, and I had the confidence of ten thousand men. Repeating the items with each step, my stance was straighter, my attitude was positive, and I had the whole world in front of me with this one simple challenge. Okay, so I had only the second block in front of me where the store was located. It felt like the world. It was a new situation, a new challenge and something I had heard about but never done before. For me, this was a new opportunity for greatness and a chance to prove myself.

With any new experience, the situation can suddenly turn, making one suddenly unsure. In my milk-and-bread situation as a child, I was ultimately forced to have to return home and face the disappointment of my mother. What 9 year old cannot resist the candy conveniently placed at the register? Maybe you recall a time when you spent change on a Popsicle or candy. Maybe it was the local bully spotting you and taking your parents money for lunch that week. Maybe the bag broke and you dropped it causing the bread to quickly lose its shape. I had to return home that day knowing my mother would know some of her change was missing, there’d be no special treatment that day for a job well-done, and worse, I might not get the chance again to prove myself.


To me, being unemployed feels much like I felt that day so many years ago. I recall spending the whole begrudging walk home trying to find a way to come up with found money to replace the missing grocery change. And I tried to come up with a worthy explanation for my mother recounting what had "happened". I thought about how I could do better next time if given the chance.

The element of loss of control is the same during unemployment as it was on that day. Only difference being as a 9-year-old having not made many mistakes in judgment, the choice to spend the change was mine and I caused the situation. On that day there was no found money once it was spent, and today there’s no found job.

But something did happen that day that stuck with me:
My mother instilled in me the confidence to not be afraid,
to not give up,
to be honest about who I am and to know good things will come.


No matter how severe the situation seemed to me that day or how severe the situation seems today, two things hold true:

The situation that day was temporary and inevitably did change; I learned from it and was able to grow, knowing it was a valuable lesson learned.

So, if you’ve already gotten all the enjoyment you can out of your unexpected time off and are now feeling down on your luck, as I did on that warm and sunny milk-and-bread day, remember that your situation is temporary and you will eventually overcome being all the wiser!

Stay positive, reach out to other Professional Service Group Members, and be well as you become renewed this spring.

...You know, my mother DID eventually let me go to the corner store again, and I proved I was able to produce a better outcome than the first outing. Let’s hope these employers will soon see that each of us can do the same and prove a better outcome than our last employer!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Remember the Five Keys to Success

By Alicia Pozsony

Recently, I found an old classifieds section of a local newspaper lying around in an outdated job-search folder. Instead of just tossing it, I revisited it to try to figure out why I’d kept it. I looked it over but noticed nothing exceptionally special about the date. Plus, no jobs were highlighted or circled. And there were no articles of use. So I continued scanning it this first time for companies that had been hiring for information technology positions that August of 2008 and found none. I scanned it again, this time for other positions I might now settle for, and I even circled a few that were advertising part-time work back then, hoping they might be solid leads to some work for me now.

How funny that a newspaper would make me think about all the time that had passed since then, and how quickly the time had gone by. I reflected on who I’ve become, ways I’ve changed, things I’ve done—all of it to try to see how much more accomplished I’ve become or perhaps how much more removed I’ve become from the motivated, confident, and go-getting employed Alicia I’d once been. Surprisingly, my conclusion lay in the middle—and on the fence. I have not been employed over most of that time but have demonstrated my extraordinary abilities—such as to be patient and flexible, to handle pressure in situations I’m not in control of, and to demonstrate volunteerism and show exactly how good a leader I am despite the ways that events of the recent past have affected my situation—as well as other qualities that set me apart from everyone else who’s out of work.

Then it hit me: there was an advertisement in that paper for a small-business seminar. At that time I’d been thinking about what it would take to open my own business. I kept the paper because I’d wanted to attend that seminar. It turned out that I didn’t have all of what it took to become an entrepreneur back then, but I believe that those of us out of work have to have the very same qualities it takes to become our own boss, because we are our own boss in the business of networking, job searching, and selling ourselves.

Imagine yourself an entrepreneur. What do you need to succeed? According to a recent article on Web site —there are five qualities that all entrepreneurs share that are the keys to their business success. See how they apply to your own job search:

1. Desire You must have a desire to break into the workforce or out of the average nine-to-five in an economy as tough as today’s and to put your ideas, ideals, and beliefs into action. Desire is the one key strength that forces entrepreneurs to stay ahead of competitors.

2. Positivity Like an entrepreneur, the job seeker of today must have a positive mental attitude toward life, business goals, and oneself. Job seekers must not be restricted by setbacks, delays, or disappointments. A naturally positive person continues to see opportunities where others see obstacles.

3. Commitment To succeed, you have to be committed to putting in the time and hard work necessary to sell yourself and reach your goals. You must commit to your beliefs and desires. Commitment brings efforts, efforts bring results, and results bring successes.

4. Patience Patience and commitment go hand in hand, and patient people who dedicate themselves to working away at their goals day after day will reap the rewards when the focused hard work pays off in the form of positive and successful results.

5. Persistence Usually, nothing is straightforward or without change, and the future is also usually unknown. These factors mean that the final key attribute of persistence is critical to success. When obstacles appear, when the goalposts get moved, and when tribulations get in the way, you have to persist with your ideas, persist with your hard work, and persist in keeping focused on success. With patient and committed persistence, the desired results will ensue.

Remember: a naturally positive person frees the mind from negativity and disappointment so as to be free to dream, imagine, develop, and expand.

Best of luck in your job search. Stay positive, and keep networking!

Monday, February 1, 2010

This month, Don’t hold back!

By Alicia Pozsony
If you followed my January advice, by now you should be feeling fresh, alert and on track. You should have made yourself once again acquainted with more people through your holiday greetings, feeling good about your timetable and goals and feeling stronger than ever in the self-worth department. If so, good for you! If not, it’s not the end of the world. No time like the present.

This month, I challenge you to stand up and speak up!
  • Start talking on Blogs popular within your profession; start your own blog if you have not yet done it.
  • Use Twitter actively to make the most of your connections online.
  • Go the extra mile to assert yourself.
  • Start conversations on Linkedin.
  • Start conversations in the office supply store.
  • Comment people positively at happy hour.
  • Exchange business cards.
Get out there! Your efforts must be as far reaching as possible so Don’t hold back!

When I am on a path with an ending in mind, I start with zero, so I can accurately measure my standing at any given point. Recalculate every week with your goal toward the finish line. If after three weeks, you are no further than the week before, change your strategy. Try a different person or group of people to use as your mentor. Don’t be afraid to take a step back and be open to change. None of us are perfect, so don’t be afraid to change your course of action. Don’t hold back!

The economy is proving slight improvement so far this year from where I stand; more contract opportunities in more skill sets are rearing their heads, a first quarter for profit and sales growth is returning according to marketwatch.com. Things are slowly, yes, painfully slowly starting to get better. US Census is recruiting for more temporary jobs according to nwitimes.com. You can Google or bing ‘more jobs in 2010’ to see where the experts think the increase in jobs will be in your sector. Keep that in mind and Don’t hold back!

Remember to use Professional groups to network, make professional contacts in person and through email, share goals, help others in finding their next job.

Don’t hold back!

Good things will follow!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Align with your Peers and Collaborate!



By Alicia Pozsony

If you want to know if the economy is picking up for 2010, turn on any news channel. If you want to know recent labor statistics, go to http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm. On the other hand, if you don’t want to read the numbers, because you are one of the unemployed, then perhaps think for a moment of all those of us still hanging in there trying to find a position, wait it out, or even deciding to move on.
A friend recently told me of her weighing the options she had, and she was right in finally deciding to get out and try all over again in a different place. It’s not always as simple of just a choice for those of us, with family and friends nearby, kids in school, lack of money to get out, stuck in a mortgage (or two or three) that we can’t pay off. So what then? I’ve written in past months about the importance of updating your resume, focusing your time and energy on staying motivated, not giving up, and considering your back-up careers and back up plans for different kind of work. “Now what?”, you ask.
Now I say the time is right to align with your peers and collaborate, commiserate if you must. Get together more often for coffee, lunch or dinner, or even a jog; exercise is great to lift depression and fight fatigue. Others at PSG are in the same boat as you are (believe it or not) and can shed light on your situation, not to mention, share contacts or make other connections to people that might open doors for you. And do it more than once or twice. With our busy stressful lives, it’s important to make more than a first impression.
If you are like me, I have made real friends at PSG and they have been invaluable to me. Not just for a smile, and “Hello; How’s it going?” but as a pick me up and a sounding board. They know where you are coming from and they can help. They know of events that might be beneficial to you, websites you have not yet visited, ways to improve your resume (yes, AGAIN!), and act as a sounding board for those times when you have nothing but time on your hands.
One day, you will be able to look back at this time together and recall how short it seemed!
Until then, may employment find you!