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  1. #11
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    Nancynobullets: Find a way into higher education that will gain you qualifications. Hopefully these qualifications would give you the chance at a career that allows you to ride that creativity. Since it doesn't sound like you have other formal qualifications this might be hard for you. Going to a lesser college will likely leave you surrounded by those who care less about the subject than you do, as well as being frustratingly immature. My older sister is going through this process right now.
    Yes, so right - can you do the education while doing your job hunt? Do you have access to a less economically depressed area?

    The one thing missing from your amazing list of job search strategies, Gloriana, is hitting up friends and family. Do they all know that you're looking, exactly what you're looking for, and committed to keep an eye out for you? Every single job I've gotten has been through a connection, and not to sound cocky, but I do have the credentials (degrees, GPAs, experience, etc.).

    What about gaining experience while you're hunting via volunteering? Skills like publicity, social marketing strategy (you're good at the web and writing, so I could see you in communications -- that's a field and you could take classes for it at a community college), outreach (particularly for non-profits). I wonder if something like communications and outreach for a non-profit could be fun/satisfying. You'd get to work on a cause too. And you're a fantastic/clear writer.

    Oh, oh - counseling? Volunteering for a rape crisis center or hotlines? You'd get more social connections that way or get hired by the place you're volunteering at? I know you're a skilled counselor.

    Counseling and writing are marketable skills, Ms. not-so-unskilled-by-corporate-America-standards

    And maybe we're INFJs, but we're not aimless. Most (from what I read) want to make a positive difference in the lives of others; live an honest, authentic and sincere life; are hardworking; and put that "J" to darn good use in organizing things (marketable trait!) Not dissing P here at all -- I need a bit of Pness in my life. Heh.

  2. #12
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mochajava View Post
    Yes, so right - can you do the education while doing your job hunt? Do you have access to a less economically depressed area?

    The one thing missing from your amazing list of job search strategies, Gloriana, is hitting up friends and family. Do they all know that you're looking, exactly what you're looking for, and committed to keep an eye out for you? Every single job I've gotten has been through a connection, and not to sound cocky, but I do have the credentials (degrees, GPAs, experience, etc.).

    What about gaining experience while you're hunting via volunteering? Skills like publicity, social marketing strategy (you're good at the web and writing, so I could see you in communications -- that's a field and you could take classes for it at a community college), outreach (particularly for non-profits). I wonder if something like communications and outreach for a non-profit could be fun/satisfying. You'd get to work on a cause too. And you're a fantastic/clear writer.

    Oh, oh - counseling? Volunteering for a rape crisis center or hotlines? You'd get more social connections that way or get hired by the place you're volunteering at? I know you're a skilled counselor.

    Counseling and writing are marketable skills, Ms. not-so-unskilled-by-corporate-America-standards

    And maybe we're INFJs, but we're not aimless. Most (from what I read) want to make a positive difference in the lives of others; live an honest, authentic and sincere life; are hardworking; and put that "J" to darn good use in organizing things (marketable trait!) Not dissing P here at all -- I need a bit of Pness in my life. Heh.
    +1 *Especially* with less actual work experience/credentials, volunteering is probably the best way to gain marketable skills/experience. And, if you are able to target organizations or fields who you think you might actually see a fit in, in the longterm, not only are you gaining practical experience, but you are also Networking by the very fact that you're present, in their faces, and they're also seeing your work for themselves. Already gives you an upper-hand if they *would* have future job postings - they already know you. Huge benefit. Of course it's not a surefire way into a job, esp. if there are many other volunteers also seeking employment, BUT, it's a win-win situation - especially while you're still job-seeking. Gets you doing something, gets you meeting people,and you can add these skills to a functional resume.

    Also, temping is a possibility. I did that while in college and right out of college, and it got me in the door (granted, at the lowest rung possible, but still) of a major corporation, and from there it was just a matter of working my way up.

    With the economy still recovering, temp-jobs may be few and far between as well, but that's another thing to check out.

    I think unless you're in a position to go back to school and get a degree, these are the best options as far as adding onto what you're already doing (which is a LOT, I might add!! Goodness, you're certainly doing a lot!). And... even with a degree, these are both still often ways to get your foot in the door - because, with only a degree and little experience... it CAN be really, really hard to get that first job - even a crappy job.

    Also, could check out unpaid/temporary positions/internships that are posted in various organizations. Last year, as a 31-yr-old, I accepted a short-term unpaid 'internship' in a field I had always been curious about, and ended up getting it because I had had some prior volunteer experience in the field, and had just started volunteering there to boot. Fabulous experience gained, albeit no money, although the irony was that after I'd done it for 3 weeks, unpaid, they ended up paying me for the remainder. It was weird, but things like that can happen. So don't overlook unpaid stints either - think of it as 'pre-work' /experience-gaining so that you can bulk up your resume and then land a paying job down the road.

    Good luck.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  3. #13
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    I think others have given more/better advice than I would, but I want to third or fourth or whatever it is the thing about volunteering. It sounds as though you might fit in well at an arts festival or something like that. I did some literary-related volunteer work when I was a bit younger. It definitely helped out on my CV when I didn't have a great deal of formal experience in the area otherwise but wanted to get into publishing. My English degree and writing experience also helped - well, actually the writing experience didn't help much with publishing work, but I digress.

    I think it's all about how you spin your CV. I felt like I worked dead end jobs with not much relevance to what I really wanted to do, for several years, but in the end all of it turned out to be relevant. Call centre: I used my language skills and developed good and courteous phone and customer service skills. Customer relations: great experience in dealing with angry and difficult people, and difficult situations. Plus admin experience, etc etc.

    It's not easy out there right now, I wish you all the best, and if I come up with something more useful I'll post it here.
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  4. #14
    Patron Saint Of Smileys Gloriana's Avatar
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    First off, thanks so, so much for all your replies. I wasn't expecting this kind of personal feedback at all, I really appreciate it!

    In terms of friends, I have a small circle that are close to me and they have indeed brought leads to job opps that were only listed internally, privately, etc. I applied for them, I just didn't wind up getting interviewed. Like I said, I spent a lot of time and money last year attempting to widen a social circle but I just did not gain any real contacts for whatever reason. My close friends are ALWAYS on the lookout for me. As far as family, I simply just don't have one in any real capacity. I have an extended family, but they all live in NY and just jumped on board as personal references (one works for Home Depot and let me list her as my cousin when I applied at the local one, haha).

    In terms of volunteering, that has been an odyssey unto itself. Most opportunities around here are connected to Churches of some kind. I joined up with a local 'beautification coalition' and helped clean out some local offices that had been flooded. I didn't announce that I am atheist but one of the women I was working with asked me what church I attended. I said I didn't go to church, one thing lead to another, I told her I am atheist, and the next day another woman called me and told me I 'wasn't needed' for a planned trip to help the garden club transport trees. I was so pissed off, I seriously started researching if I could bring in the ACLU. I calmed down and didn't in the end, but I was really angry. I have NOT listed them on my resume as a reference.

    The only volunteering on my resume so far is reading to kids at the local library (which I LOVE when I get the chance, even though I'm still figuring out how to handle that many kids at once, hehehe). I keep telling myself I need to get over it and just take up more volunteer opps with the church groups around here, but I admit I am dragging my ass because deep inside, I don't want to deal with them. I just keep looking for 'non denominational' organizations. I'm on a waiting list at the local hospital for volunteering. I used to work there and know it like the back of my hand, I really want that one but they tend to keep the same volunteers for a long time.

    My friends have helped me tweak my resume here and there, I've got one which highlights my creative work as is, and another one where I basically tweaked all the entertainment/homemaker stuff I did and put it all in more applicable terms (I was basically the go-to-girl for everything on these movies, from casting people, to transporting people to locations I had scouted myself, and on and on, so I feel I really DO have experience in management). I have more PERSONAL references than I can shake a stick at, I'm just lacking in professional references.

    I have one film maker friend who now lives in L.A., he was basically my boss on most of the movies I worked on, he's been great. I have the director of the Improv group I was in, but he owns his own business and he never picks up his phone. Those are the only two PROFESSIONAL references I have. My SO offered to lie and say he employed me in his teaching business (even though he and his partner have never been able to afford an employee in their lives) but I really, really hate the idea of that (I hate the idea of getting hired, then people finding out he's my SO and making the connection). Some people have told me two professional references is fine even if one doesn't pick up his phone, others have said it's not that good. I have no real idea.

    At the moment, I admit I'm also worn down because I'm living in a 4-bedroom house belonging to my mother and I'm the one taking care of it. She is disabled and depressed but won't get help. She is limited severely in some areas, but in others she just makes excuses because she's 'tired of dealing with it all'. The house is 20+ years old, has a big yard with a pool, and it's crammed with accumulated crap (not on the level of Hoarders, but like 'Hoarders Lite'). I've been painting, putting flooring down, sorting through junk to donate or haul to the dump, clearing tons of overgrown weeds, etc. I'm dealing with it okay, but my SO is just about the only one who appreciates this. On the one hand, it allows me to feel productive while I'm not working, but on the other hand it's exhausting because I can't stand living in a disorganized, filthy house but I'm the only one who currently cares about that. My mom will walk right over a pile of dried cat-puke and just shrug it off, it drives me insane sometimes. She simply won't see a therapist.

    So it's like I'm stuck with a 63-year old teenager whilst attempting to get this house sorted out AND find work AND socialize AND spend quality time with my fella AND eat right/exercise/cut back on smoking (which I admit I do way too much of recently). It can be hard for me to handle thinking about how to build a future for myself on top of that. I don't feel I'm outright clinically depressed though, I spent most of my life in that state and this isn't anything like it. It's just hard times, and I don't feel sorry for myself. I'm still determined, I'm still positive and I laugh daily, I just get overwhelmed at times.

    That turned into more venting than I'd intended, but I suppose I'll leave it. I'm going to investigate the temp agency thing, I haven't thought about that in awhile. We have Spherion here but I thought you had to pay for them, I didn't really properly investigate whether there are other places like it. I can't afford to pay to be placed.

    Oh, that reminds me. I wondered if I should actually 'tone down' my resume? I applied for a job at a meat packing place, and they literally told me they weren't going to hire me because I was 'overqualified'. I also got an interview with this local Hobby Shop (Hobby Lobby) and I was excited because they seemed to appreciate my creative background. The guy who interviewed me told me he had gone from check out clerk to regional manager in nine-months. He asked me if I was looking to move up in the company and I said I definitely would like that. I thought it went great but they never called. A friend suggested perhaps I shouldn't have said I wanted to move up, and in some of these cases they might be viewing my resume thinking I'll take their jobs. You think there could be any truth in that?
    "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you...amazing things will happen" --Conan O'Brien

  5. #15
    Badoom~ Skyward's Avatar
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    *Skips a lot of posts to respond to the OP. This post may or may not be expanded as I read through the replies*

    I follow this pattern. I have the talent and can learn to be better, but I don't have the oomph to push myself enough to really reach the lofty limits of my ability. Looking into enneagram and finding out that I was a 9 explained why. Being a 9, my main goal is to have peace. Ambition enough only to reach a state where internal peace is achieved and only expanding when the Outside World requires it, and only enough to turn the Outside World into a minimum-stress environment. I take on few responsibilities, and when I have them I do my best to just get it done, otherwise I slip into complacency and forget about it.
    'Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and its better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.' - Marilyn Monroe

    This is who I am, escapist, paradise-seeker.
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    Anthropology Major out of Hamline University. St. Paul, Minnesota.

  6. #16
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Gloriana - just a quick comment. When I mentioned volunteering, I wasn't really referring to volunteering through some organized 'Volunteer'/charity group, such as through churches or organizations like that.

    I was referring to actually going to non-profits and volunteering directly with them- i.e. crisis centers, or your Library example, or zoos, or the humane society, or at nursing homes, or at hospitals, or museums, or perhaps an art gallery would like some volunteer/unpaid help -- like, actual institutions/non-profits where you're part of their volunteer program and get scheduled in, and are directly involved with that organization. Not via through some third-party like a church that goes out and does 'volunteer days' or soup kitchen days or whatever.

    It doesn't have to be a humanitarian slant - it's basically offering your help/services to any company or non-profit without getting paid. Some of these have official Volunteer Programs with a full-time volunteer coordinator; others may not have anything official but if you'd offer to help out with whatever they'd need, they might take you up on it. Or not! haha.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  7. #17
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    +1 to Cascadeco's comments above. One very specific example of what I'm envisioning is working for a shelter for women victims of domestic violence and doing some of the newsletter-writing and event coordinating that goes into fundraising. Those are skills (writing, publicity, communication, technical skills) that you could later be paid to do.

  8. #18
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Move to NYC.

    Just do it. Take a leap. there are lots of very creative people there, and you will be inspired, and just might find your path. I moved there with a suitcase and a cymbal bag, slept on a couch for a while, made great friends, got really fucking scared and inspired, met some of my heros, made good music.
    Be bold. You have it in you.

  9. #19
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nebbykoo View Post
    Move to NYC.

    Just do it. Take a leap. there are lots of very creative people there, and you will be inspired, and just might find your path. I moved there with a suitcase and a cymbal bag, slept on a couch for a while, made great friends, got really fucking scared and inspired, met some of my heros, made good music.
    Be bold. You have it in you.
    Well, there is something like that, and yes, it most definitely IS possible. I too did something similar - at the end of 2008 quit my job, moved to CO in April of 2009 without knowing where I was going to live and without having a job, and then went from there. I did it because I was to a point where I realized that where I had been and what I had been doing was really not at all what I had any interest in doing/living in the longterm.

    But, for me it was logistically quite feasible, as I had the income saved to be able to do something like that, and also did not have familial obligations or a significant other. I really didn't have any strings tying me in that place, so for me it was just a mental thing - taking that risk and plunging into the unknown.

    I think in the long run for anyone it's a good idea to assess whether what you truly want/desire can actually be delivered in your present location. Because, frankly, certain locations definitely are going to be much more challenging to find jobs in, or to have the sort of community/values you're really desiring in your life.

    In the short term, though, when one can't just up and leave and one needs to work with ones immediate environment... I think everything people have mentioned are the possibilities as far as maximizing finding jobs or building skills.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  10. #20
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    Also factor in how risk-averse you are. Some of us are fine with risks, others are very risk averse and like things to be totally planned out (think spreadsheets), so, as in all other areas of life, know yourself

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