Change of Scenery

As some of you know, I am no longer at my job. As some of you also know, this is OK.

Perhaps the tone of my blog gave it away – there were definitely issues I had that I felt I couldn’t raise given the environment. Regardless, I am now moving on and dedicating myself, full time, to finding (or making) the next opportunity, something that will fit my career goals  and fulfill my desire to do some global good.

This will also mean I get to spend lots more time working on My Orange Chair! (Almost to that 100th post!)

While I know you guys said you didn’t care much about the ‘job search’ stuff, I will feel compelled to talk a bit about it more because it feels a lot different than it did last time. I have a broader range of contacts, more work experience under my belt, and a better sense of what it is I’m after AND it doesn’t hurt that there seem to be a lot more positions opening up nearby (no more commuting! GAAH! that commute was awful). So be prepared for some posts on this process.

Happy Monday!


Talking About It

I really thought when I got the job that I would get to stop talking about my unemployment to people. I obviously don’t mind writing about it on the blog – but in real life, it’s a different story, it’s a little uncomfortable.

But, as I get to know people in the office and have to interact with various affiliates/clients/etc. I am often asked, “where did you come from?” or “where were you before this”. I realize that it’s a reasonable question to which I could respond about my previous positions months and months ago. But I think that’s untrue – I graduated from graduate school and was unemployed for months and that’s where I came from.

I know too that people are really asking about my experience and my work history but I think it’s important to keep the conversation going about unemployment. And since I’m choosing to be honest, I want the take away to be two-fold.

1) You don’t have to be employed to get employed.
I think people are often told that it’s easier to find work when you have work. And this could be true. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for someone who is unemployed to find a good position!

2) Unemployment is real and still out there.
It’s easy to stop thinking about the struggle of unemployment when it’s not happening to you personally. If your immediate family members are employed and you’re employed, you can forget. But a lot of people are still struggling with unemployment and I know what it’s like – you think about finances constantly, you worry you aren’t doing enough to find work, that you’re not hire-able, perhaps there’s debt to worry about? This is a reality for millions of people and I haven’t stopped caring just because I have found work.

I do still talk about previous experience and school when I talk about where I came from, but unemployment was my reality just as much as internships and school work and I think it’s okay to say so.

Staying in the Game

When I was unemployed (which wasn’t that long ago) I spent a good deal of time doing informational interviews and trying to expand my network of connections. Right before the wedding & honeymoon and immediately after my getting hired, one of my connections introduced me (virtually) to a fantastic group of people.

The only problem was the timing. I was just hired and about to be terribly busy or out of the country for 3 weeks. I did my best to respond to and get in touch with everyone in the group but I know I didn’t reach out to everyone. It was also difficult for me because I had just been hired and wasn’t looking to skip out of the job.

But I decided it was more worth it to stay in the game – to keep growing my network – than to take the easy road and not follow-up. I think a lot of people forget to do this when they are happily employed. Unfortunately, those people might be unprepared if something happens to their job.

So last week I had a great call with one of those connections. I explained I wasn’t looking for a new job but I still wanted to talk to her, get to learn about her career, and follow-up in the future. This call was wonderful! The woman was so sweet and so willing to be in touch. I had been worried that she wouldn’t respond favorably to a call that wasn’t going to lead anywhere but instead this contact offered guidance and future support. I know I’ve preached about informational interviews before. But I am absolutely certain that there is no harm and probably a lot of benefit to continuing network expansion even when you have a job that you’re happy with [which by the way – I have. Yay job!]

Dance Party!!

Turns out that the dance party I had (by myself in my apartment) was totally warranted….I have been hired. HIRED!! 

This is good for a lot of reasons: 
1) I think working is great! I am passionate about the work this organization does and I think I’ll be kick a** at my job. 
2) I like salaries. This is a HUGE relief (and timely wedding present) given the upcoming festivities, travels, and oh yeah, student debt. 
3) My self-esteem is sufficiently boosted.As anyone who has spent a big chunk of time being unemployed knows, it takes an emotional toll. 
Here’s the bad: 
My commute is lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnng. Unfortunately long. But I’m not willing to say no to a great career opportunity for this commute. 
I started My Orange Chair to give myself a place to talk about lots of things, including how sucky it is to be an unemployed new-graduate. I don’t plan to stop writing and I don’t plan to stop writing about unemployment either. It’s a huge issue for youth! Heck, it’s a huge issue for everyone. 
In the meantime though, I’ve got some more dancing to do…and packing for the honeymoon!! 

Getting Out There

I just went to an absolutely fantastic professional development workshop on advanced advocacy put on by the MidAtlantic Public Health Training Center. It was great! I made lots of connections! Learned some stuff too.

Now I’m exhausted, so I’m leaving the blogosphere for the weekend and getting ready to binge on some HGTV.

Anyone else over the rain and ready to frolic in autumn leaves?

September Unemployment Report

Good morning! I hope everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend.

Mike and I have a friend who has just moved into a new home. He told us that he’s been watching a lot of HGTV recently to learn all about home improvement. I’ve been a Food Network junkie for a pretty long time but I decided to see what this home-improvement hoopla was all about – and now I’m hooked. This past three-day weekend was like a do-it-yourself (or do it with really awesomely trained professionals) marathon.

Anyway, Mike and I were doing errands and talking about professions – what we thought we would do when we were younger, what paths we wish we’d taken. I said, “Hey, maybe I could go intern with a contractor and learn how to build stuff and make houses”. Mike replied, “You know there’s not much of a market for that kind of labor right now”.

My terribly witty response: That’s true. Right now the demand is really highest for public health professionals.

Don’t I wish.

With that delightful anecdote, I bring you a discussion on the September, 2011 U.S. Employment Outlook from Simply Hired so we can so who is right, Mike or me.

The U.S. Employment Outlook is a monthly analysis and forecast of employment trends in the United States. These findings are based on monthly job seeker activity on, which aggregates millions of listings from over 30,000 employment sites, and data obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here are some interesting tidbits:

August was the second consecutive month of positive hiring. That’s good – but the unemployment rate in August was 9.1% according to LBS. 
Hmmm? Maybe I should pick up a hammer and nails. Ok, probably not but outlook is not so positive in non-profit land and I’m a little restless. 
How is your profession/field doing? Do you feel optimistic? Have you thought at all about changing professions?