How strange is it that I couldn’t wait to come tell all of “you” how my “Put Up or Shut Up” went??? Is it wonderful, since my world is so blogishly expanded now or  am I a 12 year old girl alone bonding with her diary? Whatever…..

So do you want to know how it went down or what I wore? The PowerPoint went over very well-a bit unnerving as I was pitching to the heads of the agency about their own agency. But when you get where I/we are in this world, it takes a lot to really get ruffled.  I admit it was great to get this engine roaring again. A bit rejuvenating, I must say.

So, it’s a short-term consulting gig with great potential to be lengthened. Great people, great organization. I guess I work for myself!

And most importantly, here it is:

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Put Up or Shut Up!

March 25, 2009

Yes, Big Interview Day has come and gone. It went really well, I think…… Many pleasantries back and forth, shared sensibilities about the challenges at hand. Inserted all the alluring lingo I could manage into one hour-PowerPoint, Blogging, my Client Base, TweetDeck. Much nodding about collaborative opportunities that we must explore. 

And then, she says, “There is a ‘test’ to pass.” I am still nodding and smiling, but processing……. A test?!

Initial reactions in no particular order: Sure, I will do anything. What did she just say? What did I agree to do for free? I have to do what I said I can do? 

I think I was smiling while all of the above raced through my brain.

So, they request that I prepare a sample PowerPoint (one of the communication devices I “specialize”in) to pitch a new campaign they are working on. Just  an “opportunity to see if we are on the same page”. Really, it does make sense. An outside consultant would probably provide something similar to get the business and this “relationship” we are working on is consulting-like.  

And isn’t this what many of us have been waiting for-a stop to endless pre-screening applications and blab, blab, hypothetical blab during hard to earn interviews? Just a chance to do our stuff and make a difference. 

So off I go to focus and pound away. And probably spend a few too many minutes thinking about what I should wear…..

 

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Sitting in a waiting room this morning captive to the pre-selected TV channel (thank God not Jerry Springer), I saw a piece that could inspire many of us. The “Today Show” was featuring several interns doing work in NYC. The difference was they were not bright faced 20 year olds, but instead “women of a certain age” as a fellow blogger Karen Knott might call them. They were all very capable journalists facing a changing workplace and needing updated skills. Sure, it took a lot of guts and they were offering their services for free, but really, ingenious.

Think about it this weekend-who could you call upon to pitch this idea? It should be well thought out and approached in the same way any business proposal would be presented. Great exchange though-you offer your enthusiastic work ethic in exchange for exposure to new skills, an elimination of the dreaded resume gap and an opportunity to make some amazing new contacts. In this tough economy, you might be exactly who someone could use right now!

Let’s get going…….

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Big Interview Day

March 17, 2009

Khaki dress?    Nope?

1980s bow tie?    Nope?   

Fancy black suit?   Yup!

All your good advice and wishes?  Right in my back pocket!!

All the best luck of the Irish to everyone today with an opportunity ahead of them!

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Enough already…. Okay, I’ve moaned a bit about poor me. Aren’t there 5 stages of something? So I spent some time in shock. Apparently the Big World did not hold its breath for 20 years eagerly anticipating my return. I’m over it and ready to take matters into my own hands!

Having spent time on these boards I know I am not alone-you might either be right along with me or a few steps ahead. So how about we pool our resources and come up with some things we can do on our own, rather than whining about what the world is saying we can’t do . 

I am determined that I can switch careers. I’ve been told my whole life that I’m a PR natural. I just need to get some wind beneath my wings so to speak.

My friends who have been most successful at re-emergence have gone big by going back to school. I just don’t want to do that. I still have haunting nightmares of trying to pound my way into mysteriously locked buildings for finals. 

Instead I’ve put together my own graduate degree which I hope has set me on the right path. I have invested a bit in myself  to attain my MBF-Masters in Becoming Fabulous!

I’ve taken an amazing series of online courses at  MediaBistro.com all taught by sharp PR pros and walked away with an extensive working portfolio. I’ve also attended advanced seminars from  Sponsorship.com and The Donors Forum.

I have found all of this just put a more formal spin on much of what I’ve been doing on my own for two decades. But now I am more current with buzz words and trends. I’m shaving rings off my tree trunk circles.

I got over any trepidation about newer computer skills-lifelong PC girl went out and bought myself a Mac-and it’s mind blowing. Roamed around Borders a bit and brought home “Powerpoint in 24 Easy Lessons”. Guess what-I’m pretty darn good at it!

Then there’s this whole Blog thing-a world of people out there have no idea how to set this up-I plan to find them and offer my most proficient services. Of course there’s my LinkedIn page and now I am somehow Twitting from the Tweetdeck as well!

In other words I have replaced the hours I was spending staring at online applications and turned them into actual experiences to show for myself. Later we’ll talk about actually putting it into use.

I’d love to hear from you on what you have done to get yourself ready. Let’s go the party together!party-11

Alright, I don’t really expect cuts in the line of the corporately employed. I would never presume to have kept pace in the queue with my cohorts who never took the detours I did. Those friends have sacrificed much and are running the show-well deserved! Even a first grader knows you have to get everyone around you to agree to let you back in before you leave your spot.

As I mentioned the other day, my career has not been a conventional one. I originally jumped off the corporate trajectory to allow for a more flexible workplace and family. I’ve got to admit I might have banked a bit too much on the working world’s warm welcome the first time around. When the chairman of my company called on my last day to encourage me to let him know when I wanted to return, perhaps he didn’t expect that call to come 20 years later! I guess it wasn’t just a blink of an eye to the rest of the world.

The topic of the assumption of re-emergence is covered painfully well in “The Feminine Mistake” by Leslie Bennetts. The women of my generation experienced few initial obstacles in the 80s and 90s. Did it come so easily for us that we took it for granted-like that “nice boy” that you just don’t appreciate? I know many of us were sure when the time was right, we would find our place again.

All I can say is I have far too many friends right now completely dumbfounded and flailing trying to rejoin the workforce and not meeting with much success. We need to do a better job of positively pitching our experiences from the other lines where we have been standing.

And if there is a next time that I get out of line, you can be sure I’ll get everyone to swear on “cuts allowed” when I return! 

 

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In my spastic attempts to re-enter the working world, I have committed several missteps that would be funny if they weren’t devastatingly stupid. Let’s share war stories. Here’s the first in my list of Top Things Not To Do.

Save Your Best Outfit for Your Follow-Up Interview-Ok, this one is “girlie”, I know. But it applies to many aspects of the process. Sometimes your best (and only) shot might be right off the bat. Mine seems to have been. An “informational” interview set up with a top PR VP was offered to me last year. I was beyond excited as I bought the fabulous suit for the interview process that was sure to follow. But what to wear to the “informational”? I cringe looking back at the khaki dress pulled out while the power suit was “saved” for the full day interviews surely to follow. I got so ahead of myself, I forgot to focus on the here and now. A mistake that also applied to the resume that was still a bit weak and the shared confidences of bits of insecurity with the VP after we hit it off so well.

Let’s just say the “follow-up” Silence was not so Golden!   

How many times have I told me kids, “You only have one chance to make a first impression”. There is no such thing as “informational”. Go for it at every opportunity.

I unfortunately have a few more to share with you in the coming days. How about you? Any good ones?

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