STUMBLING UPON SUCCESS
Besides her career in the insurance industry, there was one other thing that Marie was always good at: shopping. She, like most women, has always enjoyed shopping and often found herself participating in a little retail therapy while unemployed. When she went to return a purchase this summer at one of her favorite department stores, she ran into a young woman from her church who was out for lunch. After sharing her desire to work again, the young woman encouraged Marie to go apply at the very store where she was headed to make her return. Despite her fear of rejection, she took a step out on faith and headed to the HR department. Without even a resume in hand, Marie applied, interviewed, and was hired on the spot as a retail associate at one of the country’s largest department stores. Her infectious personality and winning communication skills landed her a new job, when she least expected it. “I still can’t believe they hired me. I always expected that employers would prefer someone younger.”
The reality is that Marie is the only one who was surprised by her new career in retail sales. “All of the managers, my friends, and even customers tell me that I’m a perfect fit for retail.” Since she began her new position, Marie has regained her confidence and has found a new career that she absolutely loves. “I love meeting new people and I love to shop. I never imagined that I’d find a new job that I love so much.” Marie is one of the most senior store employees, at 60, but she doesn’t let her age get in the way. “I’m just thankful to have a job. I enjoy coming to work and I love helping the customers. I’m just glad that I still have something to offer, even at my age.”
Never give up: Though she was faced with a devastating job loss, and had been unemployed for almost two years, Marie was persistent. It’s extremely important that professionals don’t allow a job loss to get them stuck in a rut.
Use time being unemployed wisely: Don’t let your pride get in the way. Marie wasn’t afraid to ask for help. She let everyone know that she was looking for work and her candid approach ultimately led her to her new career. Oftentimes, we are ashamed or embarrassed and don’t want others to know that we aren’t working. However, hiding our need for employment only closes doors of opportunity that might otherwise be opened.
Tap into your passions and try something new: The greatest lesson that we learn from Marie is that we don’t know what we’re capable of until we try. “When I first started, I was terrified,” she says. “I hadn’t worked in almost two years and didn’t want to mess up. But once I got the hang of it, I realized that not only could I do this job, but I could do it well.” Sometimes we can surprise ourselves if we just take the initiative to try something new. Marie’s job loss was a huge challenge…one that she thought she’d never overcome. But with a little patience and much perseverance, she ended up right where she never knew she belonged!
Check us out during the next few weeks where we share real-life stories and lessons on how to triumph over unemployment.
Also, e-mail your job-seeking story or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aisha Taylor (@realTAYLORmade) is co-owner and chief consultant at TAYLORmade Professional Career Consulting, a Web-based, full-service career consulting company committed to “equipping, preparing, and empowering today’s professional” globally. Check out her weekly insights on job-seeking and interviewing success every Friday on BlackEnterprise.com.