Choosing Career Coaches with the Mostest and the Leastest?

 

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Actively looking for a full time job that I can settle into for close to a year and a half can leave you craving for stability, in the worst way. I miss the days of passing around the umpteenth birthday card to sign – in a month’s time, listening to a coworker drone on about their weekend or weird dream; sabotaging your diet because yet another colleague brought in cookies, cupcakes or an oddly lopsided appetizing strudel. Yes, people under 40 make strudels? I thought that too.

When my position was eliminated, as part of my “going away” package – my company offered me the option of enlisting a career services agency to assist with transitioning. Their exact phrase! I was transitioning into a new phase of my life, not in the Bruce Jenner-to-Caitlin Jenner way, but exploring new opportunities away from publishing that I could assume. At first, I felt useful, getting up every morning with a sense of purpose, going to the agency and participating in workshops, meeting other displaced professionals in the same downsized boat. What I found was that even though there were resources there to help in your job search; printers, faxes, private offices, phones and all the amenities you took for granted at your old job – these former HR professionals were behind the times. They were disseminating information to us as if it was 1999. Three page cover letters? Cold call potential employers? Faxing resumes? With people’s attention spans’ similar to that of a toddler’s, how in the world are you supposed to get noticed by hiring managers with these outdated tips? Regardless, I kept going to the agency for the duration of the 6 months I was allotted for the flavored coffee, air-conditioning and free printing services.

One piece of advice I did take was to visit the Science, Industry and Business Library on 35th and Madison. When my time was up at the agency, I spent my days between SIBL and the Department of Labor (free printing services) researching career programs and new coaches. Using Lynda.com for free. Yup! With your library card number (listed on the back of the card) you can access any of the thousands of courses on the site. Check out: http://www.nypl.org for many of the services and programs they offer.

One coach at the DOL boasted how he was on CNN, AOL, NBC, BBC and every other 3-letter acronym affiliated with a network he could blab about. He was adamant about not wasting your time with the gatekeepers; instead taking time to look up the emails to the hiring managers: the decision-makers. I’ve been doing this all along, but for those that haven’t attempted to do this, it’s a great tip. “Don’t submit as the button urges you to do on that online job application. You are better than that!” He shouted. “You shouldn’t submit to anyone” Ok, I thought, yeah that’s one approach. But, sometimes when you do that and contact the hiring manager directly, they steer you to the company site. It’s happened to me many times. So! You take your chances and see who will respond.

What you have to watch out for with these career coaches, hired by the library and DOL and funded by state is the vague career advice they offer up front so that you can buy their coaching services. Be weary. I’ve seen my share of career coaches that have said everything from: “Don’t even bother with the jobs online. Those are the positions nobody wants” to “The only way you’ll get a job is if you network.” Being in this job search game for a while, I’d say: Spend 30% applying for jobs online – the jobs you’ve discovered, be honest with yourself and determine if you have half of the job requirements listed, 40% of your time writing to hiring managers at your dream companies and spend 30% of your time researching groups on LinkedIn, Facebook and meetups in your industry. I’ve gone to most of these events by myself. It was painstakingly hard, but if I can do it, you can do it.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.49.30 PM.pngOne coach I thought was useful to my career branding techniques, because of his transparency and patience is Thomas Powner. At first glance, he looks like a retired police officer, but once he starts speaking and showing his slides on the Continue reading →

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When you have State Insurance….

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Courtesy of periodvitamin.com

I was lucky to receive New Jersey state insurance March of this year, but wow! Do I miss my obnoxious co-pay having, ridiculously huge deductible paying (on my part), insurance – I selected through my job. The sea of doctors you could select from, at your discretion on your little lifeboat of decisions was paramount. I took it for granted as most do.

My first experience with my new insurance was with a dentist in my neighborhood who had a thing for jewelry. I can appreciate man who wears jewelry – and wears it well, but this gentleman had stacks of gold chains hugging his unnaturally tanned neck and cologne equally fighting for my attention, with just enough gray hair peaking out of his doctor’s scrubs to induce acid reflux. After dental x-rays were done on me with outdated machines and a dental assistant who insisted on speaking English to me, even though I spoke to him in Spanish – seemed clumsy with the tools. I couldn’t understand what he was saying and wanted to. I wish subtitles would magically appear when he spoke. WTF…is this man saying to me? After my 3rd attempt at answering him in Spanish, he conceded and spoke in our native tongue. I initially came to see him because my beloved, pink night guard I had for 2 years broke in two. I showed the dentist the remnants of my night guard and at first, he didn’t know what to make of it. Jajajaajaaaja (that’s Hahahaahaaha to you English speakers) “I’m surprised you didn’t choke. I’ve never seen anything li dis in my life. Ju can’t continue to put this in jour mouse.” Me: “Yes, I know it’s broken. Can you make me a new one?” “You have to check with your insurance…I dunno know. Or wait, Angela! See if this lady’s insurance can pay for a night guard….She’ll get back to you.”

Weeks went by and I hadn’t heard from the dentist’s office. I called them and they said I’d have to pay $150 for a night guard made by the lab. “Well, what about the measurements for my teeth to have a mold made?” Them: “Oh, yes that’s another $50…so the total is $200. Shaaaaaaaady! I thought. Me: “No, Thank you.” And, I haven’t seen the dentist or any other in the state of New Jersey until something goes horribly wrong with my teeth or I swallow my tongue…whichever comes first.

But, what about the other doctors you say…

My primary doctor is situated 2 blocks away from my apartment. I had no intentions or desire of driving, taking a bus or train, or biking to see this person. Interestingly enough, she didn’t ask too many questions about my health. I saw her for back pain that wouldn’t go away with over-the-counter pain pills for almost 2 weeks. She gave me lots of stuff! Allergy medication, asthma pump, nasal sprays, prescriptions sleep aids, even. Ok! I went to the pharmacist and after my drugs were dispensed, I stood there in silence, across from the young girl who gave me my pills for an uncomfortable minute. “How much is everything?” Her: “Nothing. Your prescriptions are covered by the state.” My jaw dropped. “Is that right?” I twirled in the space between the cash register and the Depends undergarments and looked back at her again in disbelief. What a wonderful thing to not have to pay for your drugs. I could get used to this.

I felt the need to seek a doctor who seemed to know what he/she was talking about and saw a podiatrist two towns away. Okay, this doctor is close to NYC. He had legitimate credentials. I sought treatment for a pesky foot condition I had for almost 2 years. After seeing him twice, the verdict: “Yes, you had a rash on your foot, (biopsied by him), but it’s one of those transient fungi that like to “hang out” and then move on to the next foot.” “What does that mean Dr. Blah-Blah?” “It’s a transient fungi, no longer interested in your foot. That’s all.” I nodded slowly. He suggested I buy some topical creams – from him – to get the color and reduce the thickness of my toenails. “How thoughtful”, I smirked. I’m glad I had filled 3 empty Poland Spring bottles without his clueless receptionist noticing. Water consumption is expensive in these mean streets for the unemployed.