Unemployment’s silver lining: Getting off constant deadline

April 9, 2010 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

The little secret the unemployed don’t want to share is that (at least at first!), it’s somewhat liberating to be off the work treadmill. This is especially true for journalists who essentially have been living on deadline for years. It can be a gift (especially if the layoff or buyout comes with a financial package so that the pressure is not on to find a job right away) to finally have some time. The trick is to use this time effectively — not only to catch up on your rest and recharge your batteries, but to think about and plan what you want to do with your career going forward.

Hiring experts say that those who sit back and take stock of their career goals after losing a job have a better chance of landing in a good job, and of keeping it in the future. While this is a very individual task so there are no hard-and-fast rules, here are some tips on how to make good use of this “silver lining” of time to think and plan:

*Review your career. Sit down and sketch out a time line of your career — it’s highs and lows; your favorite jobs, duties and bosses; and your least favorite. Map things like pay and benefits but also include what you actually did in your jobs. Then separate these into columns and study them — what about your favorite job was so compelling, what made it meaningful and kept you excited about going to work every day (okay, most days)? What about the job(s) you liked least annoyed and frustrated you? You’re likely to see patterns that will give you information about what kind of position you should be looking for in the future. Use this information to seek out openings that best fit not only your skills and abilities, but your job likes and dislikes.

*Prioritize what’s important to you. Often in job hunting, we focus (understandably so) on pay, benefits and job duties. Yet there are a lot of elements that go into a job and one should figure out what is really important to them (and what’s not) before spending a lot of time searching. Make a list of what you need in a position — salary may well be (and usually is) and that’s okay. Review your finances and determine how much you need to live on, and how much you want. How much of a pay cut can you take? What benefits do you need? Then look at other factors — for instance, did you have a horrible commute in your previous job and want a job closer to home, even if it pays less? Is flex time important? Are you willing to work nights and some weekends for a better job? Do you want to try to get some supervisory experience, or are  you tired of managing people? Prioritize these preferences on a spread sheet or a simple written list and refer to them when evaluating position descriptions and researching organizations you may want to join.

*Consider a career shift carefully; now may not be the time. When you lose your job, many people will say — especially if you’re still in journalism — that it’s time to make a shift, that you’ll never get the kind of job you want staying in a field that’s still shedding jobs. While it’s good to use this “thinking time” to consider a career transition, you don’t want to make such a shift precipitously. Before you decide to spend a lot of energy looking for jobs in a new area, carefully research that area — not only what’s good about it (and how it might compare favorably with the profession that, at least temporarily, dumped you) but the potential downsides and the difficulties you could have making the shift. Beware the “grass is greener” syndrome. One good set of questions a sharp hiring expert asked me when I was wondering whether to focus my job search on a new area was: Why do you have to make a decision about a career shift now? Can’t you look for jobs in your field that make good use of your skills as well as consider jobs that would represent a change? He then suggested I see what comes up and decide on positions on their merits, rather than “announcing” a career shift that may or may not actually happen at this time. Be open to what may come — you may be surprised to discover that it’s along the lines of what you’ve been doing all along.

*Map your future career path — five, ten or more years out. Even though most of us, according to employment statistics, will change jobs every four to five years, it’s good every once in a while (and now is the perfect time if you’re not working) to look at where you’d like all those jobs to take you. Get into acceptance with the concept that you’ll be changing jobs and think about what kind of career you want to build. For journalists, the classic path used to be starting as a reporter at a small-circ. newspaper or trade publication or in a small TV market, then moving up to bigger and better organizations, then becoming an editor or producer, and then heading something. These days, that pattern has been shaken up, and now there is no solid career path — for journalists or in many other professions. As you’re going to have to create your own road map anyway — and mid-career professionals will have to recraft their map — you might as well pay attention to what you’d like it to look like in the long run. There will undoubtedly be deviations from your plan, yet it’s always good to have a plan — which you can update along the way as needed.

*Here’s a potential, FREE opportunity for area employers (pass along to your favorite recruiter!) and those looking for work, courtesy of the good folks at Maryland’s Professional Outplacement Assistance Center:

Maryland Professional Outplacement Assistance Center Announcement


Employed POAC Alums

Would you like to PAY IT FORWARD to other POAC customers?

You may hold the key to someone’s next opportunity and help your company.

Consult with your company’s HR/Recruiting Department (perhaps you could be the company’s representative) about attending POAC’s

Twilight Networking Event

— The Newest Thing in Job Fairs —

April 21, 2010

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Front Parking Lot of the Columbia Workforce Center

(Rain date – May 4, 2010)

Attire: Business-casual

Come meet qualified candidates who can help your company reach their goals.

Bring your company’s recruitment materials and business cards.

Keep in mind that if your company has an employee referral program,

this event may be beneficial to you!

This event is free, however you do need to register with Sierra Morgan, smorgan@dllr.state.md.us. Be sure to include your name, company name, and contact information.

Thank you in advance for your participation and we hope to see you there…

*To end the work week, check out and spread the word about these job and internship leads:

*The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) has an editorial opening in its D.C. office:

. http://asi.careerhq.org/jobdetail.cfm?job=3341830

*The Department of Energy (DOE) in D.C. is looking for a writer-editor (team leader) to work in the Office of the Executive Secretariat:
Writer-Editor (Team Leader) GS-1082-14
Department of Energy – Washington, DC
highly motivated Writer-Editors (Team Leader) for the… Area, DC Incumbent serves as a principal writer-editor for the Executive Secretariat and Team Leader in… $105,221 – $136,771 a year
From usajobs.gov

*DOE also has a job in its D.C. office for a senior communications advisor:

Senior Communications Advisor Job
Federal Government Jobs – Washington, DC
Job Title: Senior Communications Advisor Department… the A/S and the PDAS on internal and external communications matters. Works closely with the A/S, PDAS and… $105,211 – $136,771 a year
From Builder Jobs

*A few internship opportunities to pass along, including one for a communications and development intern in D.C. at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

Communications & Development Internship
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – Washington, DC
media, journalism or communications. Prepare… flexible and interested in civil rights and communications/development. Students seeking academic credit…
From washingtonpost.com

*With a hat tip to washingtonpost.com (on these next coupla internships),the Greenhouse Gas Protocol at the World Resources Institute in D.C. has an opening for a three-month, full-time (starting in late May) paid internship:


The Greenhouse Gas Protocol at the World Resources Institute is looking for a highly motivated and innovative person to support the continuing development and ongoing management of the projects communication strategy. The Communications Intern will work closely with and report to the GHG Protocol Communications Coordinator in managing the projects comprehensive communications strategy and the rolling out of key communications products. The Communications Intern will also work closely with the GHG Protocol team to assist with day-to-day administrative tasks.

The GHG Protocol (www.ghgprotocol.org) is the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. A decade-long partnership between the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the GHG Protocol is working with businesses, governments, and environmental groups around the world to build a new generation of credible and effective programs for tackling climate change.


Provide support in managing the GHG Protocols communications strategy
Provide support in managing and developing traditional and social media outreach tools
Update website content
Research and catalogue GHG Protocol-related press and social media
Help create and manage photo and image library
Assist in managing and developing online project management and collaboration tools
Help write press releases, website content, and other publicity materials
Assist the Communications Coordinator with day-to-day administrative tasks
Help coordinate the WRI/Institue for Sustainable Communities Partnership for Climate Action including attending and organizing weekly conference calls and organizing video calls with partners in China
Provide support with the start-up of GHG Protocols Software Development Group


A Bachelors degree (either completed or in progress) in communications, marketing or related business field
Knowledge of trends in online web services and social media
Experience with website content management (WordPress and Drupal preferred), HTML, photo editing, and web video
Excellent writing skills
Ability to learn new software and systems quickly
Attention to detail and high level of organization
Interest in and knowledge of climate change and energy issues (general knowledge of GHG Protocol desired)
Proficient with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop, and InDesign
Ability to self-motivate, stay organized, and work both independently and as part of a team
Salary: $10-$14/hour, depending on experience and qualifications

Term: This is a 3-month full-time internship with a start date of late May 2010

*The Alliance to Save Energy in D.C. is looking for a PR intern for a three-month paid internship (starting in late May):
Team: Public & Corporate Relations

Full-time (37.5 hours/week), $11/hour, from May 24 to August 20, 2010

Interns primary duties: The intern will assist PCR activities. Specific duties include:

– Aid with general Associate member tracking and correspondence.
– Research and compile contact information for prospective Associate members.
– Compile membership packets
– Participate in and assist in preparations for ASE International Committee meetings.
– Trouble-shooting tasks that may involve writing or editing letters and other documents, arranging travel plans, other administrative support, etc.

Desired skills/qualifications:

– Organizational skills and attention to detail
– Excellent writing skills
– Ability to multi-task
– Interest/experience in corporate development
– Interest in the environment & energy is preferred but not required
– This is a full-time position and we are unable to consider applicants who will be enrolled in a full-time course load during the internship term

*And to wrap up this week’s leads and with a hat tip to mediabistro, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (that’s a mouthful, so try their acronym, AAAS) has an opening for an editorial manager:

American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science
Industry Non-profit
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location Washington, DC USA
Job Requirements Publishing and Member Services is seeking a talented Editorial Manager to assist the Director of Marketing with the planning and execution of the editorial content for the AAAS MemberCentral website slated to launch in Q2 of 2010.

This is an exciting opportunity to shape the editorial direction of a web site designed specifically to serve the membership of AAAS. The right candidate will be an energetic self starter with a wide ranging, multidisciplinary understanding of science, and demonstrated ability to work with multimedia formats

The position includes, but is not limited to, the following duties:

Hire, manage and edit freelancers to produce content for MemberCentral project;
Substantive editing of published material for content and style;
Assist the Director of Marketing in planning, soliciting, coordinating, and editing ideas and products for the ongoing MemberCentral program;
Organize (including topic selection and securing of speakers) and execute a quarterly webinar series;
Manage the coordination and production of special topical collections to be curated from current and archived materials produced by AAAS and Science;
Host and produce or oversee the outsourcing of production for ongoing podcast series;
Commission new and curate existing video library;
Stay abreast of new developments in the sciences, science policy and science education arenas;
Attend domestic conferences as required;
Serve as the internal liaison with AAAS and Science Editorial staff;
Track statistics and generate reports related to custom projects; and
Aid in the execution, tracking, and analysis of reader/user surveys.

The minimum qualifications to be competitive and considered for the position are:

Extensive university or college- level training leading to a Bachelors degree in a scientific field (Masters or Ph.D. in biological sciences preferred);
Five to ten years of related work experience (with Bachelors);
One to two years experience supervising others;
Excellent written and verbal communication skills; and
Advanced computer skills (including use of Droopal content management system, HTML, XML, Adobe).

Experience in an editing and publications setting is preferred.

About Our Company Founded in 1848, the American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world’s largest federation of scientific and engineering societies, with nearly 300 affiliate organizations. In addition, AAAS counts more than 120,000 scientists, engineers, science educators, policy makers, and interested citizens among its individual members, making it the largest general scientific organization in the world. The Association has as its goals to foster communication among scientists, engineers and the public; enhance international cooperation in science and its applications; promote the responsible conduct and use of science and technology; foster education in science and technology for everyone; enhance the science and technology workforce and infrastructure; increase public understanding and appreciation of science and technology; strengthen support for science and technology enterprise. Advancing science; Serving society. For more information about AAAS, please visit our website at http://www.aaas.org.

Happy hunting and have a relaxing weekend! I’ll be back with you bright and early on Monday morning!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

What to do when an interviewer won’t shut up Little flubs can turn into a big miss in job hunting

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