When looking to the past may make sense

April 13, 2010 at 2:47 am Leave a comment

Usually, the advice given to those who’ve just lost a job is NOT to look back — to let the past be the past as there’s no changing it now, right? March forward, one foot in front of the other, chin up, all that. We’ve all heard it. Yet sometimes, just sometimes, you realize that a job you had in the past — or perhaps some duties you performed in the past — are what you’d rather be doing now. Sometimes, with the best of intentions, you’ve transitioned out of a job that was right for you to one where you make more money or have landed because your previous job ended.

Sometimes your life situation changes — perhaps you don’t need as much money or don’t need the benefits you once  did, or don’t care as much about your title — and you find that you want to get back to doing something you used to do. But how do you do that? How do you put your career path seemingly in reverse, and how do you get employers to take  these goals seriously?

Here is some advice from hiring experts, who say this situation is not as uncommon as one might think:

*Start with the obvious. Contact people you had worked with and if a no-rehire policy does not exist at your former workplace (and a tip to the wise: no-rehire policies are something to contemplate when considering a job offer — they can complicate your career going forward) try to get your former job back or to land a similar job that’s now open with this organization. You’ll likely have to do some serious negotiating and diplomacy but if you left an open door with your employer (another tip: always try to leave on good terms) and you can get a former colleague to deliver your resume, you may stand a chance. You’ll need to convince them that you want to come back for the right reasons, you may have to accept a pay cut (especially if you transitioned into a better-paying field) and you may have to play a waiting game, but if you really loved that job and want it back, this may be your best strategy.

*If employed but unhappy, see if you can shift within your current organization to a position that’s like the one you fondly remember. Often, it’s not the job itself that you want, but the collection of duties and the competence you felt in doing them that you want to replicate. If you can stay where you are, you often can retain your salary, benefits and seniority, and it’s obviously much less of a hassle than joining a new organization or trying to rejoin your former employer. It also may be a good transition for you — during this trial period, you can determine if it’s really the job you want to change, or whether you are unhappy with your organization and need to shift employers. Small steps — where you have time to think about changes and determine what you really want — are often the best way to go when making a career transition.

*Do some soul-searching. Is this a grass-is-always-greener situation? Are you remembering how much you enjoyed reporting on a former beat, for instance, but forgetting how much you despised the long hours and weekend work? Does the job you fondly remember even exist in this current environment, or has the world moved on? Take a hard look at why you want to make this shift and make sure it’s for smart career reasons. If you’re really unhappy in your current job, look at the factors that are causing your displeasure — it could be a lot of things that have little to do with the actual work you’re doing. Figure out why you’re really looking backward.

*If it’s not practical to make a big move to a job you enjoyed in the past, see if you can do some of this work on the side as a free-lancer or consultant. It’s common, for instance, for journalists who have moved up the management and editing chain to miss writing and reporting — but that’s why there’s blogs, Web sites and free-lance work!  If you really enjoy certain parts of your job but not others, see if you can find a way to focus on those you enjoy on a free-lance basis, or in a hobby or leisure pursuit. Think broadly and creatively about ways to use these skills — perhaps by teaching others in a volunteer setting.

*Some good news and not-so-good-news (though-getting-better news) for  job hunters:

*I always prefer the good news first, so here it is; a link to a New York Times (and nytimes.com) piece about how states are introducing bills to cut down on the use of credit checks for prospective employees. And before you dismiss this as something that doesn’t apply to you,  here’s an interesting fact: a survey released earlier this year by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 13 percent of employers acknowledged using credit checks for all job applicants, while 47 percent said they used credit checks for some candidates.  Here’s the piece:

Legislators in more than a dozen states have introduced bills to curb the use of credit checks during the hiring process, and three states have passed such laws

*And now the bad news –(from The Feed at the St. Petersburg Times, or tampabay.com, via mediabistro.com) the ASNE’s new survey proves why there are so many transitioning journalists out there — an astonishing 13,500 newsroom positions have been cut since 2007, though last year the bleeding abated somewhat. Here’s the cold, hard facts:

How Much Must The Media Decline Before Federal Support Looks Like a Good Idea (The Feed/St. Petersburg Times)
The American Society of News Editors released their latest survey of newspaper newsrooms, noting that 5,200 jobs were lost in 2009, or 13,500 positions since 2007. The sweet part of that alarming figure? It’s a slowing of job loss since 2008.

*As always, some leads to consider:

*The Pew Charitable Trusts in D.C. (where a fair number of former journalists can be found these days!) has an opening for a  project director for the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Campaign:

Project Director, Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Campaign
The Pew Charitable Trusts – Washington, DC
of the campaign’s communications strategy, tactics… oral, presentation, facilitation and written communication skills such that complex ideas, thoughts and…
From The Pew Charitable Trusts

*Bread for the World, a non-profit in D.C., is looking for a vice president of finance and administration:

Vice President for Finance and Administration
Bread for the World – Washington, DC
for lobbying and policy analysis, media and communications, grassroots organizing, administration and… oral and written communication skills; Highest level…
From Explore Company

*The Arabic Newsroom in D.C. has several openings, including for a managing editor and for news writers (translation skills are necessary):

The Arabic Newsroom – TV and Radio Journalism Jobs in
Washington, DC
Editor serves as the Arabic Managing Editor for… Editor is responsible for ensuring the quality of network news broadcasts. The Quality Control Editor… $127,000 a year
From eBay Classifieds

*A company at the Washington Navy Yard in D.C. has an opening for a Web developer:

Web Developer
Washington Navy Yard, DC
web programming projects and as such, should have strong oral and written communication skills. The web programmer will be expected to participate in all phases… $80 an hour
From Computerwork.com

*Here’s another internship opportunity in D.C. (with a stipend yet!), this one for a special events intern to work on the Mautner Project at the National Lesbian Health Organization:
Special Events Internship
Mautner Project: National Lesbian Health Organization – Washington, DC
demeanor *Detail Oriented, Organized *Excellent written and verbal communication skills Stipend: $2,750.00 — Mautner Project is committed to improving…
From washingtonpost.com

*With a hat tip to mediabistro.com (for these next two leads), NBC in D.C. is hiring a content producer:

NBC Washington

Internet/Online/New Media, TV/Cable
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location Washington, DC USA
Job Requirements General Responsibilities:
Job Purpose: As a Content Producer your responsibilities would include:

  • Work closely with Platform Managers, DayPart Managers and Assignment Editors, as well as Reporters and Anchors to desktop edit, write, produce and gather content on all of WRCs platforms, including but not limited to Out-of-Home, web and broadcast
  • Responsible for the overall coverage of assigned stories on all platforms throughout the day
  • Research and produce news segments

    Basic Qualifications:

  • Bachelors Degree or equivalent work experience
  • Minimum 2 years news segment producing

    Eligibility Requirements:

  • External applicants are encouraged to submit a resume/CV through nbcunicareers.com to be considered (note job# 1162321). Internal applicants must submit EMS via the GE Career Opportunity System (COS).
  • Must be willing to work in Washington D.C.
  • Must be willing to take drug test and submit to a background investigation.
  • Must be 18 years or greater.
  • Must have unrestricted work authorization to work in the United States.
  • Must be available to evenings, weekends and holidays.


  • Minimum 1 year experience in newsgathering and/or production
  • Minimum 1 year experience writing, producing and desktop editing
  • Strong desire to deliver news as it develops on all current and future platforms
  • A sense of urgency and desire to learn emerging technologies
  • Strong journalistic skills
  • Significant experience in the news environment
  • Experience editing content on a desktop editing system
  • Ability to write, edit and produce under heavy deadline pressure without compromising accuracy or credibility
  • Ability to make priority decisions under deadline
  • Team player mentality

    Interested candidates can apply on line at http://www.nbcunicareers.com. The position COS number is 1162321.

  • *And to wrap up today’s leads, planetforward.org in D.C. has an opening for a broadcast video producer; pass this along to your favorite broadcast type:

    Industry Internet/Online/New Media, TV/Cable
    Salary Competitive
    Job Duration Full Time
    Job Location Washington, DC USA
    Job Requirements Planet Forward, an innovative web-tv-web project focusing on energy, climate and sustainability, is looking for a video producer who can produce (research, shoot, and edit) pieces for television.

    Experience in energy, climate and sustainability reporting/production preferred. Broadcast production and online media experience required.

    Washington, DC based.

    Good luck on the hunt!



    Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

    Little flubs can turn into a big miss in job hunting When you need a C.V. rather than a resume

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