Because of my work, I get in contact with job seekers a lot. Most of the time, my conversations with job seekers focus on their job search challenges, possible job leads, job market trends, best current job search practices, etc. Last week I had a chance to gain a much deeper perspective into job seekers’ lives. I walked away very inspired.
I’ve been very lucky to have a chance to be connected with a wonderful job search support group here in Seattle. The members of this group I’ve met are intelligent, talented, and supportive of one another. Last week, the group organizers kindly allowed me to arrange a brain storming session with their members during their regular weekly meeting. I was hoping this brain storming session with a group of job seekers would help me gain marketing insights for Jobfully. Little did I know I was about to get something else even more valuable.
It was a lazy Friday, a rare beautiful sunny day for early June in Seattle, with the perfect temperature. A small group of people showed up. At the beginning of the meeting, we went around the table and did the usual introductions. Since it was a small group, our introductions became more interactive than typical. One question after another during the introductions, the conversations became deep quickly. Pretty soon, people are sharing other things in their lives that are happening in parallel with their job search.
Everything from dismantling marriage, family crisis, health issues, caretaking obligations, financial maneuvers for financial reasons (e.g. selling houses or cars, relocating, taking out loans, moving in with other family members), legal actions, multiple layoffs, going back to school, taking a temp job, to losing loved ones. I found myself in new territory. I knew job seekers most likely were facing financial pressure. I knew job seekers’ family obligations wouldn’t stop because they lost their jobs. I knew job seekers would still need to pay attention to their own and their family’s health. But hearing each of these job seekers share the details of how they are dealing with the emotional demands of these life events on top of their job search, really brought it home for me. Many job seekers are juggling multiple life priorities that compete for their attention, energy and financial resources.
Given the topics that were shared during this meeting, what surprised me was that no one was bitter or feeling sorry for themselves. On the contrary, the discussion was positive and supportive. People offered to make introductions and job lead connections for others. Many constructive suggestions were given when other job seekers shared about their job search. People also had a good sense of humor and were able to look back on their experiences and get a laugh out of it. Most of all, everyone there was undeterred by the challenges in front of them and was glad to now have a clear sense of what’s important in their lives from their experiences.
It was inspiring to see the positive attitude and supportive spirit from everyone at this job search support group. It was a great reminder for myself of the vision I had starting Jobfully. I wanted to make it easier for job seekers take control of their job search in the face of difficult economic times, other priorities in lives and limited resources. I wanted Jobfully to be the support and help job seekers can count on throughout their job search process. Getting the inside look into these wonderful people I met last week at this job search support group further reinforced Jobfully’s mission in my own mind. The courage and positive spirit I saw from the job seekers was moving and inspiring. It keeps me going to wanting to do better at my job to help job seekers become successful reaching their goals.