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One Woman's Layoff Yields a Needed Reminder

Marcy Laakso, the writer of today's post, is a business professional with nearly 20 years of experience in a multitude of business roles. She has spent the past 11 years in customer service, project management, and sales for a commercial furniture and audio-visual dealership. After a recent layoff, she took some time to reassess her career.

I was laid off in January 2009 after 11 years with the same company.

If anyone had said then that I would still be unemployed more than eight months later, I wouldn't have believed it.

Work-Life BalanceI had been unhappy in my position for some time, so I was looking at this layoff as an opportunity to start over and get into a career that was more suited to me, something that was closer to home, less stressful (hopefully), and allowed me to accommodate my family obligations. I contacted recruiters, told everyone I knew I was looking for a job, and began daily online searches. I learned quickly that starting over was not going to be easy.

Narrowing down what type of job I wanted was my first task. Once I decided on a few good options, I conducted online searches using keywords from postings for jobs I was interested in, and signed up to receive daily emails with openings that fit my keyword search criteria. Although I applied to several jobs each week that appeared to be good fits, there were few call backs and interviews. I understand we're in a tough economy, but not hearing back from companies really makes you question your self-worth. Are you anything beyond what you do for work? Who are you if you don't have a job? Is my experience worth anything?

My interviewing experience has been frustrating, to say the least. I was always positive and gave honest answers to the questions I was asked, and figured that whether I was qualified or not, it was out of my hands. In more than one interview, I was told I was overqualified and was asked to promise I wouldn't leave for something better if they offered me the job. On another occasion, they asked how little I could be paid to take the job.

I wonder why having more experience than necessary has to be seen as a negative? I wouldn't have applied for positions I was unwilling to take! I can only be who I am, know what I know, and be willing to learn whatever is needed. If that wasn't good enough for some employers, so be it.

Despite the frustration of the job search, I realize there are other things in life that make me who I am. I am a mother, a daughter, and a sister. I've taken this opportunity to spend time with my children and family, become a better homemaker than I used to be, and volunteer at my children's school.

It reminded me that I am more than just the job I hold.

RELATED LINKS

Two Harsh Truths about Your Job Search
Finding the Right Fit: Would You Last in This Job?
The Liberation of a Structured Job Search Strategy

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