For those who have been following this blog, you may recall my mentioning of Aunt Mary on more than one occasion. Technically she is my wife’s Aunt Mary, all 96 years of her. She is as sharp as all the knifes in the drawer but let’s face it – she is 96 years old! We should all be so lucky at that ripe old age. The state of Illinois, in their infinite wisdom just awarded her a new driver’s license and she is now legally free to roam and drag the streets of West Suburban Chicago in her turn of the century sedan until her birthday next summer. She only drives (exceedingly slow) to the grocery store, pharmacy and church on Sundays so I would advise to keep your distance, if at all possible on the Lord’s Day.
I recently came across the letter she sent me some seven years ago, the last time I was in transition. She included a copy of an obituary of a seemingly nice guy who had just died the day before from a motorcycle accident. I certainly don’t want to make light of this man’s demise but everyone needs to know that the reason why I was receiving this notice from Aunt Mary was because she advised me to apply for the job this man just vacated! It gives new meaning to the phrase – being terminated.
Aunt Mary goes into great detail why this is just the right position for me and completes the hand-written note with the very heartfelt statement “I’m sorry about the man who had the accident when he was out having a good time.” Leave it to Aunt Mary to find a silver lining on such a tragedy. I never did apply for that job since it wasn’t an association position, most of our friends still don’t understand what I do for a living but such actions and notes as this certainly help in getting a job seeker through those numerous down times.
What’s the old adage – you don’t get to choose your family, but I guess in this case I did since I married into it. Friends and family are essential in helping you get through difficult times. A transition, such as a job search is the poster child for the term difficult and if it weren’t for the assistance of others many would not be able to emotionally get through these experiences.
There are much too many individuals right now who find themselves seeking work. Some have been in transition for 99 weeks and beyond. Like any project, the emotions and assistance are front-loaded and such help seems to wane as the days mount. It is after the dust has cleared that these individuals need your support and not just at the beginning.
An association friend is interviewing for a CEO position today! We all are wishing her the best of luck. She has enormous talents and abilities but she has been in limbo for more than 18 months now and even she is now having serious doubts. I gave her my best Ronald Reagan version of “the gipper” yesterday but in reality it is all up to her. You can’t motivate someone who seemingly can’t be motivated. Hopefully she will dig deep down and find the courage and the confidence to make this opportunity, an opportunity that is just perfect for her, be “the one.”
Family and friends, like Aunt Mary are irreplaceable when it comes to getting you over that hump. Life is interesting and we must never forget that we are here to not just thrive but also hold the hands of those who need it. We couldn’t survive this rollercoaster life of ours if it weren’t for all those who assist us along the way. Make sure you are there for others because you will be repaid many times over for your generosity and support. Who knows when you will be needing some emotional understanding in the future?
Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) who has been a CEO for 3 distinct trade associations in his career. He is one of only 230 Association Executives worldwide who has been granted the prestigious designation of Fellow (FASAE) by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) since 1986. He currently is between positions and has taken the opportunity to author more than 75,000 words or 125 blog postings on job search, career transition and association management.
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