Job Search Blues? Try the Library

Trace the footsteps of any one person walking inside their local library and what do you see?

Everyone's path is different.

It's the exact opposite of what typically happens when a person sets out to find a new job, better job or any job. If the person hasn't looked since 2007 or so, they run head first into the horrible realization that everything has changed. Finding work is no longer the rational, logical journey where you can put a coin in a vending machine and a job pops out.

The body of knowledge on finding work: magic resumes, secret words for interviews and for heavens sake you need to "network" more -- runs out pretty quick. And that's before, if you're anywhere over 28 or so, you can hit another brick wall called "ageism."

In any kind of connecting to work: everyone's path is different. Career development professionals, working from models built back before everything changed, will likely tell you differently. Maybe even tell you nothing, But the fact remains that everyone's path is different.

Which is why the library is the PERFECT place for the one thing left out of old school career development: the power of the story.

Because it's the power of a billion new ideas, thoughts, stories, poems and plays, that can take up where traditional career development stops cold and resume the individual's search for their OWN unique path to connecting with the right work for them.

Stories prompt thinking differently about what to do next. All of that in the library. For free.

And if you partner 1:1 with a career development professional focused on thinking differently about finding work (and not just 'how-to') the results can be astounding.

This week at our pilot program sponsored by The Sulzer Regional Library in Chicago, every single participant began, or was encouraged along, on their own unique path to finding work.

• 1/2 the people had jobs where they were disengaged, bored or abused. Abuse ranged from wage theft to sexual harassment.

• 3 of the participants had gone through Career Development Department at the University of Chicago -- and they were lost. Their roadblock being that they were taught that a good GPA, a programmed answer interview, and the "right" resume format along with "networking" with strangers is what it took to get a job. After our "un-learning" these folks ALL walked out into the library with a confidence and inspiration they did not have when they walked in the door.

• The other higher education issue we faced were "adjunct professors" trying to survive on their near minimum wage salaries and their graduate degrees.

• We had our first physically disabled participant (legally blind) and were able to set in motion his own unique path towards an executive position in a non-profit.

• We saw a medical Doctor with over 50 published research papers.

• And finally, we worked with helping professionals -- teachers, pastors and social workers -- just beginning to feel the government cutback in services to those most vulnerable.

An afternoon well spent at the library. Developing individual paths to finding work by thinking differently.

Finding work, even when there are no jobs.