Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Job

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Flag FireworksThis July 4th holiday offers a mid-year opportunity to re-assess and re-focus job search plans.  You can reclaim your individual freedom by becoming – or remaining – employable. 

Although America is in the midst of the worst recession since the great depression, America’s great strengths remain: freedom and its citizens’ work ethic, self-reliance, and an optimistic belief in a better tomorrow.

Our nation’s most pressing responsibility is to put its people back to work and ensure a competitive workforce for the future.  In addition, our citizens have responsibility.  As an expression of personal freedom, they must plan for and pursue meaningful work to ensure their individual liberty and prosperity. 

  1. Take a job vacation: Use your vacation time to explore, get hands-on job experience, self assess, and test out new options.  (
  2. Test drive a new industry: Volunteer at the local hospital, charity, or non-profit to try out various functions and roles to see if there is a fit.  Join a non-profit board. Volunteer for a business that interests you for 30 days (restaurant, retail, or others) to see if you like it. Offer your time in exchange for learning what you need to know about a business before taking the plunge.
  3. Get a summer job: Sign up at staffing firms to get placed at part-time time jobs. Target jobs that help you expand your skills and/or position you in firms where you would like to meet people.  Once on-site, learn about the firm, people, and opportunities. If you like a firm, research, uncover, and target jobs there.  Ask the staffing firm for a temp to perm contract and if they handle full time openings.
  4. Take a class in summer school: Take a class – whether it is at the Apple or Microsoft store or at your local college. Explore your technical edge and see if there are new areas where you excel. Take classes in the areas in which you are weak to help fill in your gaps – finance, writing, social technologies, programming.
  5. Create a short list – and share: Create a targeted short list of 10 firms that make sense for you dependent on industry and proximity. Review the websites and become an expert on the firm.  Reach out to meet people in the firm through LinkedIn and Facebook to see if you can understand where job opportunities might be, and if they would provide an introduction. 

About The Author

Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti is Vice President and Managing Director of Apollo Research Institute.  She is a source of first choice on national and international radio and television programs, including CNN, FOX TV, KQED, CNBC, and ABC. She is quoted frequently in the mass media and outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Wired magazine and San Jose Mercury News. She was named San Francisco Woman of the Year in 2002, and was honored by the San Francisco Business Times as a 2012 Most Influential Woman in Bay Area Business for her outreach and research on women, education, technology, and the workforce.