Betty Harvey, a 53-year-old job seeker, was apprehensive about looking for another job when her hours were cut at work. After attending a learning event at her local library hosted by the San Diego Workforce Partnership, she began to gain confidence in her abilities. We spoke with Betty about her initial fear of switching jobs and what made her finally decide to take control of her career.
I worked for a tourism company for 18 years. I started in an entry-level position, and I worked my way up to senior manager, a position they created specifically for me. When they told staff that hours were being cut, I did not think that included mine. I was wrong. They reduced all staff, including me, to 15 hours a week, barely even part-time.
My supervisor told us that it was okay to find a second job and that we could even reach out to our contractors to see if they had openings. I was comfortable in my position, so comfortable that the possibility of having to leave and find a new job scared me. I understood how the company worked inside and out.
A few days after our hours were cut, one of my direct reports came to me so fearful about the cut to her hours. I felt for her and knew I had much more work experience than her so it would be easier for me to get a job than her. That’s when I decided to start looking for another job. Then I though, if I left, that would mean more hours for her.
I was trying to help my 17-year-old son find a job so I had been receiving emails from the Workforce Partnership for a while. I saw a virtual career learning event for all ages, and I signed us both up. My son ended up being unable to attend, but I decided to attend anyway. I was impressed with the slides and found them fascinating. I later saw an in-person event, and thinking it was more of a job fair, I decided to attend. It was the same learning event as the virtual one, only this one catered to adults. It was facilitated by the same staff member, Chloe. The presentation was similar, but face-to-face contact made the experience much richer for me.
The experience was terrific. Chloe would affirm and challenge me, asking why I thought I was not qualified for a job. When I thought about it, I realized that I was and that I had more skills than I thought. I appreciated Chloe’s attentiveness and am so thankful for the attention she offered me. At the end of the workshop, she gave me her contact information and when I reached out with questions, she quickly responded.
Also, taking the RIASEC quiz was truly a turning point for me. After completing the quiz, it tells you the jobs you are suited for. That made me feel much better about applying for jobs since looking at job descriptions can be daunting. There would be jobs that I felt qualified for with extremely low-pay or jobs with higher wages that I felt under-qualified for. So, I wouldn’t apply.
Later, when I saw a sales position open for one of the companies we work with, I reached out to them, being very honest about my lack of sales experience while explaining my skillset. I asked for a chance to interview, and they did that and more. After meeting with me, they offered me a job. I am now working full-time again and still able to stay connected with my previous company.
I am excited about my new job. I am still getting used to it and I want to take the time to learn how the company functions so I can be successful.
Going to the library that day and speaking with Chloe gave me the confidence to trust myself and apply for more jobs. I lost my fear and found strength within myself. I knew that I was capable of meeting the challenge ahead of me.
I am always telling those I know looking for a job to attend the Workforce Partnerships’ events or, at the very least, go on their website because they offer so many online resources and connecting with someone is easy.
I want people to know that if they feel like they are hitting a wall, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are so many resources out there that it can be overwhelming, but taking the first step is the best action they can take for themselves.