Believe in 2010

1 01 2010

Happy New Year Readers!

I’m writing this post on 2010’s special day, January 1st! It’s time to begin anew and build new memories. I for one am beginning my fresh start right. I’m pleasantly pleased to share with you that I was blessed with a new full-time assignment and my first day of work is January 4th! It took eleven grueling months and I’ve been on countless interviews but a door has finally opened. I’m so grateful to find a new employment home. If you are in a similar situation please lean on your faith that your time will come too. I know that’s easier said than done; I was even doubtful at times but no matter how hopeless I felt, I kept trying. Persevere!

Resolutions are traditional but I’ve decided not to cast one this year. In the past I would make one…okay, three and never achieved the goals that I set for myself. In 2010 I’m just going to BELIEVE and know that all my heart’s desires will happen for me when the time is right. No more expectations or disappointments; I’m just going to let God predict my future. Believe and it will happen!

Blessings,

Shani Anona

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Untamed Waves of Unemployment

20 12 2009

photo by anthony goto on Flickr

Anyone who personally knows me can attest that I’m relatively an optimistic person and try to find the brightness in a gloomy day. But lately I haven’t been seeing life through my rose-colored lenses. I wouldn’t be honest with my readers if I said that surfing the untamed waves of unemployment has been easy; its been quite the opposite, extremely hard and even depressing. Its been close to a year and I’ve been on countless interviews; too many to even provide an accurate count. I’ve grown accustomed to the basic intro questions that most if not all employers tend to ask, “So what made you apply with us?” Ahh…I need a job and benefits please! I’ve developed a great sales pitch and learned to sell my skills with so much fervor that I’ve been frequently asked, “Wow, you did so much for them, why did they let you go?” Ahh…cause no one is expendable! I’ve learned to interpret body language from the firmness of an introductory handshake to the uncomfortable nods during the spiel of a resume. Always gracious even when it shouldn’t be displayed, I’m thankful for all the opportunities bestowed. And I’m so appreciative when I get a follow-up whether it’s welcoming me to a second phase or acknowledging me for my interests. So although I’m thoroughly seasoned and have learned to score interviews during this recession, I have yet been assigned.

If you’ve been on the same boat as me and it feels like it’s a never-ending sail, my advice is to try to hold on although things look bleak. If you’re spiritual, pray; it always gives me release when I cast my burdens unto God. Keep reminding yourself about of all the blessings that you currently have. I’ve heard some complain about those weekly unemployment benefits but they truly are blessings! Give yourself a break from the job-search grind but don’t give up, keep applying and going on those screenings; the right one will present itself soon.





I’m Not My Hair

2 11 2009

Shani 003

I was recently perplexed when an audacious relative confessed that although they loved my hair, I would have found employment if my hair wasn’t natural. I was also urged not to dye the color and believe me, I wasn’t considering a radical change…a light auburn would do. They advised me to get a wig and wait to get a job before I did anything else to my hair. Normally I’d let unsolicited or negative comments just roll off my back since becoming thick-skinned but since it was served from a relative, it caused me to wonder; am I being judged by my hair? During this volatile recession, I’ve become a seasoned pro with all the many blessings of interviews but I haven’t secured anything permanent as of yet. Was there any validity to my relative’s statements? Did it matter that I was highly qualified with years of experience or that I was impeccably dressed and could strike a pose if a camera was avail? Are businesses still intimidated by Afrocentrism in this day and age? Did President Obama not signify that change has come from what we were accustomed to? Naivety isn’t clouding my judgment, I know that I’ve been turned down for some assignments just based on the color of my skin; and I still proudly fill out the voluntary ethnicity questionnaire on applications. Prejudice and discrimination is still rampant among us but it doesn’t shatter my pride nor make me regretful of going natural. I’m proud of who I am; black, intelligent, and definitely beautiful! I shouldn’t have to straighten my hair or cop a wig to be socially accepted for a position at an organization or otherwise; that would falsify my natural essence. So I’m listening to the candid advice that my fore-mothers instilled in me which is to always be myself and if something is meant for me…it is ultimately mine.





Recession Doesn’t Equal Depression

24 09 2009
photo by jonbell has no h on flickr

photo by jonbell has no h on flickr

With my 9th, 10th, & 11th interviews approaching next week, I feel it’s time to reflect upon my travels on securing employment during the recession. First, I want to say that recession does NOT equal depression. No doubt it’s a challenge and at times it could make your future appear to be bleak but that’s not looking at things positively; (it’s looking through half-empty glasses). Look at the bright side, recession can change your life for the better. It can make you revisit your aspirations that were hidden behind career obligations. I rediscovered my passion for the written word, created 3 blogs, and I’m now looking forward to becoming a freelancer. So my recession has added to my skills by giving me the time to hone into my craft. It has also trained me into becoming a great interviewee; I’m not going to stop until I hear the magnificent words of YOU’RE HIRED. I’ve learned the art of selling myself which in turn has helped me with my writing; investigative reporting, here I come!

Throughout my journey I have hit a few speed bumps. I didn’t show enough enthusiasm on phone interview and didn’t get to the second round, I was corrected on my cover letter during a meeting, I even arrived at an appointment fifteen minutes late. OUCH! Believe me arriving tardy for the party was the ultimate blunder that I hope to never experience again. It really wasn’t my fault, I blame NYC traffic. Controlling it is a challenge for our Mayor. I left my house 1 1/2 hour early and still arrived late, (heard that Sex and the City was taping at the Plaza and traffic was backed on 5th, Lexington, & Park). I arrived frazzled and sweating; totally lost my cool, calm, and collectivity. After I explained my lateness to my interviewer with a twist of humor, I engaged him further with my charm. I had him laughing and smiling within seconds during our time together. In closing he told me he would get back to me the proceeding week. Did I get the job? Heck no! But I did receive a personal note from him and I realized that I would have been his first choice if I hadn’t come late. So I had to chuck that one up to experience. That position wasn’t for me. My grandmother used to say, “if something is for you, it cannot be un-for-you.” Her words hold validity to my situation. When the right position comes along, I will know because I will be hired!





Interview Jitters

10 06 2009

I pride myself for being a great oral & written communicator but when it comes to speaking with an interviewer and filling out a job application, I start mumbling and can barely keep my hands straight. It gets really bad; I sweat so much, it looks like I stole something and no one wants to approach an appointment without your cool or swagger demeanor. There were times that I missed out on the opportunity to look my interviewer in the eye and give a firm handshake. And we all know that’s a must!

lewis chaplin on flickr

lewis chaplin on flickr

So I’ve learned a few techniques that helped me out during my stressful highs that I would like to share with you. During my travels to appointments, I always listen to calming music while I review my notes. It serves two purposes; the music will soothe my temperament and it will also block out distracting noises so I can study. I also carry a water bottle. Nothing is better to quench your eager thirst than water and it will cool you down instantly. Always arrive early and in order to get to your destination painlessly, wear comfortable shoes. I always wear flats and carry my heels. I’ve never been that type of female who could rock those stilettos or pointy-toes without wincing with pain.

Chrissy Hunt on flickr

Chrissy Hunt on flickr

These small tidbits helps me to conquer my nervousness and I’m able to concentrate on my deliverance as a viable candidate. What are your rituals that help you conquer the interview jitters?





Embracing Unemployment Lessons

5 04 2009

I was the female who would buy things at will regardless of price. Even if I didn’t have the cash, the credit card was in tow so you know I was getting it. I was the chick who ignored the pennies on the street and would only bend for the silver coins. Now that I’m unemployed, I will drop-it-like-its-hot for the ole copper. We are all experiencing hard times in some form or another, especially the unemployed. I for one can attest that my unemployment has changed my lifestyle in drastic ways and I have to admit, its for the better.

Unemployment has taught me the value of my dollars and has trained me to focus on my needs; my wants are less important at this time. I’ve become a full fledged coupon shopper and make it my business to try to buy my products on sale.  I’ve become so skilled that I even know which store sells an item cheaper so I can receive further discounts. My social life has also changed too. I’m no longer part of the crowd at after work spots for the drink specials and going out to eat has become a frivolous expense; one that I simply cannot afford. Instead I have a girls night in and have each friend contribute to our meal and/or drinks. This is a practical way to hang out with your girls and its cost effective.

I’ve embraced my unemployment and value the lessons it has afforded me. Less is so much more during dire times. Have you ever been unemployed? If so, do tell the lessons you’ve learned.

-shani anona