Friday, April 2, 2010

Building Up Your Community: A Building Block for Your Career

Community - noun

1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
2. a locality inhabited by such a group.
3. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the): the business community; the community of scholars.
4. a group of associated nations sharing common interests or a common heritage: the community of Western Europe.

No matter how you describe it, define it, or say it, we all are part of one, a community. Whether you're employed or in search of your new career, becoming part of community is a great way to learn from others, establish new relationships, and give to or for others. In a previous blog on defining a job search strategy,, we noted the importance of not only social networking but actual face to face networking. SO if you are going to network, why not choose a group or cause that you are passionate about and have an opportunity to give back to your local community?

Last week, I had the opportunity to do just that! Escoe Bliss is a member of the California Staffing Professionals (CSP), a non-profit membership organization which provides products and services to its members within the staffing services industry. CSP successfully influenced the passage of several state assembly bills that deregulated employer-paid agencies to the less restrictive control of local statutes, eliminating the Bureau of Employment Agencies. It fought oppressive I-9 requirements. It confronted the Legislature, protesting unfair competition by a publicly funded entity. On a turnaround trip with my CSP community from all over including, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, and areas of Northern California, I had the pleasure of going to the state capitol to discuss with our legislators how we can and need to get the unemployed in California back to work. It was most impressive the way the legislators and staff set aside time to listen to our concerns and ideas. They even took time for a quick photo opp! (see photo below with Assemblyman Chris Norby)
Another stellar example: I recently learned of a story about an unemployed office administrator who is currently offering freelancing services and time for a veterinary office. I was so moved when she shared the reason behind it. This kind-hearted vet was by her side when her 14 year old border collie was having health challenges and even made house calls. When the office administrator was given the opportunity to return the favor, she didn't even blink and jumped at the chance.

Just to demonstrate how volunteering can not only fulfill a giant need in your community but lead to a personal story in your job search strategy, we have another example for you. Escoe Bliss' Regina Gormanly was a personal shopper at the Men's Day of Self Esteem for Working Wardrobes last fall. On this day she was partnered with another energetic volunteer. After getting to know each other, they were both in awe that Escoe Bliss' capabilities and her skill set were a match! She was a freelance Instructional Designer looking for a new contract. Regina introduced her to me and the rest is history! The Instructional Design consultant is now on a 12 month contract with our client.

Whether it is my recent experience to Sacramento, a personal experience of your own, or story shared about a perfect stranger helping someone they never met, hopefully you will be inspired. There is so much value and importance in finding a network and engaging in an activity that cannot only bring you and others joy, but be a step in the right direction of finding a new career or contract.

We are always looking for ways to build our community and volunteer. If you have an organization that you are passionate about please feel free to share in the comments section below.

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