Last evening I attended a meeting sponsored by a local group called TUG (Tri-City Unemployment Group). I had read about the group on a blog from an employment agency recruiter, Elyse here near Geneva, IL.
TUG was formed in 2001 by “several concerned community leaders of several St. Charles [Illinois] churches as an ecumenical and grass-roots effort to help address the needs of St. Charles and tri-city residents who were unemployed or underemployed.”
“The Mission of the Tri-City Unemployment Group is to provide career management services, job-seeking skills, education and training in an environment that encourages and facilitates networking, mutual support, and maintaining a positive attitude, with the ultimate goal of meaningful employment.”
“Tug provides its services free thanks to the dedicated support of its many volunteers and generous donations from the community, business and individuals.”
You can find much more information about this group and its efforts to help the un-employed on their website: www.tricityug.org.
I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical about attending the event, because I had the pre-conceived notion that it would be a room of about 30 attendees, all of whom were stuck up and competitive and not willing to share any information at all, only receive it.
How wrong I was!
I arrived and was greeted warmly by a gentleman who directed me to the right area of the building, where I registered and put on the name tag. I then walked into a room of about sixty other people and took a seat at one of the tables.
The guest speaker for the evening was Mr. Jim Kacena, a Career Management Consultant. Mr. Kacena spoke for almost an hour and a half about The Art of Interviewing. I was pretty confident that I knew all there was to know about the interview process, especially since I’d been both the interviewer (in my HR and Manager positions) and the interviewee in my current un-employed state.
Again, I was proven wrong. Mr. Kacena’s perspective on interviews centered on keeping control of the entire process from beginning to end. It was a mixture of “old school” and “mainstream” for me. He touched on certain topics that I’d forgotten about in my desperation to find a great job. Things like remaining a professional even when we feel like we are totally not one.
Sometimes durng the job search process you can get so discouraged that you become desperate to please any employer, even if you don’t want that job. Mr. Kacena helped remind everyone to remain a professional and not let that inner wimp surface.
After the speech there was an hour of networking. I’d never attended a networking event before, so I had no clue what to expect. The TUG volunteers had a table set up for “newbies” like me, and I took a seat. It was another good experience.
The discussion at the table was lead by Mr. Jerry Gendron. He talked about the networking process at TUG and how the most important thing to remember was that we were all there to help each other. It was more than just a time to get a list of contacts for job prospects. This was a group who wanted to foster an environment of encouragement and resources to its members. I was very impressed.
I am going to add a new section to this blog site and hope to list resources for those who are seeking work. In the meantime, check your search engines for local networking groups in your area. You never know who you will meet. Even if you don’t get any contact names for jobs, you might be able to help someone else!