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Out of Work
Your future Part II: Coverage of Unemployment Seminar

“It’s been studied, and scientists believe ninety-eight percent of the population live their lives never finding out what they were born to do,” Jim Cook, business owner, said.

“That’s really a tragedy, when you think about it,” he added.

Cook and others led discussion of unemployment at a seminar themed “Seven Steps to Surviving Unemployment,” held Tuesday, Sept. 15, at Town Hall.

Cook urged those in transition or unemployed to use the opportunity to discover their passion.

“Your job is not your identity,” he said, adding a transition period was a perfect “opportunity to find out what you’re made of.”

He asked the group to consider five questions, designed to help them discover their passion.

“Find out what you’re passionate about: somewhere in there is your purpose,” he said.

“A life lived without purpose is often worse than if you had never lived at all,” he added.

His five questions touched on identity, heritage, purpose, skill and vision:

• Who am I?

• Where am I from?

“That’s not an ethnic question or a location question, it’s a deeper question,” Cook said.

• Why am I here?

“The thing you would do everyday, whether you were paid for it or not, if money were not an issue,” Cook said.

• What can I do?

• Where am I going?

“It’s going to take some time, thought and introspection,” to answer these questions, Cook said, “but you can take these and run with them.”

“If you don’t have those things wrapped up and understood, that’s where you should spend the next days, months, years,” he added.

Cook also asked audience members to think of three things that made them angry and three things that broke their hearts, challenging them that perhaps, they were created to be a solution to those problems.

“It could be very likely that you were born to be the answer, or solution, to that thing,” Cook said.

Steve Arnold, founder of Storehouse Advisory Group, said he’d started his own business because “I was convinced my passion was leading me there to do it.”

He enc-ouraged the group to work smarter, not harder, to gain an edge in the job market, using skillful self-marketing.

“Finding jobs is going to be a lot more difficult, because there’s more competition,” Arnold said, quoting a 10.8 percent unemployment rate in Tennessee, and an 8.4 percent rate in Knox County.

Giving yourself a statistical advantage in the job market, Arnold said, meant marketing yourself intelligently and in more than one way.

The number one place companies look to hire new employees is internal transfers, followed by referrals, company Web sites and Internet job boards (see pie graph).

“We can’t do anything to affect internal transfers. … but the next most effective role is for us to be soliciting these referrals,” Arnold said.

He encouraged audience members to develop a professional contact list, inform contacts of their situations, ask for specific assistance and follow up.

“Let them know, ‘I’m without a job; I need help,’” Arnold said.

Using referrals along with Internet job boards and/or company Web sites drastically improved statistical chances of being called for interviews.

First Baptist Concord preaching staff member Larry Boyles challenged audience members to keep a positive attitude during times of unemployment and job searches.

“When people with a good attitude approach you, you can tell the difference,” he said, and that could provide a job seeker the edge in interviews.

The first step to keeping a good attitude is asking for help: “Life’s tough. The truth is, a lot of us need help in times like this,” Boyles said.

“It’s a time to rely on each other, depend on each other,” he added.

Boyles’ other tips included focusing on blessings, finding a way to serve others and laughing.

Today is not yesterday: “Make a conscious decision that this is going to be a good day,” he said.

“Through working together, I think we’re all going to come through this,” State Rep. Ryan Haynes said.


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