Overcoming Job Title Identity Theft

March 9, 2010

Do You Feel Erased?
By Janet Walgren

One of the challenges unemployed workers are facing in today’s job market is trying to find a new work identity after their old identity was erased. In my former position as Student Success Manager for EWI, I spent four years helping seasoned professionals and novices alike identify, utilize and monetize their transferable skills to create new careers as entrepreneurs.

In this capacity, I was able to help hundreds of people stay positive in the face of adversity, create new dreams and gain the courage to fulfill their dreams. I was also able to help entrepreneurs identify their needs and suggest resources to help them meet their business challenges.

I believe the current economy presents an unprecedented opportunity for both employers and prospective employees alike because of the incredible pool of talented candidates that was unavailable for employers to choose from in older more stable economies. Non-traditional crossover candidates bring with them a wealth of training and a diversity of experiences that can enrich and rejuvenate a stale corporate environment while fulfilling staffing needs.

A title isn’t who you are. A title doesn’t even necessarily tell what you did. You are a valuable person regardless of the titles others might bestow on you or take from you. If you have been downsized and feel like your identity has been erased, make a list of your skills, talents and experiences. Then, as you read job announcements, ask yourself, “How can my skill set fit in with [this] employer’s needs?”

You don’t have to be desperate and settle for a bad employer or a bad job. Remember, you were looking for a job when you found your last one so, don’t forget to make it a two way interview.

It’s not what you have been but what you are becoming that determines your future.

America’s path to captivity

December 12, 2007

By Janet Walgren
I received an email a couple weeks ago about an exchange student from a third world country who asked his college professor, “Do you know how to catch a wild boar?”

Now that is a question that conjures up all sorts of interesting images in ones mind. First, you have a large hairy animal with hoofs and tusks… the student went on to answer his own question…

“It’s really very simple. All you have to do is find where the boars are and put out some food. Once the boars are used to eating the food instead of foraging, you simply put up one side of a fence near the food. After the boars are used to the fence they will go back to eating the food. Next, you put up another side of the fence and repeat the process until you have built a coral with a gate. Then, all you have to do is close the gate and you will have captured an entire herd of wild boar simply by closing the gate.”

 Imagine that a herd of wild boar could be captured by simply closing a gate while they were enjoying a free lunch. Is that what you imagined? Think about the next generation that is born in captivity. They wouldn’t even know how to forage. And, the next generation wouldn’t even know that there was food on the other side of the fence.

Isn’t that what has happened to Americans today? Our ancestors who built America were farmers and entrepreneurs. They worked hard for a living as did their children. It was a family venture to survive. The next generation worked for the entrepreneurs. It involved less hard work and personal risk than entrepreneuring. Their children grew up to work for large corporations and retired with gold watches.

Today with outsourcing, downsizing, big box retailers and fast food giants providing the jobs there is little left for the worker to feast on in the corals of mega-business. Americans are working less than 40 hours a week for $6.00 to $8.00 dollars per hour and feel lucky to have their jobs. Others are being shot at in Iraq because they they had no other job options and couldn’t afford an education. They didn’t know how to find food in the coral much less on the other side of the fence. Few Americans know how to forage and the numbers who do are dwindling. We are loosing our ability to survive.

We are a nation that is deeply in debt and fast loosing our freedom. We have sold ourselves into slavery because of our debt, our greed, our laziness and our poverty of mind and spirit. All that is left to gain our captivity is to shut the gate of the coral. If this doesn’t scare you, it ought to.

The JOB Interview

April 8, 2007


By Janet Walgren

I have had some interesting job interviews in my life –unique to say the least; my favorite one didn’t happen…at least the company didn’t know about it. So when two other people and I showed up for work a few days after the interview, it was as if we had walked into the office and yelled SURPRISE!!! Yes, surprise was definitely in the air. The employee that hired us had been (in some way that was kept a mystery from us) disassociated with the company and our little group of new employees was his secret parting present.

A good dose of honesty would have gone a long way at that time, but the company didn’t want to tell us what was amusingly obvious to each of us. So, with subdued giggles we sat in amazement as the management tried to subtly coax each individual to divulge their expected job description and promised pay. Needless to say, our little band of new hires experienced an orientation class that was unparalleled in the annals of corporate history. I should have told them I had been hired to replace the CEO! Fortunately (we thought) we did keep our jobs but one-by-one we each decided that it was in our best interest to seek employment elsewhere.

While this experience may seem uniquely uncommon, funny and very amusing, it reinforced my understanding that honesty and due dilligence are the keys to preventing or handling the suprises of life. Take divorce for example, why is the divorce rate so incredibly high? We hear about couples falling out of love all the time.

Perhaps we ought to ask divorcees about the JOB interview that preceded their marriage. It’s as if the young couple raced through the isles of a grocery store and picked up a can of “handsome stranger” or “pretty woman” without even bothering to read the content label on the back of the can.

While on their honeymoon, the infatuated couple has fun playing with the package while dreaming of living happily ever after. Then, they hurry home to their little love nest, race across the threshold and excitedly opened their cans of “handsome stranger” and “pretty woman,”  turned them upside down and dump them on to the plate of life only to find that they don’t like the content of the can or the meal that is set before them.

Surprised!!! Why should they be? …So they don’t like their JOB descriptions; did they ever bother to read them? Were they honest in their job interviews? So she doesn’t like cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, changing diapers, doing laundry, teaching children, bug collections, soothing a crying child, unclogging toilets, budgeting to make ends meet, and comforting a tired man when he comes home feeling downtrodden and disheartened. What’s that got to do with anything? 

So he doesn’t want to get up early and work all day just to surrender his meager paycheck to take care of a family that always needs $10 dollars more than he earns. Worse yet, his job is not over when he gets home! Now his not so “pretty woman” wants him to take out the garbage, change a diaper, hold a teething baby who is crying, and watch a Barbie movie with little Susie, mow the lawn, and then spend fifteen minutes of quality time listening to her. “No way,” he protests! But it is in the JOB description.

What did “handsome stranger” and “pretty woman” think a wife and mother, a husband and father do? Did she honestly think that he was going to wine and dine her every night over candlelight dinners that she didn’t prepare and then have stimulating conversations under the stars while the maid did the dishes? Was he really honestly expecting to be left alone to eat a gourmet meal in front of the TV while watching a football game with “pretty woman” at his beck and call to fetch drinks and rubs his smelly feet?

You see, cans of “handsome stranger” and “pretty woman” do not come with a lifetime customer satisfaction or your money back guarantee. What’s inside is very, very important. Why would you want to buy the can or even kiss it if you couldn’t love its content?

Can “handsome stranger” or “pretty woman” handle the job requirements? What was that job description anyway???  Is the content of the can capable of handling the nutritional or nurturing needs of a marriage and family? Is “handsome stranger” or “pretty woman” even interested in the job or do they only want the paycheck?


Discovering that my friends, is what the JOB INTERVIEW called dating is all about.