Write Choice Services, Inc.

July 2016

Searching for a new job? Look at your connections.

From the Pen of Dr. Tim Morrison, President and Writing Coach of Write Choice Services, Inc.

I received an intriguing email this morning. It came from a graduate of Boston University. After the alumnus’ opening sentence of introduction came the meat of the email in this succinct paragraph:

I"'ve stayed active in the BU network since graduation and played a big role in revamping our new alumni platform. We've made it incredibly easy for you to connect with old friends, mentor alums, find and refer great candidates, support your company’s hiring efforts, or find your next job.  I'd invite you to check it out! " 

My actual connection to Boston University? A directed study (independent study) in Religious Education with a professor at BU as part of my Doctor of Ministry (DMin) studies. Directed or independent studies line the transcripts of many college and graduate students. Such studies are not that unusual; however, my DMin degree is from Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Centre, Massachusetts.  ANTS is part of a consortium of colleges, universities, and graduate schools in the greater Boston area. Being a student in one of the schools of the consortium opened the doors for cross registration for classes at all the schools of the consortium.  I used that opportunity to study organizational diagnosis at Harvard Graduate Business School and to engage in a directed study at Boston University.

Now thirty-six years later, I receive an email inviting and encouraging me to “to connect with old friends, mentor alums, find and refer great candidates, support your company’s hiring efforts, or find your next job.”  One course, one professor and now I have access to alumni information. I never thought of that possibility.

Over the years of my career in pastoral ministry, I engaged in numerous continuing education classes at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, PA. I took a several courses in spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA.  I confess I never thought of using my connections at either institution when I pursued career changes . . . until I received the email from the alumnus of Boston University.

What are the “hidden” networks in plain sight in your career that you have overlooked? How creative and adventurous are you willing to be in your quest?

I’m not in a job search and don’t plan to be.  I am very content with my work with Write Choice Services and as an evening chaplain at WellStar Kennestone Hospital. Those two opportunities came in curious ways as well. The founder of Write Choice Services was my high school chorus teacher decades ago; we reconnected after twenty years when I came across a book whose author’s name and photo had to be my teacher. (I bought the book at the bookstore at Lancaster Theological Seminary while engaging in continuing education.) Through a series of letters and phone conversations with Janet Litherland Barnes, I became a client of WCS, then an independent contractor with WCS and when Janet decided to retire, I bought the company.  With WellStar Kennestone Hospital, I began as a volunteer chaplain in 1991 and stayed in that capacity until I was offered a PRN position as a chaplain and that parlayed into a being the full time evening chaplain.

Amazing things can and do happen when we allow a job hunt to be an adventure filled with creative thinking and “you’ve got to be kidding me” actions.  Rebecca McCaffrey, the guest columnist for this month, shares her story. I met Rebecca during her tenure at WellStar Kennestone Hospital. Her story is one of determination, flexibility and creativity in the search process.

Although WCS is best known for its work in helping individuals generate the book they have always dreamed of writing, WCS also develops top quality, impressive and effective resumes. WCS enjoys working with individuals in their job search and career move.  Click here to engage us in conversation on how we can help you.

Look outside the box when searching for a new job.
by Rebecca McCaffrey

Thirteen years ago, my husband was offered a promotion with increased pay and less travel, but it involved moving across the country from our home in Denver to Atlanta with two teen-age girls. We agreed as a family this was the right move for us and we always knew we would return “home.” The big question was, “When is the right time to make a move?” considering we were both now in our mid 50’s with secure employment that could easily take us to retirement. 

Our then teen-age children are now adults and had already moved back to Denver. Our parents all live west of the Mississippi and my husband and I were getting older. Decisions had to be made. After much soul searching, we decided to make the return move to Denver, placing our priority of being close to family above possible struggles of finding work, selling and buying a home and all the “adventures” of a cross-country move. 

We then began the process of securing employment.  My husband works for a world-wide company and is able to do his job with an airport nearby to facilitate travel and an internet connection.  He began the conversation early about our intended “unapproved” move. Initially, the inference was made that they could terminate him if he proceeded with the move. He then made casual contacts with managers who had open positions within the same company about possibly transferring, allowing him to remain with his company in a different capacity. To his surprise, he was tentatively offered several positions.

The final conversation with his division was a presentation that showed how his thirty years of experience in the industry (and with his current company) would be an asset to an under-resourced area. He stressed that he would be able to do his current position as well as support the “west region” by being physically located in the Denver area. He also offered to be a support to the surrounding areas by being willing to travel all of the areas in the west region that were also under resourced.  

In the end, his willingness to be flexible, accept additional responsibilities and presenting his experience as an asset that could not easily be replaced by younger or less experienced workers allowed him to move and remain with the company. 

My transition was not as simple; transferring with the same company was not in the cards for me.  I began my research by looking at the postings on several job sites, looking at what the Denver job market had to offer.  As a nurse, I thought finding a job in a large hospital would be a snap. To my surprise jobs were not as plentiful as I had hoped. I continued to search the job sites as well as the individual hospital career pages, keeping a listing of potential jobs. I compared the job offerings, shifts and locations. I also did research on each organization, taking note of mission and vision, ratings, opportunity for growth, locations, etc. In addition, I looked at new areas of nursing outside of the traditional hospital setting such as clinics, schools, and occupational nursing.

I also examined my resume, after thirteen years with the same healthcare system, my resume was quite outdated and needed a “face lift.” I began by listing recent education and the new skills I had acquired incorporating them into a new resume. I also constructed a new concise cover letter.

Lastly, I contacted previous and current supervisors and co-workers, those who I knew would be my strongest references. I sent them a personal note about my pending move and job search asking if I may list them as a reference. I did not use any references that I had not personally spoken with. With all this in place, I confidently began the interview process. 

I had several interviews that went well, but no immediate job offers. After several weeks of interviews and two job offers, I did a bit of soul searching, feeling that the offers were not the perfect fit. I believed that, at age fifty-five, I was looking for a position in a corporation that I could stay with into retirement.

With a renewed sense of purpose and focus, I restarted my job search looking for a different setting where I could use my skills as a clinical nurse leader and work in my chosen specialty, the older adult patient.  I began to search long-term care and rehabilitation opportunities. I submitted several applications, receiving offers on all. After a series of interviews, I accepted an offer at an elder care community on the cutting edge of care using the Eden Alternative philosophy. 

In the end, my job search afforded me the opportunity to reset my career by looking at opportunities that I had not originally considered.  Taking time to deeply think about how my long-term objectives aligned with my passion for elder care made the difference in accepting a position that is the perfect fit.

Rebecca McGaffey is registered nurse certified in geriatrics and as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL).  Rebecca received a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Colorado and a Master’s Degree in Nursing from the University of West Georgia.  She is also certified in alternative health care including Reiki, Healing Touch Spiritual ministries and Aromatherapy.  She currently resides in Denver with her husband and works as a Transition Care Manager. 


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3605 Sandy Plains Road
Suite 240, Box 101
Marietta, GA 30066