Julie Blackmon

Stories of Outplacement – Samantha

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A bump in the road towards retirement.

When I first met Samantha, it was at our initial outplacement intake meeting.

Typically, we sit down and have about a 30 minute conversation with each participant to understand their goals, desires, fears, and challenges. Quickly, it became clear that this necessitated a longer conversation. Samantha worked with her current employer for over 25 years and was a few short years away from early retirement. In an instant, everything she had planned for was up in the air.  We reviewed everything from what types of positions would interest her, to what challenges she thought she might encounter. At the time, I think she thought almost every step had the potential to be difficult for her.

However, Samantha threw herself wholeheartedly into the program.

She was open and honest throughout her resume review process, and easily able to provide detailed examples of projects where she had an impact at her current employer. She worked hard with our team to ensure her resume was a perfect representation of her experience and skill sets. The result was a great resume.

Samantha had also expressed some concern about dressing for an interview.

As a female in manufacturing, it can be hard to walk the line between too casual and too dressy. For example, high heels shouldn’t be worn on the plant floor in most cases, but might be recommended in a ‘typical’ interview dress session. Samantha recalled when she was interviewing at her current company and had worn dressier shoes that didn’t have much traction, and had quite a difficult time on the plant tour. So, to alleviate some of those concerns, we did the natural thing….had a fashion show! Samantha brought multiple options and we went through different combinations until we found outfits that were both interview appropriate and confidence inspiring. Keep in mind, all this was done well in advance of interviewing. So if she got an unexpected call we weren’t left scrambling.

When it was nearing Samantha’s release date, we started looking at job descriptions.

There was one in particular that stands out. It was a lower level position for the main company she was targeting. She considered applying, however, after we talked it over, we really felt like it wasn’t a great fit to show off her skills. At that time, it might have felt a little silly to pass over a perfectly fine job at the place she wanted to work, but it just didn’t feel right. Well, not 2 weeks later another position came across our desks at the same employer. It was like it was written for Samantha. I immediately printed it out and walked (ran!) down the hall to her desk. I had her look at it to make sure I was on the right track. I’ll never forget when she looked back at me with the same excitement I was feeling!

A few weeks later, after working through interviewing, negotiating salaries and start dates, it was time for Samantha’s last day at her old employer. After a great big hug, we were able to wish her well in her new venture! And, even better, we’ve been able to stay in touch and watch her flourish in her new role. Which is undoubtedly the best part about the relationships we build in our career transition programs.

*Name changed to protect anonymity

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