It was finally summer. The only thing I knew for certain was that I did not want to return to teaching. For the first couple of weeks, I had lunch with friends -- Roxy, Mia, Gina, Shaneequa, Tamara and Ella -- one thing all these jobs had been good for. They all had something besides me in common, every one of them wanted to change jobs. All of them had different requirements, but no one was happy.
As I sat down the third week I was off at the computer and started a real job hunt, I came across an ad for a deputy at the Department of Education. Picking up the phone, I dialed Shaneequa's number.
"Hey!" I said when she picked up. "Didn't you tell me you were interested in the Department of Ed?"
"Yeah, but it is impossible to get a job in the fed without contacts!"
"Well, there's a great job over there. I think you should apply."
"I don't know. I'm crazy busy getting moved. There's no way I'll have time to get my resume together and write the KSAs."
"But I know this is the perfect job for you!" I urged.
"Would you be willing to help me?" She asked.
"Sure, what do you want me to do?"
"Look over my resume, put my info into the right format."
"Send it over. I've gotten an interview there before, even though I didn't get the job. I'll give it a shot."
The information arrived, and it didn't take me long to make it look much better. At the end of the week, I sent it back for her signature.
"This is amazing!" She exclaimed.
"I'm glad you like it."
"You know, I think this is what you should be doing."
"What? Looking at people's resumes? That hardly sounds like a job."
"You're wrong. My friend Sangieta that you met? She paid a career coach five thousand dollars. He found her jobs, helped with her resume, cover letter, things like that."
"You've got to be kidding! She paid five grand for that?"
"Yeah, and it wasn't nearly as good as what you just did. Jess, you look for jobs all the time. You've been on a million interviews, so your resume and cover letters have to be good. I'm telling you; you could make a killing."
I laughed. "Just let me know if you get an interview. Good luck!"
The next Monday, after a weekend off, I saw an appellate brief writer position with the U.S. Attorney's office.
"Ella Bella," I sang into the phone.
"Good morning! What's up?"
"Do I have the perfect job for you! Brief writer for the U.S. Attorney's office!"
"Really? Where did you find it?"
"DOJ's website. Do you want me to send it to you?"
She sighed, "That is my dream job, but I'd never get it."
"What are you talking about? You totally have to go for it."
"Jess, you are good at moving, but I'm not. Besides, the last time I wrote anything was two years ago. I don't have a current writing sample."
"Send it to me. I'll revise it for you."
"You don't have time to do that."
"Sure I do. It's for you."
"I'll take you to lunch."
"That sounds great."
On Wednesday, while I was revising her writing sample, Shaneequa called.
"You aren't going to believe this!" She squealed. "I got an interview!"
"That's fantastic! I am so happy for you."
"This is all because of you, Jess. I wouldn't have known about the job or applied without you."
"That's what friends are for."
"Yeah. Listen, I know you thought I was being dumb about the career counselor thing, but I think you should do it. I've talked to a couple of friends who'd like to use you. They're lawyers who've been looking for while."
"I don't know . . ." I responded hesitantly.
"Just think about it. Have lunch with us tomorrow -- my treat. Noon at Jaleo, OK?"
At noon the next day, we met at the best tapas restaurant in town.
"Jess, I want you to meet Brian and Sarah." Shaneequa said as we all shook hands.
"Jess," Brian began. "I saw Shaneequa's resume and the KSAs you helped her with. I'm desperate to find a new job, and I really need help. You did a tremendous job with her stuff, and you found her the job she actually wanted to apply for. I can pay you a thousand dollars. Would you help me?"
I was completely taken aback. "I . . .um . ." I stuttered, trying to figure out what to say. "I think we need to define what it is you expect from me."
"Resume writing, help with cover letters and finding jobs that I want to apply for."
"OK, those are things I can do, but for how long?" All I could think about was working with him for years trying to find the perfect job all for a thousand dollars -- I worried he was like me.
"How about we look for two months? If I haven't gotten an interview, we can re-evaluate."
"I want the same thing," Sarah chimed in.
"All right," I nodded slowly, "we'll give it a try and see how it goes."
That night, I told Sam all about it. "What do you think?"
"You know, you may have found your calling. I think it is a great idea. I'm just a little worried about you making a living out of this -- finding clients, having enough business."
I nodded in agreement. "I know. It seems a little out there to me." I shrugged, "but it is two thousand, so I'll try it."
The next week, I worked on Brian and Sarah's respective job hunts. It was easier than I'd imagined. Finding jobs for them was simple. Going over their resumes and cover letters was more difficult only because they were tied to their own styles and what they wanted to say. By the end of the week, they'd each sent out three resumes. Sarah was gushing, "I had no idea it would go so quickly!"
Immediately, friends of Brian, Sarah, Shaneequa and Ella started calling me. Each and every one wanted a new job. All of them needed help with resumes, cover letters, and generally help figuring out where they wanted to go. By the end of the summer, I had more than twenty clients. There was a table of charges based on the services my clients wanted. Sam was astonished.
"This is amazing! You have more business than you could possibly do!"
My eyes widened, "I know. It's a little scary, actually."
"Naw! This is great! If there's one thing my little job hopper can do, it is help other people find new jobs. This is one job that was made for you."
I smiled. "You know, I think you may just be right!"