Hi, I’m Maria, The Working Girl. Welcome to my world! This blog is dedicated to helping the unemployed, underemployed, and anyone else who wants a better job. I’ve worked for the past several years as an employment specialist and have expert knowledge about finding job leads, nailing interviews, and getting job offers. I also offer advice on career planning, resume writing…you name it, and if it has something to do with the employment world, chances are I can help you with it! If you’d like to learn more about my life thus far…keep reading (at your own risk).
I’ll try not to bore you.
Childhood – lived in Queens till 4th grade, then moved to Connecticut. In 5th grade I wanted to be a marine biologist. I still kind of do. I love the ocean, even more than I love outer space. I might start a blog some day about the blue whale – the largest known mammal in the history of the world. So much we still don’t know about them. Anyway…
In eighth grade I had an amazing American history teacher and that’s what first got me interested in our country. I never stopped being fascinated with all things American. One of my favorite things to do was pick fights with people about how awesome Nixon was, just to see how mad they’d get.
Fast forward to college. I went to Barnard College which is a school of Columbia University. I loved it and I majored in political science. My senior thesis attempted to explain our country’s incarceration rate (which is huge). I pretty much blamed Barry Goldwater for starting it. Start my senior year in college, however, I started to feel empty inside. I had been successful in academics and was known around campus. But suddenly the success I had meant nothing, which surprised me, because I thought that success would make me happy. But all I felt was a terrible emptiness inside. One night a friend and I were walking and she was talking about having received her LSAT (law school) exam results. She had scored 169/180 (97.8 percentile). And she was crying from disappointment. She wanted a 170. It was at that moment that I thought: What bubble have we been living in? I realized I was unhappy because I was almost totally isolated from the rest of the world.
I went through a bit of a crisis, rediscovered my faith (Roman Catholic), and decided I needed a radical lifestyle change – maybe permanently. I started reading and searching the web and discovered Henri Nouwen. He was a Catholic priest and psychiatrist whose CV included the Menninger Clinic, Notre Dame, Harvard Divinity, Yale Divinity, and this place called L’Arche, where he finally stopped and lived out the rest of his life. I read about Henri’s life, especially his insecurity and unrest, and I identified with it so much that I decided that I, too, needed to go to L’Arche. L’Arche has locations literally all over the world – including several in Africa, South America, and Asia. Having spent the past 4 years in Manhattan, I decided to go to the most exotic place I could imagine. Somewhere no one I knew had been, somewhere I knew nothing about. I decided to move to Kansas.
I stayed in Kansas for 3 years living and working alongside men and women with and without intellectual disabilities. It probably sounds cliche to say those years were the hardest and greatest of my life, but it’s true. I moved back home because I missed my family, and took a job as an employment specialist with a nonprofit. My first assignment was with people with mental illness and recent criminal histories. I later took a promotion with another agency managing our department and working with people with mental illness and homelessness, which is where I’m at today. I’ve had a lot of first hand experience working with people with all sorts of challenges, which has given me more insight into many subjects than the average person. And while I struggle to help these folks find employment, I’ve learned a lot about how to find jobs and keep jobs and I want to share that knowledge with the general public, because I’ve seen first hand the suffering unemployment causes. I still have that passion for America, and this blog is dedicated to all Americans, but especially the economically disadvantaged.
I’ve looked for resources like this online, but they all seem to be churning out the same old adages, on websites littered with ads. While in the future I will probably add some advertisements to this site so I can perhaps blog full time about employment and blue whales, I want this to be a resource where you can come, relax, and learn new things that will hopefully help you land that job, without having to filter out meaningless ads. I’m not going to be telling you stuff like, shake hands and look the person in the eye at a job interview, or spell-check your resume. I want my blog to be deeper and higher quality. And I’m not selling anything.
So, welcome, feel free to look around and stay awhile. And if you have a question please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m very happy to write posts regarding specific questions.