Lessons from the breadline, part 3

Welcome to my Lessons from the Breadline series -- a whole month and a half in. See Part One and Part Two here, and remember, I want to hear from you too!

LESSON 7: Nothing can take the place of face-to-face.

Social media is great and all, but for me, its greatest value comes from helping me connect people offline. Take Debbie Weil of "The Corporate Blogging Book," for example. She met with me to share names, swap ideas, and discuss seminar topics.

Or Rachel Azaroff of Prince of Petworth, who recommended creative temp agencies in the area. Or Susan Robbins of Cedar Interactive or Nancy Scola of Personal Democracy Forum, who offered job seeking advice.

And that doesn't even scratch the surface. There's Qui Diaz at Livingston Communications, Jim Jacobs at OmniStudio, Will Caggiano at Jobplex, and Jake Brewer of Energy Action Coalition, who went out of their way to spend time with me, connect with their contacts, and all-around tell me, "You can do it!"

I no longer underestimate the value of shaking these folks' hands, hearing their voices, and getting to know them without computer screens between us. After all, life is much richer than 140 characters, and in-person meetings remind you to keep the human connection alive amid the tweets, updates, and pings.

LESSON 8: Down days help bring you back up -- often higher than before.

As the reality of a protracted unemployment looms larger each day, I've had some very blue days afternoons moments. So I reached out for some help, and got advice from my parents that I think is worth passing along to all of you.

From my father: Don't sweat having the occasional "down" day. You're entitled. You need to regroup. The trick is not having too many of them. I know this sucks, but you'll get through it, even after moments when you're not sure that you will.

From my mother: Don't get bummed because you're not motivated. Indulge yourself a little, then the guilt will propel you back into a motivated state!

So there you have it. Stifling the blues makes them stronger, ignoring them makes them longer, so just wait 'em out and then get back to work!

LESSON 9: Use the word "dazzle" before interviews. It puts your head right where it should be.

When I had an interview last week, my mother sent me an email telling me I'd dazzle them upon arrival. Talk about the perfect choice of words! It immediately put me on a stage with footlights and an adoring crowd, ready to perform my best.

It also evoked sparkling and shining -- making yourself rare and valuable, a terrific find. I can think of no better mindset to be in when you have to present yourself to prospective employers, because being unique and confident must first come from your OWN belief that you've got what it takes. And the results? Well, my guess is they'll be dazzling too.

That's it for this week. What have you learned since we last spoke?

Photo by OZinOH