The premise of a new book by Chicago career coach and management training consultant Roger Wright: there is plenty of work out there, but not necessarily a lot of jobs with benefits and a steady paycheck. The book, released in Feb., is called Finding Work When There are No Jobs. Wright, 58, believes that job seekers should try to match their personal story with the needs of communities and employers. Do that and you stand the best chance of finding work, and possibly a permanent job.
Wright’s own struggles motivated him to lay out what he claims is a new way to look for work. His career, in brief: teaching special ed in Chicago high schools, then doing in-house corporate management training at companies like Walgreen’s, MCI and Gallup. After losing his job in 2008, he started a search using the standard techniques, including polishing his résumé, networking and doing interviews on the phone and in person.
But after going through the grueling application process for some 25 positions, including one that put him through 12 interviews, he still hadn’t landed a full-time job. That’s when it struck him that the usual advice didn’t apply in the recession-era job landscape. “I had the wrong goal,” he says. “I had always worked in one place and had one job. What I really needed to look for was work. If I can fill a need, I can find work.” After changing his strategy, he wound up cobbling together work for seven different clients and starting a career coaching practice that together now net him what he was making when he had a single-paycheck job.