In Search of a New Job? Positivity Goes a Long Way!

When you’re engaged in a job search, it’s important to focus on yourself physically, mentally and emotionally to help maintain self-confidence and self-esteem. When things don’t always go your way or in the time frame you’ve set for yourself, it is easy to slip into negative thoughts. Here are some tips to help you maintain your positivity during your job search:

  • Don’t Do it Alone
    Seek out local organizations and groups specifically designed for job search networking and support. Even if you can’t find an actual group in your area, identify a “job search partner” with whom you can create an accountability and support system.
  • Volunteer
    Research has shown that doing volunteer work has a positive impact on health, self-esteem and general well being. If you are a volunteer or have been involved in your community, consider finding new areas of interest for volunteering or perhaps take on a bigger role. Interaction with people in different environments can help reinforce the diversity of your skills and increase your self-confidence.
  • Keep Things In Perspective
    Remember that being qualified for a job is only one variable in a job search. There are always other candidates, organizational politics and even timing that factor in and can greatly influence a hiring decision.
  • Practice Self Care
    It has been proven over and over that eating well along with regular exercise help to maintain energy levels, positive self-image, and physical health, while having the added benefit of staving off symptoms of depression and anxiety. Maintaining a positive self-image is critical during a job search. Create the conditions to put your best foot forward every time you meet with a prospective employer or make a networking contact.
  • Practice Gratitude
    Keep a gratitude notebook. Taking five minutes out of each day to write in a journal about the things you are grateful for can go a very long way in shifting attention away from negative thoughts and help you focus on the more positive aspects of your life. This can help you experience a greater sense of wellbeing and joy.
  • Acknowledge Yourself
    Often we define ourselves only by what we do for money. But everyone is more than just an employee – you may be a terrific parent, dedicated volunteer or loyal friend. Spend time with people who remind you that you are valued. Their positive feedback will reflect your value as an individual, not just as an employee who is currently between jobs.
  • Practice Positive Self-Talk
    It’s easy to journey into negative thinking patterns when your job search doesn’t go as planned. Become aware of these patterns so that you can avoid dwelling in a sea of self-pity. Now is a perfect time to shift your pattern and begin practicing “positive self-talk.” Acknowledge your accomplishments, your resiliency, and your commitment to finding the path forward.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store

A truly successful event involves expert planning and coordination. The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section exemplifies this process with the annual Back 2 School Store (B2SS), celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Every summer, NCJW/Essex creates a ‘pop up” one-day store that outfits economically disadvantaged children in Essex County with brand new clothing, school supplies and personal care items to start school on a positive note. A look behind the scenes explains why this event is so successful.

 

Each year the B2SS is chaired by three capable and detail-oriented volunteers who oversee the massive undertaking, enabling hundreds of children to attend the store. This year’s co-chairs, Karen Cherins of West Orange, and Stacey Laken and Andrea Mintz, both of Livingston, have been holding monthly planning meetings since Fall 2017. They oversee 30 active volunteers who work on more than 10 subcommittees year-round including clothing, school supplies, child recruitment and site management. “We already have over 1,000 backpacks in storage for this summer’s event,” said Andrea Mintz, who explained that as of March, 2018, all the clothing, including coats, packages of socks and underwear, school supplies and personal care items, have already been purchased.

Purchasing for the B2SS is accomplished through a combination of grants and generous donations from members, supporters and foundations. Volunteers purchase new, popular brands of sneakers, coats, clothes and backpacks in a variety of styles and colors, either online or at in-store sales. To understand the scale of this effort, Karen Cherins explained, “We will purchase 1,100 sneakers for 800 children so that each child has a choice, whether they enter at 9:00 am or 3:00 pm. Our local storage facility is currently overflowing with new merchandise and supplies as we prepare for this summer’s event.” This year, thanks to a generous donation from a longtime NCJW/Essex member, each child will receive two books, one fiction and one non-fiction, from Scholastic. Spanish language books will also be available for bilingual children.

Throughout the year, a Child Recruitment subcommittee works in partnership with 35 local social service agencies to carefully select children who will participate in the B2SS. Forms are prepared for each child indicating their age and sizing for clothing and sneakers. This year’s goal is to prepare 800 children (K-5) to start the school year with confidence, style and a smile.

The growth of the B2SS has necessitated the biggest change to occur in 10 years – a move to a new location, the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston, NJ, which will afford access to the gym, library, multipurpose and computer rooms, cafeteria, and classroom storage. The extra space will present new logistical challenges but the volunteers are up to the task, making sure that every aspect of the event runs smoothly.

As each child enters the B2SS, they will be registered and matched with a volunteer to help them select the items they want. “It’s all about the child making his or her own choices,” explains Cherins. “Part of the success of the B2SS is to empower children. If a little girl wants a purple coat, a pink hat and blue gloves, she can choose them.” While the children shop, parents and caregivers are able to visit the Gaelen Family Resource Center which offers health screenings and other community services.

When the B2SS opens its doors this summer, it will be the culmination of the year-long behind-the-scenes effort of planning, buying and coordinating which is necessary to ensure its success. “This is such a rewarding experience for our volunteers, especially when they see the children’s smiling faces,” said co-chair Stacey Laken. “The Back 2 School Store gives children a great start to the school year and a little boost to their self-esteem in the process.”

This year the NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store is seeking 500 volunteers to make it a success. Bilingual volunteers are encouraged. All registration is online. To register, please visit www.ncjwessex.org and click on Back 2 School Store.

New Year – New Volunteer!

volunteerIt’s 2018 and time to take stock. What did you resolve to do differently this year? Exercise more? Learn a new skill or hobby? Eat less sugar?  Maybe you will join a gym, sign up for a class or buy a new diet book.

But maybe your resolutions are different this year.  Perhaps you’re considering how to make your time count and be purposeful in your life. Or, maybe you’re taking stock of the time you spend with others. If so, consider volunteering as a way to help keep your resolutions. As a volunteer, you can discover new avenues to meet people and focus the coming year on things you care about.

Whether its hours, days or weeks that you volunteer, you start to feel the impact of the time you spend helping others.  At NCJW/Essex you might help a client select an interview outfit at the Career Closet, cook meals for families in need, collect feminine hygiene products for economically disadvantaged women or be present on the other end of the phone when a woman calls because she doesn’t know where to turn. When you help a woman in transition you feel the value of your time.

Volunteering is engaging and helps you meet interesting, community-minded people. Everyone gets involved for different reasons: to attend a rally about gun safety, to teach teens about dating abuse or to lead a self-esteem workshop to help women change the way they feel about themselves… and the list goes on. At NCJW/Essex, volunteers include a rich diversity of people who share a like-minded goal – to make an impact on their communities.

Volunteering is a resolution that you can keep in 2018! It’s a resolution that will open your eyes and your hearts to people who value your time. It’s a resolution that will introduce you to new friends to involve in your life. If you want to explore volunteer opportunities with NCJW/Essex, please contact me at dstambler@ncjwessex.org. Even if it’s on a small scale, it can make an extraordinary difference in a single life.