Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
Dear Coach Joan,
Do I need to use LinkedIn for my job search?
Will it really help? Does it make a difference?
And if so, how do I go about creating an effective profile?
The answer is a resounding YES! Social media is now the preferred way for organizations to find new talent. In fact, a resounding 92% of companies use social media to find their job candidates. 87% of recruiters specifically used Linkedin to search for candidates. And 73% of people used social media to find their next new position.
If you haven’t started to use social media in your job search I strongly suggest you consider doing it. And I suggest starting with building a Linkedin Profile.
The key elements of your Linkedin Profile should include:
- A clear, nice headshot of you. The best ones have the individual dressed in business attire looking: clean, fresh, professional, warm smile, friendly and approachable. Do not include pets, other people, children, bold jewelry, too much makeup, tattoos, etc. Look professional and ready to work!
- A short and clear summary of your expertise and the kind of work you do. A couple of key results and achievements are helpful in the summary
- Full list of past employment and academic credentials. Include key results and if possible, quantify those results.
- Any special awards, publications, leadership positions, additional professional classes or certificates, etc.
- At least 2-3 recommendations that are written well and reflect the recommenders relationship to you, with positive affirmations about the quality of your work and your work style.
- A bonus is to add any articles or publications you have written. You can also add articles that reach all of your contacts. A periodic piece on your thoughts on the industry go a long way toward getting you noticed as a leader.
- Keep you profile up to date. If a recruiter finds you and your profile does not align with your current situaton, it is quite unimpressive.
- Join GROUPS on Linkedin. This way recruiters can see your interests and specialities. Recruiters look to find those who are active in their profession. Join alumni groups from the colleges you attended and alumni groups from the companies you worked in. If you can, play a leadership role in at least one of those groups or professional organizations.
- CONNECTIONS – Connect with all of your current and past colleagues, look up friends from your college days to connect with. Make sure to connect with former managers, bosses and supervisors. Try to get at least 100 connections. Below that number you do not appear to have a professional network yet established.
Yes, Will, the job search world now almost requires participation in Linkedin. It is the number #1 site that recruiters, both in-house and independent use to both identify job candidates and verify their credentials, recommendations and network.
Best of luck to you in using Linkedin as part of a robust job search campaign.
Onward in your career success!
After a six- month job search I finally landed the job of my dreams. Or so I thought. It truly is a bait and switch situation. The job is for a non-profit and I’m responsible for managing ten locations, each with its own local supervisor, supposedly. I did ask about the challenges of the job, and they said there were typical growth challenges, period. When I asked what happened to the last manager they said she moved on to a better opportunity.
The job is truly a nightmare. On my first day I attended a staff meeting where the key topic was no-shows; a third of the staff are not regularly coming to work. Morale is horrible. It is complete chaos and among the ten locations I have responsibility for only half have a supervisor in place. How do I get out of this ‘burning building?” I am now in week three.
I am so sorry to hear that you landed a lemon. Seriously, sometimes I think there should be lemon-laws applied to really bad jobs like yours; jobs that are not at all what they were cracked up to be.
But you did accept the job, even though they were not honest about the situation. How could they be? If they were, they would never have attracted you, or any candidates for that matter.
But I have seen this situation before, and the good news for you, is that it is still early on and you have a chance to get out, and get out before it is a real stain on your career:
- Document it all – I always advise clients to start their relationship with their hiring manager by saying that you believe in weekly status reports for clear two way communication. Select a day of the week you like to prepare it, often a Friday, end of the week is good. For the first one, discuss your objectives with your manager and each week write down the objectives and your work to date to achieve them. Then, have a section called Open Issues In this section, clearly enumerate the problems and be as objective as you can. You can use phrases like: ‘Surprised to see that my staff of supervisor positions are only 50% filled. Was not advised of this’. ‘Morale is down as evidenced by 30% absenteeism and has been for the last three months’.
- This kind of document will get your manager’s attention. If it doesn’t then make it clear to both the manager and HR department that the job is not what you thought it would be and you are not too comfortable.
- Start your new job search right away. Call back any recruiters and or companies that you were in contact with. Let them know you are available.
- Get a new job asap. If you can, get a new position and you may not even need to put this job ‘mistake’ on your resume if it was less than a three month period. In some cases it is even better to quit than stay and be associated with such a poorly run place.
Jerry, in my experience it is better to quit and move on rather than sully yourself and your reputation by being affiliated with an organization in tremendous disarray with little sign of improvement. Most organizations look at the first three months as a ‘getting to know you’ period, so if you leave before that time, it can typically be forgotten. Sometimes you can even get unemployment if you can prove that the job was not what it was described as.
I remind people to do their due diligence to ask around about the organization, and the management but in your case it sounds like you did. But you were not fully informed, and it wasn’t your fault. But is important to move on. Recognize it as a bad fit, like a bad girlfriend or boyfriend and look for the next, better one.
Onward to your career success and be strong,
I’ve spent the last 15 years working in a management position for a large corporation.
My position came to an end six months ago when the company moved, and I opted not to leave the area. I anticipated a short job search period, but it has turned into a much longer one. So I expanded my search to include the non-profit arena, and am now actively interviewing for a position in a local non-profit that I feel does excellent work for our community. What are the key differences between the for profit and non profit sector? I know salaries would tend to be lower, but what else?
Good question and one that a couple of my clients have encountered as well. Sometimes people go out of their way to focus on being of help in the non profit sector and they even earn degrees specifically in working for non-profits. But interestingly, sometimes non-profits look for candidates with a corporate background to inject some best practices, and style that can balance out the typical ways of non-profits.
Having worked for both for profit and non profit organizations and with clients who’ve recently gone from one side to the other, I would say that there are three main differences:
- SALARY – In general, given the same responsibilities, salaries in a non-profit tend to run 15-20 percent lower. Let’s look to the mission to find out why. For profit companies are focused on maximizing profits, and they tend to reward employees whose jobs contribute to the bottom line. They are willing to pay for competitive candidates. Non-profits have missions that are focused on helping people or being of service to a community. They are not typically well funded or if they are, they use the money to support their purpose. For instance, the Red Cross. It takes in a lot of money in donations to help people in disasters around the world. It also uses a lot of volunteer energies, as do most non profits. People who are attracted to non-profits are typically willing to forego top pay to align their talents with the mission of the organization and get some alternative ‘non monetary compensation in knowing they are making a societal contribution.
by Joan Tabb in Uncategorized
Dear Coach Joan,
I have been working as a technical recruiter for high tech companies for the last two years. I had been doing well, and actually enjoyed the work very much, but unfortunately the small recruiting consultancy I’ve been working for has closed. I need to find new employment and was recommended to find a professional organization where I can network, and hopefully find a new job. In researching online, I found a fairly local high tech recruiting professional association. There is a cost for joining, and I’m wondering how to make the most out of investing in a membership. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.
I’m glad you found a field that you enjoy; one that has good compensation potential. It sounds like you were working for a contract recruiting firm, and you now may want to consider looking into opportunities to work in-house as a recruiter at a high tech company. The advantage of being an in-house recruiter is that you will be on a steady salary, instead of having a variable income on a pay-for-placement basis.
And I applaud you in looking to join a professional association where you will have opportunities to meet face to face with people in your industry. Yes, there are many online employment listing opportunities, but there is nothing like the face to face meeting where you can connect, make a good impression, and perhaps unearth a new position, perhaps a job not yet listed. Companies are often looking for talented people and often to find them in places like professional associations which attract motivated, hardworking people who are looking to advance.
That said, how do you make the most of a professional association membership?
It starts with phone calls. I always suggest to clients that we look at the leadership of the organization. Typically, the people who play leadership roles in these groups are volunteers. They are looking to network and further their profession and careers. They often enjoy helping others in their field! I would first study the organization’s web site and if they have any interesting meetings coming up. Then, I would call (or email if phone number is not listed) a couple of the leaders and introduce yourself with my background and my desire to join the group. Offer to send my resume and Linkedin information. The most important part is to ask them how you can best volunteer and offer your services at the next event! Professional associations are always looking for volunteers. And the groups often offer you a complimentary visit to a first meeting or presentation to see if you feel the group is a good fit. If possible, put off paying the membership until after the first meeting to see if it really is a good fit for you.
When you connect with leaders of the group, ask if they will be going to the event you found. See if you can look to meet up with them there or even at a coffee or lunch before the meeting. It feels much better to go to a first meeting when you already know one or two people. You won’t feel like an outsider, especially if they ask you to volunteer for things like helping with registration or handing out speakers’ materials, or another kind of easy and visible task. These tasks, coupled with a name tag that says your name and that you are a volunteer, make you a useful part of the group and a person who has earned the right to introduce yourself around.
The other kind of preparation that I suggest you consider is reading up in your industry. Look for blogs and the thought leaders in your field of technical recruiting. See what issues and popular topics are trending. Come with things to talk about. Come prepared with questions and points of view
I always tell my clients that ‘Readiness + Opportunity = Success’
In the case of going to professional association meetings that means: dressing professionally, communicating with enthusiasm, preparing questions and opinions and being ready to share your employment situation, capabilities, and your readiness for new opportunities.
Yes, Terry, professional associations can be a great way to meet people and find new opportunities in your field. They also can be an excellent place for career training and development as well as new employment.
Onward to your career success. Let’s bring the best of you to work!
Getting to the job offer can be a very competitive process. You are often competing against other good candidates. To get the offer, you need to be the stand-out candidate. You need to be not just good or better but best! How do you separate yourself from the other candidates and be the best?
If you are responding to job listings your resume is often in a pile, or file, of many. And if you are interviewing, you are probably up against others going through the interview process as well. Here are three somewhat unusual but proven strategies that have worked:
- BRING PROPS – Yes, bring a distinctive and relevant ‘something’ to the interview. Be creative and spark the curiosity and interest of the interviewer! One client, a recent college grad in aeronautical engineering did just that. He was a very shy and introverted young man. His GPA was impressive but he had trouble showing enthusiasm and passion. When he shared with me a couple of outstanding letters of recommendation by his professors I asked how he made such a positive impression. Seems he not only earned top grades but started a model airplane club where they constructed a model plane as a group, and he was the leader! Turns out he had quite interesting stories to tell around that experience and actually had a small model of the plane. I suggested he bring that plane to his interview and once the focus was that, he naturally lit up and told his interesting stories that reflected his relevant job skills. He landed the job. Can you think of a prop that you could bring along that would both peak the interest of the interviewer and conversation about your relevant and compelling skills?
- WRITE AN ARTICLE: Lately companies and organizations want to see what job candidates can actually do and produce. A cousin of mine is currently job seeking in Silicon Valley. She told me that as part of the interview process she was asked to analyze and write about three industry articles that they sent to her. Employers want to see your thinking and how your mind works. They are less inclined to believe glowing recommendations than to see your real-time capabilities directed to their subject matter. My recommendation is for you to proactively put your thoughts and ideas on paper about an interesting topic in your field. For instance, I had a client who is finance manager and he wrote an article on what he considered the key considerations a company needs to make when doing an acquisition, and specifically from the finance and accounting perspective. He knows that several of his target companies are in the acquision mode and his experience in that area will be compelling. The article he wrote actually got him in the door for interviews with key decision-makers at two of the companies was interested. He ultimately got a job offer from one of them. Interestingly, the article he wrote was shared with the finance team and he came in to the company with some positive recognition. Nice.
- SHOW YOUR INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE: Yes, most people know to prepare some intelligent questions for an interview. They prepare questions about the job, the management style and company culture. All good. But why not go a step further and show that you are a big picture thinker; that you will be a real asset to the organization because you look at the larger environment that your prospective organization operates in. For instance, if you are applying for a job at a community non-profit, research the other local non profits and talk about them as well . Prepare some intelligent comments about your observations. Show your research and intelligence.
Yes, the job market can be very competitive. You need to do all you can to be the stand-out candidate. The above three strategies are all creative, proven and effective ways to show that you are the best candidate for the job. You don’t need to limit yourself to one of them. You can use all three if they are all relevant to your situation.
Onward to your career success as a stand-out candidate.
Let’s bring the best of you to work!!
Coach JoanRead more
I find it so interesting to see the varied management styles that bring the best out of people. Some people flourish when they have a lot of structure and direction. Others do best when they are given a broad mission and left to design a full plan of action on their own. Some people like a combination of the two. It’s vital to know your best work style. Why? You want to be able to know and recognize the environments and management style that naturally bring the best out in you. And you want to be able to ask questions about the management style for a prospective job to see if it will be a good match. Let’s look at three work styles. See where you fit:
- Defined role, objectives, tasks and tactics. Some people feel most comfortable and are most productive when everything is spelled out. They want to know exactly what their position is, what is to get done, the list of tasks that are involved, the tools provided, any assessment measurements and time schedules. They are happiest when they are fully informed about how they should complete their work, who they should be working with, and what the completed tasks look like. They want to please their manager and feel most at ease when their work is spelled out. They like to have very clear job performance expectations and want to have a manager available to answer questions. Does this sound like you?An example of this kind of worker is a woman I knew at a health club facility. She was confused and overwhelmed with her first manager who only provided broad brush directions. But when that manager left and a more structured one arrived, she was delighted to be given a full page of instructions on the details of her job. She loved knowing exactly what was expected and how to do each step. Same job, different manager, better fit!
- Clear goals but little direction. This is the other extreme. These people like and crave autonomy. They do not want a boss telling them how to get a job done. They actually enjoy creating a path to success by using their resources creatively and figuring out how to best proceed. They don’t mind it when circumstances change and new developments occur that can change things. They actually enjoy a little chaos and feel good about pivoting and changing direction. An example of this kind of worker is someone who comes in to build an entirely new program for the organization.I can think of an individual who was hired by a non profit to create new donor events. This was a brand new endeavor and she needed to come up with creative ideas, build out a plan and present it to the board. She flourished by having an environment where she could be creative and build a program from scratch with little management interference and direction. Many entrepreneurs are like this. They really like to have their autonomy. Even if they have a board to report to and be accountable to, they really work best independently and like to trust their instincts, experience and knowledge to create a win.
- A combination. Most people fall in this in-between category. They like to have some direction, especially at the start of the job, they like to have more freedom as they gain skill and confidence. They want to work closely with their boss at first, but then have more independence. People gain confidence as they get positive feedback that they are doing the job well. They prefer to check-in with their managers on just a periodic basis. An example would be a customer service rep. The manager trains them on the product and how to work with customers. At first they are asked to follow a specific script, but as they get more experienced, they are allowed to go off script and communicate more spontaneously.
It’s important to know your natural work style so that you can align it with the right environment. I often get career coaching clients who are unemployed because there was a real misalignment between their style and that of their boss. It’s sad to me when they didn’t realize that it was a bad fit and they kept trying to make a misaligned relationship work.
This kind of bad fit between the boss and employee often happens when a new manager comes in and inherits a team they did not hire and would not have hired.
The sooner you realize it’s just a bad style fit, the sooner you can begin a process to make change. You can try to make accommodations, and that might work in the short term, but if it’s a really bad style conflict, you’re probably better off moving on.
Onward in your career self-awareness and success!
Coach JoanRead more
I’ve had two clients this year who quit their jobs, feeling justified that the environment was so bad, and the boss so outrageously horrible that they just couldn’t stay for one more day. In fact, one of them was asked to work in an area with toxic materials and refused to for her health.
Another one witnessed his manager refer to African American clients using the ‘N’ word. Yes, both of these situations were outrageous, wrong and require a strong reaction. And in both cases, the individuals quit on the spot. They told the manager they could not tolerate this untenable and unreasonable work environment, and they were leaving. And in both cases they tried to apply for unemployment insurance and were denied.
And I’d like to share that when I was young, (defined as 20s-30s) I was also in an untenable situation and quit on the spot. I found out that the owner of the small multimedia production company I was working for in NYC was not paying the creative freelancers. These talented artists and writers, who did substantial amounts of work for him, would do good work in full faith of being paid at the end of the project, and he did not pay them. He moved on to an almost unlimited pool of freelance talent in the city. I did notice that it was curious that our freelancers seemed to be moving through a revolving door, but I only found out the truth of the situation when I became good friends with one of the writers. He confided in me that he was not paid and could not take the time to fight back. He needed to move forward to the next gig to make money to survive. I was shocked and incensed and felt fully justified in quitting. On the spot!
The good side of quitting when you know you are in an unethical or unhealthy or toxic environment is that you know you stood up for what was right. You put your stake in the ground that you would not tolerate these actions or behaviors. And you reinforce to yourself that you are a person of conviction, good morals and ethics. You confirm your identity as a good person who stands up for what’ is right. And that feels good. Plus, it feels good to confront that boss and let him or her know that you know his or her ways and won’t be a part of them. And you are free of the toxic environment.
The bad side of quitting on the spot is that you are the one left unemployed and often without a way to get unemployment insurance. So, in a sense you have bitten off your nose to spite your face.
And another downside of quitting is that it is more difficult to find new employment when you are out of work. Job candidates always look more attractive when they are currently employed. It’s just the way it is. It’s perception vs reality, and you are perceived as somehow weak or less in the job market when you are not working. Additionally, you will not be doing yourself any favors by telling potential employers why you left your last job. Even though you know you were justified, and it was an untenable environment, it is never perceived positively to bad-mouth a past employer.
So what should you do when you are in a horrible work situation?
First thing, if there is an HR person or department tell them what is happening. In best case scenario HR will be responsive and initiate change. If you are in a large company, perhaps you can ask to move to a new department or work for a different manager. Perhaps, once HR knows of the behavior, they will get it corrected.
OK, if you are in an organization where the HR person is perhaps complicit with the badly performing manager, you need to document this situation thoroughly to be ready when you need that justification for unemployment.
If it is a very small organization you might not have any place to go.
So what should you do?
I suggest you tell yourself that this is now a temporary situation. And again, document it all while you work really hard to find a new job.
And if you have sick days or any kind of personal time off (PTO) or vacation days coming, take time away to build up your strength and resources to get back and do your job, but focus on finding a new one. Update your resume, Linkedin profile and get working on your network to find new, permanent employment.
If that is hard, then at least look for temp work that could keep you with some income to pay your bills.
Once you have secured new work, give two weeks notice, and move on.
Or, keep documenting the problems and show they are not being addressed and have that documentation ready to justify and meet the requirements for unemployment insurance.
Looking back, I’m still glad I left my job when I found out the owner was not paying the freelancers, but I did go through a challenging period of unemployment, eating rice and beans and being fearful about my future. I ended up getting some temp work and finally a new job. But had I had this advice that my older, wiser self just offered, perhaps I would have stayed on and done a job hunt while on the job, seeing it as a temporary situation.
Onward to good work, good management, good times and good luck!
by Joan Tabb in Uncategorized
Dear Coach Joan,
I have been at the same job, in the same position, for three years. It’s gotten too comfortable,and I’m getting bored. And this year has been a wash for me, like many of us in Sonoma County.
Between complacency, perhaps laziness, and then the fire, I’ve gotten next to nothing done toward career advancement. I’d really like to get a promotion or a new job 2018, but I need some direction. Perhaps other readers will find this information helpful,too.
Hoping to be career energized in 2018.
You are not alone. Over the years I’ve heard the same sense of feeling stuck quite often. For many reasons, otherwise ambitious people often find excuses to just keep to a routine and not find ways to make changes or advance. And yes, having the trauma of the fire here in Sonoma County, it’s been a game changer for all of us. When you just can’t move forward and feel stuck it is called inertia, and it’s a common, though non-productive, phenomena in career building.
It happens often when one is employed in an OK job, one knows the routine, and there is very little pressure to make change. But if advancement is desired, it will not happen by sitting still!
So let’s get going in 2018!!!
Here are the top 3 things I suggest you resolve to do in 2018 to create career momentum:
- COMMIT TO LEARNING: The world is moving quickly. If you are an ambitious person you need to keep up. New technologies and new best practices are being discovered all the time. Read up on new developments in your field. Google to learn about the issues, trends and leaders in your industry. Read relevant blogs, new books, listen to TED talks. Get inspired by new ideas! If you’re not learning and growing you will be falling behind. Talk to your manager, your peers, a professional association in your field, and ask what’s new. If you want to get promoted, talk to your manager. Ask what additional skills and knowledge you need for the next level. Your company might offer training and development programs you can attend on company time for no fee. Look for local college classes online or in person. Perhaps learn a new language. The world is now global and by learning a new language you open all kinds of possibilities for advancement and new kinds of engagement with your world. By learning something new you will feel energized and excited. Learning opens new doors!
- CHRONICLE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS AND SKILLS: People often fail to document their achievements and new skills. It is vital to capture this information to market yourself. Continually update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Mention any quantitative results. Also, capture these achievements to share with your manager on a regular basis. Communicate that you are aspirational and working hard to have impact and show how! Ask your manager for new ways to build skills and apply them. By documenting your accomplishments you will feel energized!!
- ACTIVATE AND BUILD YOUR NETWORK: 70% of the time a new job is gotten though one’s personal and professional network! Build a database of all your contacts. Start with the contacts on your LinkedIn profile. Highlight your inner circle of closest and most meaningful career contacts. These include your managers, peers and colleagues who respect you and your work. They are your inner circle for references and it’s vital that you communicate with them regularly and share any new accomplishments or activities. They are often the ones who can notify you of new positions and opportunities. You are a known and positive resource to them. Try to meet with some of the for coffee or lunch. If they are non-local, make sure to send periodic email updates and holiday wishes. A rule of thumb is to have at least three touch points for each person in your network each year.
Yes, Haley and readers, these three actions as key career building resolutions for 2018 will take you far! Keep me posted on how you’re doing and if you have further questions. Onward to a super year of achievement and career momentum.
Send any questions to me at: firstname.lastname@example.orgRead more
There is a lot of bellyaching and complaining about the hiring process. I hear it from both job seekers and from employers. Both sides have problems with the ‘other side’.
Yet, both sides are fully justified in their complaints.
The chief compliant from job seekers is that they often feel that they are not hearing back from potential employers, especially after they apply for a job, and or have had an interview, or a series of interviews. They often feel that they encounter the big black hole. They describe this as the place where they send in their resumes, applications and cover letters and don’t hear back.And they complain that after putting in a lot of time, energy and preparation, including the stress of anticipation and hope, they feel letdown by getting no response at all.
The chief complaint from the other side of the table, the employers, is that oftentimes job seekers come ill prepared for their meetings, showing little or no effort to get to know the company, the industry or exactly what attracts them to the job. Employers complain about getting resumes with errors, cover letters with the wrong name or spelling of their organization, and even worse, in-person interviews where the candidate has not thought through how they qualify for the position or how their skills match the job description. Sometimes they complain that it seems that the candidate has not even read the job description.
Which side is right?
Both sides are correct!
From the job seekers perspective, they are entitled to get a timely response from a company after they have taken the time to respond to a job listing. And especially when they have gone through an interview process, they deserve to get a response. A timely response, not more than a week after the meeting. A yes, a now or a further explanation. One job seeker I worked with heard back from a company six months after they had applied for a position and were already in a new job. Another candidate said that the employer circled back to him two months after the interview, actually offering him the position. Two months later?
And from the employer’s perspective, they are correct in expecting a job seeker to do some work to show that they understand the company, the market and how their qualifications fit the position and will result in a positive impact on the company or organization.
Why this disconnect and disappointment?
I believe both sides are often at fault. And, I believe our employment system needs correcting.
Both sides of the table have gotten lax in their sense of responsibility to the process.
So for 2018, let’s all commit the following new NEW STANDARDS IN THE HIRING PROCESS:
On the EMPLOYER SIDE:
Once a job candidate has in good faith applied for a position, including a professional cover letter, resume and or complete job application, you will respond to them in a timely manner. You will respond with either a ‘no thank you, not a good fit’, or ‘not know but we will keep you on file’ or ‘yes, we’d like to interview you’ and they will specify a phone or in person or Skype interview and offer some specific days or time.
And, throughout the interviewing process, make it very clear when you will notify the candidate and ensure that they have your business card and or contact information so they can follow up with you in a timely manner.
On the JOB SEEKER SIDE:
Once you have decided to apply for a job you will commit to doing some research to learn more about the company or organization, the position, the market they are in and figure out how your skills meet the requirements of the job. You will also try to explain in a cover letter why you are attracted to the organization and how you believe your skills
and experience will have a positive impact. Once you have been notified of an interview, do your research and come fully prepared to your meeting/s. Make sure all of your written materials are error free, well presented and that you ask about next steps at the end of the meeting. Make sure to follow up within two days with a thank you note and a reminder of your qualifications for the position.
Yes, readers, both employers and job candidates can do better to professionalize the employment and hiring process.
We are moving into a new year, 2018. If you are a job seeker, or an employer, please try to be sensitive to the folks on the ‘other side of the table’ and do what you can to professionalize and show respect in the hiring process.
Onward to a better, more respectful, and professional hiring process for all in 2018!
I’m learning that Sonoma County has a bounty of unique and creative people with unusual career paths and a mix of great talents.
One of those is Andrea Granahan, who has been living, writing and working in Sonoma’s west county for decades. She just wrote a truly wild and wonderful book of true stories about the West County Coastal characters from towns including Bodega, Bodega Bay, Occidental and Sebastopol. Andrea has been a journalist, college instructor, travel writer, author of three books, and homesteader in the woods.
This book, Backstories from the West Edge is filled with zany characters, bizarre happenings and stories that are often funny and poignant. I read the book on the plane going to east coast and home. My husband kept asking me what was going on, as I couldn’t keep from laughing aloud, then sharing some of the more incredible stories.
This is a great holiday read; and certainly an antidote to the seriousness and pain of the fire and its aftermath. It’s also a great book for visitors and folks from other areas to get a taste of our west county history. I plan on purchasing several for friends and family from all over to enjoy.
Andrea Granahan has served as a journalist on California’s north coast for four decades. She describes the rural area she worked in as “QuirkUtopia” because of the varied and interesting people (and animals) she has met there. She revisits the roots of some of the more controversial and exciting events she covered as a reporter. From going to war with the US Navy over submarines killing fishermen, to Mario Savio demanding she censor her journalism students, Granahan’s career saw a lot of action.
Some of her tales will make you laugh, others bring you to tears, or stir your sense of justice. This book reveals a unique corner of the world and shows small town journalism at work proving the pen is still mighty.
You can purchase Backstories from the West Edge, by Andrea Granahan at Copperfield’s in Sebastopol, Hand Goods in Occidental, The Sebastopol Center for the Arts Gift Shop, Barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com. Granahan has won awards for her reporting and feature writing from the California Newspaper Publishers Assn. and the National Newspaper Publishers Assn. She is the only reporter to hold three Lincoln Steffens awards for investigative reporting. She was the founding publisher of the Bodega Bay Navigator, a weekly newspaper. Her work covering the fishing industry has been described as unparalleled. She is currently at work on another book and continues to be a travel journalist.
Disclosure: Andrea is in a book club with me. I am a founding member of the Sonoma County Wednesday Noon Book Club. We read all genres, and especially enjoy reading local authors whom we often invite to meet with us. One of those local writers is Andrea, by way of another one of her book’s It’s all Greek to Me. It’s about Andrea and her family’s experiences living for a full year in rural Greece. We all loved the stories and were so happy when she came to our meeting, armed with relics and even more stories, even poems. We had such a fantastic time with Andrea; her intelligence, humor and enthusiasm, that we invited her to join our club. She agreed. That was three years ago, and the rest is history!
Onward in enjoying some great backstories from the West County from Andrea Granahan.
And, if you know someone in our community with another interesting career story, kindly send me an email for consideration for this blog. Thank you.