Job seekers must stay active, avoid panicking - 06/11/03
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Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Job seekers must stay active, avoid panicking

About 140,000 were out of work in Metro Detroit in April

Jobless rates

Michigan (seasonally adjusted)

April 2002: 6.3

April 2003: 6.6

United States (seasonally adjusted)

April 2002: 5.9

April 2003: 6.0

Detroit metropolitan statistical area (not seasonally adjusted)

April 2002: 6.0

April 2003: 6.4

Source: Michigan Office of Labor Market Information

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SOUTHFIELD -- Workers who lose their jobs need to do two things: Stay active and don't panic.

That's the advice of John Patricolo, executive vice president of Right Management Consultants Inc. in Southfield. Companies send their laid-off workers to Right Management to help them find jobs.

"Activity attracts activity," Patricolo said. "People always complain that they're sending out resumes and they're not getting anything back. You have to get out there and talk."

At least 140,000 people in Metro Detroit were out of work in April, according to Michigan Office of Labor Market Information.

Patricolo said money problems and loss of self-esteem lead to panic among the jobless, making it difficult for them to organize and clearly communicate thoughts. That, in turn, can make a person emotional and angry.

"That comes through very clearly. You have to understand that you don't have to do something right now," Patricolo said.

He suggests a person take a week to review goals and skills, then begin looking for a job and networking.

Failure to network is the most common problem for the jobless, Patricolo said.

He suggests job-seekers get an evening or weekend job if necessary to pay for the gasoline or meals necessary to network.

Friends and family are allies who may know of jobs or have connections, and conversations with them provide practice in speaking about goals -- before talking to employers, Patricolo said.

Jacki Cohen, 50, an unemployed training manager from Royal Oak, has gone through training at Right Management and other services.

Employment consultants forget how difficult it is to actually look for a job, said Cohen, who has been searching for work off and on for several years.

Friends and family might be helpful for some people, but not everyone, she said.

"If your uncle happens to be a CEO, then maybe," she said.

Cohen, though, believes in staying active. She worked part-time at a Bed Bath & Beyond store, which helped her meet people, and she does volunteer work at a professional association so she can go to meetings without paying dues.

Gary Anglebrandt is a Metro Detroit free-lance writer.

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