Success Stories

David, age 50
Former CFO of his family-owned business and father of four

What do you do when you’ve been in a job for 20 years and the stability you thought you had disappears?

This is the situation that David (not his real name), CFO and manager of his Tampa-based family-owned business, had to face. When the company was unable to bounce back after a devastating fire and a dramatic decline in the construction industry, he was forced to file for bankruptcy.

“I felt like a failure,” said David. “My anxiety level was high, I had bills to pay and a family to support. I had all kinds of awful feelings. I was not prepared to not have a job”.

David decided to forge a new path and return to school. Facing the reality of being the “mature” student, he often considered himself an outsider. David wondered what the job market would look like for him upon graduation. The glaring truth was that David was up against graduating students who were 20 years younger. “I didn’t know how I could compete with them,” said David. “But I knew if I could get past the interview I would excel.”

However, David admitted he felt unprepared to interview and was concerned that he couldn’t sell himself. David found hope when he learned about the career transition services offered by TampaBay-Job-Links.

David worked one-on-one with a TBJL career strategist to create a powerful resumé and to hone his interviewing and networking skills. David received ongoing guidance, encouragement, and support. Finally, his big break came. He was offered a full-time position as a network engineer with a large tech company.

“It felt great when I landed the job,” said David. “There was so much that TBJL had provided for me. When I started to doubt myself, they helped to relieve my anxiety and build my confidence. Ultimately, it was a good experience for my children to see us struggle. There are lessons in that. My tragedy turned into a positive, and they learned that difficulties are a part of life, and we are better for it.”

Carrie, age 37
Former real estate agent, office manager, and mother of two

Carrie (not her real name), was a Tampa realtor who was out of work for nine months. She was under great financial stress and was anxious about her future. She wondered if she would remain stagnant forever. Carrie felt discouraged and caught in the endless process of filling out and submitting hundreds of online applications. “I felt very unsure of myself. The longer the job search goes on, the more you start to question yourself, your skills and your abilities,” Carrie explained. “I didn’t have much support at all. The support I had was at TampaBay-Job-Links. Being able to come in and participate in workshops and work with Robyn, my career strategist, to improve my resumé were the most helpful things I could do for myself. Before even getting the job, I felt proactive. I felt like I was getting the know-how to improve my odds,” said Carrie.

After actively working with the career strategist for two months, Carrie received a job lead through TBJL. Carrie was introduced to the hiring manager and received a job offer after only one interview. “It was like I special-ordered this job right out of a catalog. It was a huge relief. Having the support of TBJL as priceless. I’m pretty sure had I not had the support of TBJL, I would still be at home applying for jobs online.”

Carol, age 55
Former journalist

Carol (not her real name), felt fortunate that she had a career doing something she really loved. But in 2008, her company, like many others, went through a massive lay-off. There was a meltdown across her entire industry with no sign of recovery. For the first time, Carol was out of work. “I was stunned and scared,” said Carol, “completely paralyzed. I felt isolated from the world even though I had a lot of contacts. Unemployment for me was a stigma from the perspective of the boomer generation. It violated my principles.”

For five years Carol worked for herself, trying to make ends meet. She hated the isolation, but she didn’t know how to go about finding an alternative career. “I became a hermit, neglecting my health, my appearance, and my finances,” said Carol. “I didn’t buy clothes or wear makeup. I stopped exercising and seeing friends. My future was so uncertain, I gave in to my depression.”

Carol applied for multiple jobs on-line. Some part-time jobs were paying less than $10.00 an hour and required a college degree. “It was very discouraging,” said Carol. “I lost my self-respect and felt hopeless about my future. I thought I might need two full-time jobs to get by.”

While searching online, Carol found TampBay-Job-Links. “I was floundering on my own – I knew I needed help to find a job,” Carol explained. “TBJL paired me with a coach, and it was exactly what I needed to move ahead. Having someone enthusiastic and knowledgeable to guide me made a huge difference! I learned so much in the process. TBJL’s concise individual services and small group sessions, and the quality of the career coaches are what set TBJL apart from other organizations.”

Carol is now working. “There is life now!” exclaims Carol, “I have a floor under my feet again – my new job has brought me back to life! I can now devote time to the next steps in my life and look beyond the basics. I am so grateful to TampaBay-Job-Links and all they have done for me.”

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