Meet the 'It' Factor Career Club!

Wow! These Chesapeake jobseekers are going full steam ahead.

Oct. 29, 2008— -- Club Name: The "IT" Factor Career Club of Chesapeake, Va.

Club Members: Laurie Baggett, Michelle Pippin, Rachael Judy, Justin Bartlett, Marvina Price, Michelle Forbes, Patricia Carawan, Denise Geissinger, Rachyl Johnson, Joyce Bruni-Jared, Kitty Penny, Stacey Corprew

Club Leader: Laurie Baggett

Where They Meet: Bean There Café, Chesapeake, Va.

Laurie Baggett Tells the Story: Our event was held Tuesday night at Bean There Cafe. We had a group of 11 people. We discussed the purpose of the group, the expectations of each member and the ground rules. We set in place a plan of action for the next six weeks.

It went so well!! Everyone is absolutely thrilled. Those that were not so candid in the group setting sent me e-mails expressing their fears and hopes for our group.

We will be meeting weekly at a local coffee shop. We had a diverse group of people. We had the stay-at-home mom looking for freelance work to cover increasing expenses of formula, electricity and gas. We had two women facing early retirement because of a soon-to-be layoff of their position, yet not wanting to retire for at least five more years. We had an insurance agent working from home and not being able to make ends meet because of the struggling economy. We had a new mother who just experienced a company-wide layoff and the birth of her new child. She is wanting to pursue something other than a 9-to-5 because of the increasing costs of child care and commuting. We had two ladies who lost their jobs over three months ago and are still unable to find work. We had a mom who is going through a divorce and facing employment on a full-time basis. She is a CPA and would like to go out on her own.

We discussed everyone's expectations of the group and their reason for attending. Everyone expects help navigating the job market and some honest encouragement. Most said they needed the accountability, ideas for ways to escape the cube, job marketing plan, resume help, expert advise, networking and relationships with other people going through the same thing -- knowing they are not in this alone.

Over half of our participants were extremely interested in entrepreneurial pursuits. We discussed what would be required of them over the next six weeks and set some ground rules.

Our Rules: Honesty, confidentiality, no more than 30-second complaining sessions, action (they must come prepared for each meeting), active engagement in the group (help each other out), and commitment for six weeks.

Everyone left with specific homework: Get their resume together, print off three job descriptions (regardless of location) that they would like to apply for, read an industry-relevant newsletter or magazine (trade magazine) specific to their industry (print or bring with them), and write down a list of their dreams or create a career wish list.

Michelle Pippin, CEO of WomenWhoWOW!, talked with the group about taking joyful ownership of their job search rather than viewing themselves as a victim. This was a powerful distinction for the group embrace at the first meeting of our career club. Everyone seemed very empowered by Michelle's positive outlook.

The group members offered so much just in the first night. They were building each other up and complimenting one another. They were actively engaged with one another and offering specific contacts. They were dreaming and getting really excited about the group. All are committed! We have an incredible line-up of experts to offer their advice on navigating the job market.

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