Job Club Can Offer Members Group Support, Career Boost

Article excerpt

Dear Joyce: I've heard about job clubs and may be interested in joining one if it meets in the right location and if other members are in my general area of interest, which is engineering. What can you recommend? - P.J.

I recommend you find a facilitator with a background in career development and start a job club cut to your pattern. Although statistics say people are staying home more and volunteering less, the changing roles of people and organizations in the world of work suggest a need larger than ever for the support mechanisms offered by job clubs where you meet people face to face and interact.

Job clubs can be created to appeal to any group, from displaced plant workers to older professional workers whose lives were butchered by corporate downsizing.

Many job club candidates are people with college degrees, who have held well-paying middle management positions and are in their 40s and 50s, says Dr. Al A. Hafer, editor of the National Professional Career Counseling Network newsletter in Greenvillle, S.C. (864) 370-9453.

"The chilling slogan is `If you are over the age of 50 and are making over $50,000, watch out.' Frequently the individual's job is slightly redefined and he or she is replaced by someone who is much younger, and at half the salary," says Dr. Hafer.

Hafer himself facilitates a weekly free job support club for job seekers.

"Originally the club was limited to teaching skills to assist the members in obtaining a new job. Our mission has now been broadened to include networking and emotional and spiritual support," he explains.

Dr. Hafer quizzed 32 members of his club, the Job Seeker's Fellowship, to determine exactly how they hoped to benefit from their club membership. …