By Lisa Parker

Living in Michigan, the state hardest hit by the recession  in terms of unemployment, encountering job seekers in scary situations is a daily experience. Many feel like unwitting participants in a horror show. Their normal days of going to work, paying their bills and taking care of their families’ needs were rudely interrupted by a faceless monster’s sudden arrival. The monster is the current economy. Of course, his arrival wasn’t as sudden as many feel. That’s a discussion for another day though.

So this monster swoops in, decimating companies, killing jobs and sending a shaken public running for some sort of security. We’ve seen this scene play out countless times for our entertainment in movies. A group of people are running for their lives. One by one, friends are plucked off. Buildings collapse and burn around them. Those with some life in them continue to run and hide, shaking in corners while wondering if they’ll be the next ones to lose it all. Eventually more of the fearful succomb to the monster.

Then something interesting happens. Survival mode kicks in for the remaining few. Reality reigns supreme. Running from the monster doesn’t work. You’ve got to go after him. You can see it in the eyes of the actors when they’ve made that transformation. In those eyes is a mixture of clarity, smarts and determination. They are also pissed off, sorry to be crass, enough to decide it’s worth the risk of failure to take on this beast. I hate horror shows in general, but I love to watch the average person turn into a force greater than his adversary.

Like the star of the horror movie, job seekers can become more powerful than the obstacles they face. They can stand up tall and fight for their future. The survivors in the horror movies I’ve seen have saved themselves. There wasn’t an action hero that came to their rescue. They took risks. They paid enough attention to the monster to know his patterns and weaknesses so they could form a plan. They allowed their anger of the monster’s actions to inspire positive action. The emerged from hiding and took steps to change their fate. It certainly beat shivering in a corner and waiting for the worst.

I challenge all who feel they are in the middle of a nightmare to become the star of your horror show.


Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.

With 15+ years’ experience in third party recruiting, Lisa offers a balanced understanding of both employee and employer perspectives.

Lisa is a firm advocate of the networking process and considers it a vital element in a successful job search. In addition to helping job seekers develop and best utilize networking contacts, Lisa shares her knowledge and insight-gained aiding corporate recruiting efforts-to give Spartan job seekers an edge in terms of lead sourcing, resume presentation and interview strategy.

Among Lisa’s notable accomplishments: Prima Civitas Foundation Scholar; Michigan Works Association Volunteer of the Year; Pink Slip Mid Michigan Planning Committee; career content blogger.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Michigan State University.


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