A few weeks ago I was sitting with friends after my fortnightly mediation class trying to put the world to rights over breakfast.
We talk about all sorts of strange stuff at our post-meditation breakfasts. Subjects such as tarot, spirituality, life force, feminism all feature regularly.
This conversation was a little different.
Daphne is a wonderful, gentle soul in her early sixties. She's a grandmother, still working part-time a medical field and is well versed in all sorts of topics.
We got talking about work. Daphne, approaching retirement needs an income - don't we all.
"I was at this career fare for retirees and I'm looking at going into business on my own." she told me.
"See, there is the problem. I don't quite know. They were saying that to get the best out of home business you have to look to your ten greatest strengths and passions and a mix of these ten key ingredients will give you the perfect job that will make you suceed."
"Sound like a sound plan."
"I don't know why you don't go into business." she said to me.
At the time I was just finishing up in my last role - still not in a great space. I think she was egging me on to find better (which I have, but more on that later)
"I have no idea what I'd do. Starving writing in a garret writing anti-Abbott vitriole would get me nowhere."
"Have a think about it, " she continued. "Go on, write down you ten greatest strengths and abilities."
Hmph. Begrudgingly, I did this as the last of my coffee went cold. Strangely, my ten qualities and strengths came out easily.
This is what I came out with:
- Sense of humour
- Writing ability
- Down-to-earth / pragmatic
- Clear sight / tarot abilities
- Corporate savvy
- Able to see around corners / through problems
- Positive attitude
- Enthusiasm by the bucket load
"There you go. Now what am I supposed to do with this?" I asked.
"Don't ask me - but when you find something that fits with all of these, you'll have something to work with."
The epiphany came early on Monday morning as I started the hunt for work.
As I normally do when I'm between contracts, I put out my hobby job shingle. A post goes up on Facebook along the lines of "Anybody need a massage / reflexology session / tarot reading give me a yell".
This time, I modifed the message.
"Anybody need a CV overhaul?"
Within half an hour I had ten people enquire wanting some help.
It's a universal working problem. Does your Curriculum Vitae (or resume) represent you at your best? English grammar not your strong point? Don't know the industry standards? Can't be asked? How many people do you know out there hate writing? Seriousle, there are a lot of them out there.
I've been helping people with their CVs for ages. I remember when my sister was trying to get back to work after being a Stay-at-home-Mum for six years. She'd found somewhere she wanted to go but had no clue about her CV.
"What do I say about the last six years?" she asked me. "I've been at home minding kids."
"No you haven't. You've been managing the house hold finances, running a house, been involved in school committees... you've been doing lots of things. Getting a job is about selling your skills, not just going on about what you have done in the past."
I worked on my sister's CV for an hour. She sent it in. She was called for an interview the next day. In that interview she was complimented on her CV - and she got the job.
Reindert enlisted my help when he was moving back to the US. We had a session on change managing career. Where did he want to go? What did he want to do? Start visualing what he wanted.
Another friend a few weeks ago was in dither mode. We had a "holistic" career management session (this means drinking tea and having your cards read, amongst other things) and spent some time on her CV. A week later she was employed.
So it seems I have a bit of a gift helping people sort out their resumes and documents - as well as working with people to get them in the right mindsets.
When I look at it, I have a lot of experience going out and finding work. I'm also a writer with a lot of commercial and professional experience.
So the idea for the Empire was sparked.
Overhauls - like a car. Resume or CV Overhauls. I could do that. I've got a computer and a phone and the internet. What more do you need? A website. Easy - I got onto Weebly and bought a domain name.
I could offer different service levels - like you have when you take your car in for a service.
A Minor Service for those who need a tweak - all the information is there - just needs a bit of tweaking, formatting and the like.
A Major Service for when you have to have a good dig around to get more information, complete re-writes, help with applications and cover letters, writing social media content for websites like LinkedIn.
Then there would be a Complete Overhaul Service, where not only the CV is overhauled but I could work with the person on Change Managing their career. Look at what the person really wants to do, where they are going. Look at what they're afraid of? What to expect. Interview skills. Preparing to get back to the workforce. Holistic career counselling.
Pricepoints are on my time commitment. A minor service shouldn't take me much more than an hour - along with a 15-20 minute chat with the person who needs their CV fixed.
Well - a week later I've started developing my website - and I've had my first client. Who has been invoiced and he's paid.
It's something I can work on in the down times, sell my services to the odd agency who might recommend me (I spend enough time with recruitment consultants, may as well get some work off them) and get in the odd job by word of mouth.
I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing, but I know a heap of engineers who hate writing. There are very few people out there who enjoy updating their CVs. It's one of those chores nobody likes doing. Also, being a wordsmith, it's something I can do fairly quickly and easily, in industry guidelines. And I know heaps of technical bod and engineers who change jobs regularly.
The website is under construction - but you're welcome to have a look.
Call it another string to my bow.
Viva the Empire.