The Storyteller’s Irony: A Career Transition Journey

I got a letter from the State of California a couple of weeks ago. At first, I was worried that it was some new business tax I was gonna hafta pay. It was not. My heart dropped, nonetheless. The letter was notice that it’s coming up on time to renew my registration as an Associate Clinical Social Worker. I forgot that was coming due. I thought I was moving along quite nicely with my decision to leave social work but getting that renewal notice let me know my emotions are still a bit wrapped up in the career I spent years working to build. This whole career transition thing is hard.

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope crying

In the end, I’m a communicator, and I always have been (even if I don’t care about updating my blog on a regular basis). Before I started graduate school, I was working to help young people explore possibilities for creating their own life stories beyond high school. Even in my work as a volunteer& community outreach coordinator, I focused on sharing the stories of the young people I was advocating for.Every iteration of my PhD plans has always been about getting young people’s stories of homelessness out in front of the folks who can do something about the problem. I even learned documentary production to incorporate into my dissertation (that got shut down). I could go on but when it boils down to it, I just want to help people tell their stories. (ICYMI, I discussed why I’m making the transition away from clinical work in my last post.)

How ironic, then, that the hardest part of my career transition has
been figuring out how to tell my own career transition story?

My resume is almost 100% ready to go, but the cover letter… There’s a whole rant in there somewhere about the fussing that goes into preparing job search materials. A running joke amongst friends is how applying for most jobs often feels a lot harder than actually doing the job once you get it. Something else of interest: this conversation about the relevance of cover letters that’s happening on LinkedIn. As much as cover letters frustrate me everyone, I agree that it’s a great opportunity for candidates who need to do a li’l s’plainin’ about how their work history translate to the jobs they’re applying for. But knowing how much effort goes into writing a good letter, compared to knowing that many most(?) hiring managers don’t read them makes it that much more frustrating.

It’s okay, though. Fortunately, I’ve got some help from an associate in the field and we’re getting update 10/30: we got all my materials together and I’ve got some website improvement tips awaiting my action (stay tuned!) Thankfully, my coach is very sweet and patient with me, lol. Check out my updated LinkedIn page and résumé.

Have you worked with an advisor or career coach as part of a career transition? How did that work out for you? Tell me about it in the comments!


via GIPHY

Reinventing AMJ… #ReignyDayJobs #careerchanger #jobsearch

ICYMI, I’m making a major career shift.

While much of this is due to the difficulties I’ve faced finding a job as a disabled clinical social worker, the rest of it is for several other, personal reasons. I still love social work and I am very much planning to put all these years of education and experience to good use. But now I want to shift focus. This may mean macro social work, it may mean leaving social work altogether. You can take the social worker out of the field but once a social worker, always a social worker! Best believe I will find ways to apply what I know to this next step in life.

So what next? Well, that’s a great question! I’m still enrolled in my PhD program but before I started that, I engaged in a quite bit of social media for play and for pay. Heck, I first learned HTML on BlackPlanet dot com in 1999 (back when your skill level was determined by whether you could assault page visitors with autoplay music, blinding background patterns, and text that blinked AND scrolled #AtTheSameDamnTime). Sure, I was “late” to Twitter, having joined in May 2009, but I still ended up running multiple accounts pretty soon afterward and eventually even created a social media plan for a DC nonprofit.

I left my professional social media work behind when graduate school intensified but even throughout grad school, I’ve always seemed to incorporate social media into whatever I do. I love this stuff and I look forward to jumping back in.

How am I making this shift?

To Dare! To Imagine! To Do It!

Mama J put these stones in a gorgeous succulent arrangement she made for me!

1) I’ve been (re)wetting my feet in professional social media as a Temporary Content Moderator for Flipagram the past few months.

2) I’m working towards becoming an AMA Professional Certified Marketer in Digital Marketing through Lynda.com. (Yay for free access via school!)

3) I hopped back on Facebook last year to re-establish a firm presence before launching my dissertation research. I’m now also running my own group for tarot readers of color!

4) I am also exploring graphic design through a Shaw Academy trial. Ideally, I would like to officially complete their introductory and advanced tracks. (I’m poking around at the Coursera specialization, too, for comparison. Opinions welcome!)

5) Networking, networking, networking! I’m in a number of Facebook groups to support my growth and my LinkedIn is updated. But there’s always room for more, so please do feel free to reach out.

6) Job hunting! I’m looking for a position that will allow me to put my existing skills to work, while also sharpening my new ones.

I would love to have some (more) support in reaching my goal (namely a job or paid internship, a Shaw Academy membership, and the Adobe Creative Suite), so if you have leads or are otherwise interested in helping, please contact me!

I also want to be able to support justice & movement work with my skills, which is where I began my pursuit of justice in the first place. I’ve got training and experience in community organizing, so I’m interested in supporting folks who are fighting to dismantle oppressive systems. My clinical training provides me a much-needed perspective on how to reach and work with marginalized folks that most macro social workers don’t have. I can’t be out in the streets like I used to but I’m ready to do more than signal boosting. (By the way, I firmly believe that signal boosting is an important contribution.)

In the meantime, check out what I’ve already done.

Birthdays Are Hard #WonderTwin36th

Today I turned 36. At 9:51am Eastern, to be exact. I couldn’t wind down last night so I was up until 5:30am. I awoke around 9am to watch a webinar, then went back to sleep until Dilla woke me up around 2pm. I remembered I needed to get to the post office, so I brushed my teeth, then threw on a maxi dress, my birthday tiara, & some hoops. I let Dilla do his dooty (*giggles* dooty), then we rushed to the post office.

We took our time heading back home. I stopped to take pics of a house I saw for sale (a girl can dream, can’t she? And Dilla liked it enough to poop in the yard.). I also stopped for tacos. Because I at least deserve tacos on my birthday. Everybody deserves tacos on their birthday.

Last night, I was pining over how my circumstances continue to be ungood:

A fb friend asked me to share a few things I need. Then someone else asked. And then another… And then… So I decided to make this post. Thank you in advance to anyone who feels like supporting, in whatever way that works for you.

  • The biggest thing I need right now is rent money. I’ve been SUPER fortunate to have a very accommodating temporary job for the past few months. It has allowed me to supplement my Spring Quarter student loans while also tending to the bajillion medical appointments I needed to have done. But the gig is ending next month. I’m working on pulling some other things together (more job apps; starting writing services: editing, coaching, & transcription) but I also have to finish and submit an academic paper, as well as wrap up one more class that’s been incomplete since I got injured.
    • I have Square Cash & PayPal. If you bank with USAA, you can transfer funds using my email: amj (at) amandamichellejones (dot) com. That’s also the same email for Square Cash & PayPal.
  • In addition to rent, I could use some support paying for training for my career change.
  • Some folks asked for my Amazon wish list. I have several:
  •  I also started an organization called Brown Girl Tarot. It has a 3-fold mission:
    • Provide tarot reading services (yes, you can order a reading from me)
    • Build community for tarot readers of color
    • Maintain a library of tarot decks including, but especially featuring and/or created by, people of color
      • Brown Girl Tarot also has wish lists on Amazon and ebay. (Note: there is some overlap.)
      • If you would like to contribute a deck via other means, the mailing address is:
        265 S Western Ave, Unit #74005, Los Angeles, CA 90004
        Please give me a heads up at bgt (at) amandamichellejones (dot) com so that I’ll know to go check the box.
    • I currently spend about 10-15 hours/week working on deck research, Facebook group management, & other administrative details. If you would like to support this work, you can send funds via Square Cash or PayPal. I’m still thinking through Patreon rewards that won’t be too burdensome.
  • I also need a wheelchair van, so if you’ve got an extra $40-$60K lying around, hit me up!

In more uplifting news, I bought a Groupon for a massage months ago, so I’m gonna get some knots worked out tonight. Woohoo!

AMJ Is Hustling for Rent (and Other Bills)

UPDATE: I have enough for rent now! THANK YOU to everyone who signal boosted and/or provided support. I’ llbe able to negotiate pay dates for my utilities based on income from my temp gig, so whew! Also: I forgot to include in the original: I’m also signing up for Upwork, a freelancing site recommended to me by a classmate. #EveryDayImHustlin

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It’s been a while since I last posted. And yes, I’m still looking for full-time employment. In the meantime, I’ve been surviving off student loans, which cover about ⅔ of my rent, a very part-time work-study job, & driving for Lyft & Uber* off & on. Last quarter I was able to get an emergency loan from school since so many things had deteriorated all at once (the move went haywire + my wheelchair lift broke shortly thereafter, my service dog got sick…) But now, it’s the end of another quarter and I still don’t have a job, so I’m about $800 short on March rent at this moment. I also need to pay utilities. Rent is late after the 2nd, which means a $50 late fee. Eviction papers are filed on the 6th, which means extensive court fees + a record. Yes, I’ve been hustling (see below) but for those who want to know how to help

Hire me for:

  • Paper grading
  • Proofreading
  • Remote administrative tasks (e.g., online research, email drafting, report writing, etc.)
  • Transcription
  • Social media posting
  • Tarot readings (reopening shortly after I publish this post)
  • Take a look at my portfolio & pitch me another idea

Donate directly (also ways to submit payment for hiring me):

I’ll say THANK YOU IN ADVANCE here, for those who don’t want to read on. I did have a great job interview a couple of weeks ago *and* I’m still waiting to hear back from one other position that I know legally has to respond to me, so I’m hoping expecting this is the last time I have to worry about scrambling for rent. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or leads: amj @ amandamichellejones . com.

And because I know enquiring minds want to know…

Things I’m about to do:

  • Reopen readings with Brown Girl Tarot
    • NOTE: if you’re sitting on a gift certificate, I cannot access that money until you request your reading. *cough*
  • Become a temporary (4-6 weeks) content moderator for a social media platform
    • This will not pay in time to cover my rent
  • Potentially attempt to launch a Shopify site for drop-shipping
    • It takes time to make money via this avenue. It also takes money but I did a webinar that gets me 30 days free. I don’t have ad money, though.
  • Reach out to local social service agencies. Most of them require eviction proceedings to already be in place, though.

Things I’m currently doing:

  • My work-study job – max 10 hours/week (my hours up through 2/25 will pay out in time for rent)
  • Rideshare driving – despite what They™ advertised to the world, this is really isn’t a feasible way to make a living. I average about $10/hour, during surges & *before* factoring in gas. (Extreme weather does boost this, yes.)
    • I figured out months ago that this work is EXTREMELY draining for me, physically & spiritually. I can do about 4 hours -with breaks- before I start hurting. As I learned more recently, this is because I’m an empath (or as my future godbrother put it, “a sponge”). So I wear protective crystals while driving. They’ve all broken (they’re working hard!), though, so they’re not so effective any more. I’m also working on other methods of self-care, although I did let this happen… because income.
      Things I do for rent: drive strangers around even though "I've had a headache all night but now it's one of those that concentrates right over the left eyebrow. I gotta chill for tonight."

      • As a note: Yes, I *am* a social worker. But that actually energizes me, even though it takes a lot out of me. I’m also not continually schlepping random strangers to & fro in my personal vehicle as a social worker. Even when social work does involve transport It’s quite different from ridesharing.
      • *No, I did not #DeleteUber. I wanted to. But I need rent money & I ultimately decided that being able to survive is the best way that I can protest at this point.
    • Teaching for VIPKID – $9/class & I have no control over who signs up. I currently get 1-3 students/week & I’ve made $72 with them so far. My next payday is March 16th.

Things I’ve already done:

  • Applied for retail jobs (either I can’t physically do them or I didn’t receive a callback).
  • Expanded my job search.
  • Multiple interviews, several of which seemed promising until ableism reared its ugly head (or I just didn’t hear back).
    • I did just get two rejections last week, as well.
  • Postponed a very hard-to-get medical procedure so that I can spend the day earning money.
  • Passed the California Law & Ethics Exam so that I could remain eligible for jobs in my field.

I PASSED! Now my ASW renewal can finally go through & I can start working toward licensure… #amjneedsajob

A post shared by Amanda Michelle Jones (@amandamichellejones) on

 

AMJ’s Job Search Cover Letter #ReignyDayJobs #socialwork #jobchat

Greetings, Prospective Employer!

My name is Amanda Michelle Jones and I am currently seeking a full-time clinical social work position in Los Angeles, CA as I pursue licensure as a clinical social worker (LCSW). I am a registered Associate Clinical Social Worker (#70072) who focuses on addressing both individual and environmental/systemic factors that create the contexts in which consumers live. With over a decade of experience working with young people and communities, I know that I will be a valuable asset to a team working with transition-age youth (ages 16-24), particularly those experiencing or at risk for homelessness.

As you will see in my portfolio, my experience spans a range of roles, mostly focused on youth development and community building with nonprofit organizations. Some of my career highlights include:

  • Assisting with the development, administration, analysis, and write-up of the first survey of youth homelessness in Washington, DC;
  • Conducting a needs assessment for the volunteer program at a youth homelessness agency in Washington, DC;
  • Developing an aftercare program for LGBTQ youth transitioning out of host homes in Chicago, IL; and
  • Helping a young man learn to deal with dissociative episodes through drawing. (This young person ultimately went on to art school in Chicago!)

My goal is to continue on this path, and I am especially interested in opportunities to collaborate with youth on arts-based activities that promote healing and development for themselves and their communities. As a member of your team, I will bring a trauma-informed approach that prioritizes working with youth to identify their strengths, areas for improvement, and ways to navigate barriers.

In addition to my practice with individuals, I also have education and experience in project and program management, strategic planning, and community organizing. I am also trained as a Peer Leader through SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services Leadership Institute. I am eager to apply my training and experience to help young people achieve independence, leverage resources, and effect change in their communities.

Thank you for your consideration; I also invite you to view my curriculum vitae or resume for more information. I look forward to speaking with you soon to learn more about your organization and to discuss my skills and experiences in an interview.

Sincerely,

sig

 

 

 

 

Amanda Michelle Jones, ASW (#70072)