What does the closure of 68 Chicago area Dominick's Grocery stores and the massive lay-off of 5,000 people mean to you?
Then try this:
Stand at your own front door. Now look around and take a guess. How far would you need to walk to knock on the front door of your 5,000 closest neighbors? 50 yards? A block? Half a mile? If you drew a circle around the area, how big would it be?
Picture what life would be like in that circle when not one single person had a job. All the busy work projects. Cleaning basements. Painting rooms just in case the house had to be sold. Sleeplessness, boredom, depression, absolute bafflement at the crazy new way people went about getting jobs now when everything was on line. How you got rejected without even meeting a person. Or more likely, how you never heard back.
Not your neighborhood? Or does that circle of unemployment you just drew become really easy to imagine?
If you grew up in Chicago, you had some sort of connection to Dominicks. If only to say, "Nah . . . I shop at 'The Jewels.' Not Dominicks." Maybe, you have family or friends who work at Dominicks. Maybe Dominicks is an anchor in the neighborhood you call home. Perhaps there is personal history. Not the kind you read in books. But the kind you live. That favorite dinner you remember growing up. In our house, it was steak on Friday night. Only later did I learn it was pot roast that my Mom called "steak." I didn't know steak from pot roast. All I knew is that it came from Dominicks and I liked it!
Dig just below the surface of a person's connection to their food store and simple common sense tells you that there is something almost primal here. Because this is where the FOOD comes from! Forget farms and gardens and cattle herds. If you live in a city, This is where the food comes from!
Still, what can you do? You're worried about your own job. You can't help. Right?
Wrong. You can help.
Because in this time when jobs are so scare, no one wants to give a job to a stranger. Jobs go to those who are part of a community. And perhaps you share a community with one of those 5,000. In fact, you might share a community and not even know it.
And leveraging community is a fundamental principle in how people find work when there are no jobs.
Job search is no longer a rational, logical, step-by-step process where you can press a button and a job pops out. Now, the role of the greater community is more important than ever. The principle of "Communitizing" takes center stage here. "Communitizing" is a made up word that came about from simply turning community into a verb. Communitizing means everything you do to build and strengthen and maintain a community. Any community. A store, a neighborhood, a religious or community group, a school or a business. All can be fertile ground for communitizing. Communitizing is not networking. It's much deeper. Communitizing means you already belong. Communitizing means "already being on the inside." Communitizing isn't just "knowing someone." It's knowing and being part of a community. You and one or more of those Dominicks folks. Somehow, you share at least one and maybe more community.
Communitizing can also be the work of helping connect a jobless person to a community need. Or even just speaking up when you see the potential of a job.
Leveraging the power of community in whatever way you can.
There is no one size fits all recipe for figuring out how you can connect to one of the 5,000. It could be as simple as talking to a neighbor about a Dominick's employee who knows what it means to make a customer feel welcome. Or offering to write a recommendation. Talking to a friend. Listening to some venting. Figuring out how to get to someone with the power to hire. Individual responses are key. Because what we're talking about here, when we talk about communitizing is a principle. Applicable to everyone. That everyone does in their own way.
Communitizing is one of "The Five"--the five core principles offered up in Finding Work When There Are No Jobs. They are not magic, a gimmick, or easy. They are simple common sense. And much harder to put into action than they sound. But what they provide is a path for you, your neighbors, anybody laid off from Dominicks, and in fact any member of our Chicago community to think differently about finding work.
Why is that so important? Because the way a person finds a job has drastically changed in the last 5 years.
1. Good applications and resumes don't mean good jobs.
2. Applying for a job is often done without a person. On-line.
3. The world's best interview will not get you a job.
4."Knowing someone" doesn't mean what it once did.
5. Skill training in finding jobs falls short because the problem is NOT a skills gap.
Communitizing is a start. Then come the four other core principles. All of them key to the success of the 5,000.
1) Telling Your Story. Being able to communicate to anyone, anywhere, what you bring to a job. Not just data or experience. But talent and heart.
2) Adding Music. Using the universal language of music to communicate why you are a "fit" for the job. A strange idea, unless you've ever unloaded a truck or faced a store shelf. If you have, you know what it means to have a rhythm to a job. And your own unique ways that you can work with that rhythm to get a job done better, cheaper or faster.
3. Solving a Mystery. Not a mystery to you. A mystery to someone else.
4. Practicing Stewardship. Taking care of something larger than yourself. Like so many Dominicks employees did for so many years when they minded our community's store.
Finding Work When There are No Jobs brings these principles alive by telling stories and asking questions. No advice. No how-to's. Story telling. Perhaps the most powerful tool of all in connecting a person and a job. NOT "success stories." Instead, stories of the principles in action. Stories that get you thinking differently about the way a community comes together to help connect people and jobs.
Stories that prompt your own stories. Often ones that start with "What if. . ." And then go on to prompt one of your Dominick's neighbors to move one step closer to a new job.
Perhaps you could be one link in a chain that communitized to get one ex-Dominicks employee a job? Just by having one conversation with a neighbor and then following up?
Imagine what could happen if we started thinking that way! Leveraging the power of our communities. Then imagine what might happen if next time.
It was you looking for a job.
Follow Roger Wright on Twitter: www.twitter.com/findingworkorg