Last weekend, a fellow community gardener Laurie Vivekanand and I were marveling at a garden snake fearlessly crawling towards her. (Unusual behavior for a garden snake I was told!)

Before we knew it, we started talking about the economy re-starting and Laurie’s role as Hudson Valley Community College Director of Environmental Health and Safety.  Laurie, who has been with HVCC since 2012, shared with me why her responsibilities have mushroomed!  “My job is to ensure that the risks of re-starting the college – for employees and students alike – are fully assessed and kept at an acceptable level.  Imagine all the departments that are involved…to name a few, Facilities, Human Resources, Student Services and the IT departments!”

ENGAGING IN A CONVERSATION with someone (currently or recently working) is what networking is all about!  You never know where it will lead…

  • You may discover a new field/jobs that turn out to be a great fit for you!
  • Or learn about scholarships or no-cost training and educational opportunities!
  • And even have the opportunity to build a relationship with a potential “door opener!”

This pandemic has certainly caused havoc and loss for many people!  If you have lost your job and happen to listen to the news reporting the latest unemployment figures, it is easy to feel discouraged …

But through this conversation, I heard Laurie speak of POSSIBILITIES!not only for environmental science majors or those with interest or training in OCCUPATIONAL HYGIENE AND SAFETY!…but also for folks working in Facilities (cleaning and maintenance), Human Resources (handling the needs of employees), Student Services (providing support for students) and IT (ensuring capacity for all of the remote work and education that will be occurring)!

Laurie’s energy and excitement is indeed catchy! And to boot, when Laurie learned that I am a career coach, she generously offered to be a resource for people who might be interested in learning more about the field!

And while Einstein’s words “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity come to mind, it does not mean waiting for an opportunity!  Job seekers must be actively engaged …especially if interested in finding positions that match their skills and interests!

So if you find yourself in a conversation with someone – whether you know them well or don’t – ask questions that pertain to what matters to you!  Here are some examples?

“What drew you to this career?  What do you enjoy?  Don’t enjoy?  What does the job entail?  Working with others?  Answering questions?  Providing information?  Teaching?  Providing support?  What skills are required?  Writing skills?  Basic or advanced math know-how?  Or is the job primarily outside or in an office?  Is it a small office or many offices in a large building (or buildings)? etc., etc.”

As you are listening, TRY TO BE OPEN to jobs that you may never have considered before! Skills that you used in your last positions may be transferable to another field or job!

For other JOB and EDUCATIONAL opportunities, go to

And even as you find and consider other job and training opportunities, reach out to friends, family, neighbors who may work in this field or organization…or may know of someone who does! …even in this time of social distancing, I am seeing more people wanting to help others!  Call, set up a zoom meeting…Even participants in virtual webinars or training sessions that you attend may be willing to talk with you and could be great sources of information!

 …Ask questions and assess:  Is this a job (or career) that I would enjoy?  Would I have an opportunity to use my skills in this position?  Or might this job (EVEN IF IT’S TEMPORARY!) be a foot in the door in an organization that offers growth opportunities in a field that excites me!?

Besides, knowing someone is a great way to get your resume past the online screening process!

And please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments at



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