More than just “How To Get a Job”

Dig deep enough, and every job search is unique. Beyond resume data is a personal story. It’s the story that prompts answers to questions like, “Is there a ‘fit’ here between this individual and this work?”

 In her own words, Jennifer Seaver Stokes, of Tuned In Coaching, Carmel, Indiana tells her story here.

 Everybody’s story will be different. So the question becomes, “How can you use the principles she outlines to make your own path to finding the right work for you?”


Jennifer’s Story—First Came Music

Labels. Branding. Even resume data. The shorthand code we use to really tell our own unique and very personal story. Ever have the feeling that it was missing something? Not that it was wrong. It just wasn’t enough to really tell your story. I’m a successful entrepreneur. A musician. A mother. A coach. All facts. But NONE of those labels really tell my story. I think that sometimes it’s important to go beyond the simple facts and look for the way they are woven together. The connections. From those connections comes The Story. And what I came to realize, in reading the dozens of stories in Finding Work When There Are No jobs, in answering the “connecting to action” questions and especially in thinking about “The Five “ Principles; is that my search for work was much larger than simply getting a job.

As I really read the book, I began to see my search more like some kind of river. And the five principles were more like smaller streams that flowed into that larger river of my search.

The First Stream Was Music

My story begins with a love and natural talent for music. I remember trying to string rubber bands on cardboard boxes to make sounds. My first instrument was the piano but I loved any form of live, acoustic music making. Throughout my training as a musician I was privileged to have master musicians that cared about my personal development as well as my musical maturity. In many ways, I had a one-on-one master coach every week of my life until I graduated with a Masters in Music from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.


In 1987, I married and started a family with two wonderful children. By the time my son was in kindergarten, I knew it was time to start the divorce process. Clearly it was time to get to work. I easily found work as a collaborative pianist, church musician and University instructor. However, the cost of individual insurance, working and practicing long hours for low pay began to wear on me.

It was time for a change.


If you haven’t read the book, communitizing means the work of community building. ANY kind of community. For example, I live in a wonderful neighborhood, filled with people like Debbie, one of my faithful supporters during my divorce.  Her father was a pastor at a small Lutheran Church, another community. She helped me get an audition for the Music Director/Organist position.  I got that job. None of us “networked” or had meetings. We shared a community.


Steam #3: Solving Mysteries

The Lutheran church supported a school for children on the Autism Spectrum.  So much progress has been made in treating autism, but there is still much that is a mystery. The school administrator asked me to teach piano to a boy that suffered from dyslexia.  As soon as Jonathan began studying piano – he began to have success with reading.


There is always an element of mystery in knowing yourself. As my 50th birthday rolled around, I knew it was time to re-invent myself. I began coach training at through iPEC, completed Corporate Training Certification (ASTD) and attended a weekend workshop with well-known author and public speaker, Marianne Williamson.


Jonathan’s parents were owners of a public relations company.  I invited Jonathan’s mother to the very first Coach Training session in Chicago.  We began talking about coaching and their business. She attended one of my first Strengths Development Workshops.


Just before completing the coach training, I started having surgeries and treatment for an abdominal issue caused by a C-section repair involving mesh that was put in in 1997.


Another student from the Lutheran school, Ivan, was referred to me for piano instruction.  His mother’s brother was a specialist in gastrointestinal pathology at the University of Chicago Medical Center.  He referred me to the surgical teams that were already doing the type of surgery that I wanted. 


I used my coaching skills and strengths awareness to manage my health and create a strategic plan to put the best surgical team and procedure in place. I was told that there could be up to 3 surgeries over a one year period. I set my intentions; remove the mesh, repair my intestines and abdominal wall and restore my health. The surgical team was superb and after 9 hours they had successfully completed the entire procedure with success.


Finally, “Practicing Stewardship.”

The “Practicing Stewardship” principle simply means taking care of something even larger than myself. Making sure that my own river flows into the river of a greater good. And that’s what I’ve tried to do. My life experiences, music performance and practice, strengths awareness and belief in the coaching process have helped me manage my life and thrive on my own. But even more important, they have helped serve a greater good.


My River Keeps Flowing

Jonathan’s parents were working with a mid-sized company going through reorganization.  The owners wanted to provide outplacement coaching for a large number of released employees.  I submitted a proposal and was hired on short notice to help others find work and re-invent themselves.

I look back on my story now, my river, and I see there is much more here than simply finding a job, finding work when there are no jobs or labeling me an entrepreneur.


It’s hard to describe, all those streams flowing into a river and then my river flowing into an even larger river or a sea.


It’s kind of like where I started my story. It’s like music.

2 Responses to “More than just “How To Get a Job””

  1. tunedincoaching Says:

    Thank you for helping me see my story in the framework of the five principles to finding work! Onward I go!

  2. tunedincoaching Says:

    Reblogged this on Jennifer Seaver Stokes @ Tuned In Coaching and commented:
    Are you a part of my story? Please read like and share this post by Roger Wright, Huffington post Blogger and author of Finding Work When There Are No Jobs.

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