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My interview with success story, Dee!
Naomi: How did you find your current jobs?
Dee: I heard about this volunteer position (Vendor Coordinator) from the organization Common Ground on the Hill since I am a long term volunteer there. It’s an organization which promotes peace, cultural understanding and advocacy for traditional arts and music of America and around the world. The group was formed by Walt Michael, an international performer of the hammered dulcimer as well as fellow alumni of Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) and so, CGOTH’s offices are located on that campus. From October to April, CGOTH sponsors the first Saturday concert at the Carroll County Arts Council and in the summer, there are two weeks of classes in all sorts of subjects–from learning to play the harmonica to Latin dancing to felting to promoting peace and cultural understanding at the college. Many of the teachers perform or sell their products at the Music and Arts Festival which occurs over a weekend, this year at the end of the two weeks of classes–July 13 & 14. Past performers have included Pete Seeger, Tom Chapin, the Ronstadt family (Michael J., brother of Linda, and his two sons), Guy Davis (blues music award winner) and other internationally known musicians.
I’ve taken classes at CGOTH over several years, have helped backstage during the summer evening concerts (which occur each night of the classes), and during the year, have given out programs for the Saturday night concerts at the Carroll County Arts Council. Also, I’ve asked CGOTH to donate 2 weekend passes (each worth $50) for the silent auction at the MD Library Association’s silent auction at its conference for the past few years as well as a pair of such tickets for each library branch in Carroll County to give away as prizes for the adult summer reading program.
As Vendor Coordinator, I promote the two festivals (Deer Creek Fiddlers Convention in June and the Music and Arts Festival in July) in order to find food vendors as well as artists who create their own work so that participants can enjoy themselves and find well-crafted items to take home. The art can range from homemade dulcimers to jewelry and this year, to homemade hula hoops! I process the applications, keep records for the health department and state tax office as well as the CGOTH office. On the day of the festivals, another coordinator takes over to mark off the site for each vendor and at the end, to take the 15% fee for the CGOTH office from the artists. The food vendors pay a different fee.
At the Deer Creek Convention (Open to all singers and instrumentalists, it’s a competition with modest cash prizes), I appeared very early in the morning and then saw the vendors again at night to elicit comments which have helped me to see problems from the vendors’ points of view. Also, I greatly enjoyed meeting the people whom I only saw on paper.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Dee: My favorite library is the Finksburg Library in Carroll County because there’s always something happening there, inside and out, and the staff is especially friendly and helpful.
Naomi: Favorite book?
Dee: Favorite book–that’s a hard one. I really enjoy the mysteries written by Fred Vargas, Henning Mankell, Andrea Camilleri (Detective Montalbano) and Donna Leon (Commisario Brunetti) but I have soft spots for C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series as well as his Space Trilogy.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Dee: Favorite thing about technology–I like Pinterest (except for the spamming) and other social media, including SlideShare. When I was unemployed, I learned about SlideShare at a networking group meeting and then, with the help of my photographer brother, created a PowerPoint presentation plus additional handout about vermiculture and uploaded it onto SlideShare. I then presented it to my environmental networking group at Columbia’s job hunting office. Can you guess the song we sang at the end? ……”The Corpse Song” of course! (The worms go in…)
Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Dee: LInkedIn is a valuable tool; whenever I write a letter to the editor or participate in a committee which puts on a conference, I link those articles to my profile to show people out there that I’m an active player. I also promote events for which I’ve volunteered in advance.
Naomi: Best piece of job-hunting advice?
Dee: Best piece of job hunting advice: Several.
- Find a part time job even if it’s way below your abilities. I was a Red Cross telerecruiter which was almost the worst job ever for me but my resume shows continuous employment.
- Keep volunteering; you’ll make contacts and find people happy to write a reference for you.
- Get people to write a reference whenever you have volunteered or have had a part time job to keep on hand.
- Read Dale Carnegie’s books again and again to stay positive and also, to learn how to really listen to others.
- Be the person they want to take to lunch–whether in the interview or slinging hash.
- Join job networking groups.
- Put something out there, as I did on SlideShare, to show your writing ability and other talents. I’ve had over 2,000 views on that presentation.
- Remember to have fun–volunteer so you’ll get into concerts for free, visit parks, find other ways to enjoy yourself for free. All of that will make you glow and people will notice.
Finally, the office administrator took a picture of me with a CGOTH poster and I’ve attached it. Oh, and all of those volunteer hours translated into free tuition for classes at CGOTH in years past as well as this year. This past week I took a class in Tai Chi Chuan and Icelandic Singing; next week will be Beginning Ukelele and Balkan Singing. I’m also working at my job very early in the morning and 3-4 evenings in addition to handling last minute phone calls, emails and paperwork for the Festival so I couldn’t take more classes than those.