Job hunting is a difficult and often daunting process that can leave those looking feeling discouraged and disheartened, especially for those who are unemployed.
Providing support and resources for these job seekers is the goal of the Gig Harbor Jobs Program, run by Dan Lott and Rich Jasper.
“We want this to be a community outreach program,” Lott said. “We want people to feel welcome. Our goal is to help them on the journey they’re on.”
Lott, 74, and Jasper met through Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church shortly after Lott moved to Gig Harbor from Sacramento, where he was the director of career coaching at Bayside Church, a program that helped 1,400 people find employment.
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We want this to be a community outreach program. We want people to feel welcome. Our goal is to help them on the journey they’re on.
Dan Lott, co-founder of the Gig Harbor Jobs Program
Lott spent six years leading the program to support and coach job seekers, building on his own background in computers and communication and his experience in four job transitions through the course of his career.
“I think I’m pretty competent in helping people find jobs,” Lott said. “There is always something to learn to get a little bit better.”
Pairing with Jasper — a retired executive with leadership experience as a workshop leader for Leadership Training at Cambridge University — the two men have combined their knowledge to offer assistance to those in the Gig Harbor community looking for work.
“We’re going to challenge job seekers to make a commitment,” Lott said. “It’s getting mentally prepared ... there’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into finding a job.”
We’re going to challenge job seekers to make a commitment. It’s getting mentally prepared...there’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into finding a job.
To succeed in the program, Lott encourages weekly attendance at the meetings and for job hunters to stick to a schedule and a commitment to attend. A key point for Lott is for those job hunting not to simply think of themselves as unemployed, but to view looking for a job as their current job.
“What is different is you have a different job and a different person paying you,” he explained. “Your job is a job seeker and you are paying you.”
Another point Lott has for those in his program is that, while technology plays an important role in modern job hunting, most people find news jobs from personal connections and contacts.
“It’s a constant struggle with technology ... (that) still comes down to the human factor,” Lott said. “You want to build a connection, if possible.”
Finding these connections and keeping job seekers motivated through coaching and a supportive network is a big resource that the Gig Harbor Jobs Program has to offer.
Another part of the program is connecting participants with resources — such as those at the Gig Harbor Pierce County Library, where the meetings are held.
Ultimately, it is the support and encouragement from program leaders and fellow participants that underlies Lott’s recommendation that job seekers attend the program regularly.
“Doing a job search solo is ugly. There’s no other word for it,” Lott said. “Our job in the job program is to keep on lifting people up. It’s easy for job seekers to feel beaten down.”
The Gig Harbor Jobs Program meets every Monday at the Gig Harbor Pierce County Library. Meeting times and more information can be found online at facebook.com/gigharborjobsprogram.