The littlest blue jay

One day last week, this little blue jay flew over to my window and perched for a few minutes on my screen. I’ve never seen a baby blue jay before. I believe he was in the middle of flying lessons from his parents and made a wrong turn.

Since then, I have seen his brother (or sister) and the littlest blue jay flying around my neighborhood with mom and dad blue jay, practicing short little jaunts from branch to branch, sometimes pausing for a rest.

Young people learning to fly solo

This past weekend, I had young men (friends of my two sons) in large quantity fluttering around my house, looking for food, playing on the backyard basketball court, pausing on the couch to rest out of the sun before returning to watch or play at the Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament.

We always have more young men (and a few young women) around when the Macker comes to town. Our basketball court gets more action then. I listen as the ones I see only rarely pop by to update me on their lives. Some I have written resumes or coached on job search tips in the past and we trade stories of life changes.

I have an Interview

Whenever one says, “I have an interview,” the coach in me comes out and I walk them through what to do in the upcoming interviews. I give them pointers such as: “don’t forget to collect business cards so you have the right spelling and titles to send thank you notes.”

Like the blue jays, learning step-by-step by example, and growing up in the process, these young people also learn.  One young man popped in to chat and remarked they were out on the deck reminiscing of the summers spent at our house. He even had to look over my new office and talked about how much time they spent in here when it was the teen hang out. He’s a corporate trainer now for a group of high-end restaurants.

Another stopped in to tell me how many inquiries (5-to 10 daily) and comments he has gotten on his resume. He will interview this week for a new position he is excited about in Chicago. He just graduated from college as a marketing major. He winked when he said his friends aren’t getting any responses to their resumes and can’t figure out why.

Another is still sleeping as I write, he just graduated with his degree in commercial architectural design and will soon need his resume updated.

My client base is broad and filled with a wide range of fields as well as different levels of professionals but I always have a special place in my heart for these young men as they start out on their adult lives.

Flying solo and starting out into the world on their own… much like the littlest blue jay learning to fly on his own.


  1. Ed Han on June 21, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Julie, it must be so rewarding to see these young birds take wing!


    • Julie Walraven on June 21, 2010 at 7:36 am

      It is, Ed, both the blue jays and the other ones… 🙂

  2. Shahrzad Arasteh on June 21, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Hi Julie,

    What a lovely post! It makes me smile to think of the little blue jay learning how to fly in the safety of your backyard…and I love your analogy of young adults preparing to take flight and begin the journey to the next phase of their lives. It’s wonderful the way you work with your clients, friends, neighbors, and community members to give them a safe place to think about their next steps, and access to your expertise as a career professional to help them soar high and reach their desired destination.

    • Julie Walraven on June 21, 2010 at 8:55 am

      Thank you, Shahrzad, I can hear your voice saying this and it makes me smile. The client who just left said she feels so peaceful in my office listening to the birds singing.

  3. Barb Poole on June 21, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    A lovely, lovely post, Julie! Very perceptive and so true!! You are a mama jay but more than that, a safe haven where young people (and those of all ages) feel safe to learn and grow. There is instruction, but also the coaching to “go fly little one”! Loved it!!!

    • Julie Walraven on June 21, 2010 at 8:10 pm

      Thank you, Barb, from a coach like you, so much appreciated!

  4. Master Resume Writer on June 22, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Lovely post (mimicking Barb Poole’s comment) – but truly, a smooth, soothing read.

    The baby blue bird analogy is very sweet and meaningful.

    Sounds like your house, and YOU, have offered many opportunities for growth conversations and activities over the years for young, budding boys and girls who are now transitioned/transitioning into adulthood.

    Thank you for more nourishing words, Julie!


    • Julie Walraven on June 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm

      You are welcome, Jacqui! I will always have a place in my heart for these many young people. I love hearing their success stories and knowing that I have been a positive influence.

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