To explain how Design Resumes began, I need to tell the story of my own job loss. People often ask me the back story behind how Design Resumes was formed.
The business and even the name of the business, Design Resumes, was a fluke in the beginning. I started writing resumes in 1983 as a response to a little ad we placed to gain some additional income.
The very basic computer we purchased was a result of some classes we took as a bonus from our employer, a property management firm.
I built a small business that grew into fairly heavy traffic when Nationwide Insurance acquired Wausau Insurance. Many people were uncertain about their future.
Suddenly, I worked with executives and many other people who needed their resumes ready to go because they were facing uncertainty and their own job loss.
The Naperville Transfer
I continued that little business until we accepted a promotion to Naperville, Illinois to open another complex for the same owner.
This project was totally different. The 50 unit Section 8 in Wausau was a new property when we came on board in 1981. The residents and the processes of low income property management and government housing were totally different. This new project was 400 units in a luxury housing project on 31 acres in Naperville.
The new project boasted a clubhouse complete with a spa, tennis courts, swimming pools, and a man made lake. Gorgeous apartments in a yuppie-targeted new complex then called Spice Run.
Our son, Tim was born in March of 1986 and the owner was very supportive of our little family. He raised his own son in his legal office until his son was 5.
Transferring to Naperville was a long process, the project was delayed multiple times. We replaced ourselves with a new management team who would take over as soon as we moved. During that time, I found myself pregnant with Dan.
Our advisors, who included our pastor at the time, said not to tell our owner, the developer or his team about the pregnancy. We waited 5 years before Tim was born. It was a total surprise that Dan decided to start his life at that moment. I figured I could handle it.
My role was Community Manager, managing and directing all aspects of the leasing and marketing as well as the staff. My husband was to be the Operations Manager, who was also the owner’s liaison during the construction phase with the contractor.
Our owner and his staff were upset about Dan because his arrival was scheduled for April 5. The project was due to open April 1. I made a very naive, and in hindsight, stupid statement to the owner:
But this is construction, you won’t open on schedule.
Telling a developer that must have made him crazy. But I had been around construction long enough to know that there are always delays. This project was already way off track. I was right. The project didn’t open until July 1.
During the time we were in Naperville, I did many things. For example, I interviewed vendors for multiple services, landscaping, extermination, and trash removal. I wrote the resident handbook, hired an illustrator, and had it printed by a local printer. In addition I wrote the company-wide handbook covering multiple property management issues.
Dan was born on schedule on April 5. My own ideas of child-raising changed.
We had Tim with us the whole time in Wausau with only occasional babysitting by Grammas.
I thought that it would continue and I think the owner’s child care issues made me not even discuss it with them.
Mistake Number Two.
We were told to find full-time child care in a brand new location 5 hours from home one month after Dan was born. Now we had 2 children 13 months apart and no family support.
My own job loss – The Warning Signs
The owner changed our move-in location and move-in date so that we would leave the competitor’s apartment complex that we had lived in two blocks from our project. We moved in on July 10. I should have seen the warning signs:
- As I drove with my manager from Milwaukee to various locations in the Chicago area, she asked questions about whether I missed Wausau.
- The new project was not ready for occupancy.
- Dan had colic and the apartment complexes wiring system was faulty. The smoke alarms went off with every lightning strike in the storm-filled summer of 1987.
- The lack of sleep between Dan and the alarms combined with the challenges of the project. As a very new mom of two, my emotions were on edge and I easily found myself driven to tears.
My Own Job Loss – The Termination Notice
Our owner had our manager meet us in the model apartment. She delivered the job loss notice that we were terminated on August 5. We had 5 days to get off property. They instituted a gag order so we couldn’t talk to the contractors who had become our friends.
We lost two jobs simultaneously, our home, and had two babies who were by then 4 months and 17 months old. I didn’t even think about finding another job in Naperville. We called family and we packed up leaving before the 5 days were up.
The stages of grief – Loss of employment is still a loss
I was so angry. I was so scared. I had no idea what would come next.
We ended up moving in with Bill’s parents and living with them for four months. They had a huge house. Imagine the disruption of two babies under the age of two in a household with both my in-laws turning 65?
Amazingly, the bank agreed to finance our first home that we bought for $29,500. Amazing, since at the time, all we had to show for income was our unemployment checks.
I launched Design Resumes again in 1987. Now you know the rest of the story.
My own job loss is a very long and overly detailed post but as I wrote it, the same emotions came up as they did back then.
They surface every time I tell the story to one of my clients.
It is the reason that I understand how it feels to lose a job, the uncertainty and the fears.
It is also the reason that I can tell you that there is hope on the horizon and that someday you will find a new life that is rewarding again. Everyone will not go on the path of self-employment that I have gone but they will find a new beginning.
Julie Walraven’s unique LIVE writing and coaching process can help you achieve results through the Design Resumes personalized job search and resume writing strategy that takes the mystery out of the process. To find out how, simply click here!