Work & Purpose

Layoff Leads to New Career as Job Counselor

After a layoff, Gerard Baltrusaitis went back to school and ended up landing a job helping others find jobs

Editor's note: This is Gerard Baltrusaitis' story in his own words.

Seven years ago I was laid off as an organizational development coordinator for a beauty supply distributor, where I was responsible for the orientation of new employees and professional development programs. I had to reinvent myself in a difficult market.

Residing in metropolitan Detroit, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler were relinquishing everything from engineers to top-notch executives, as the former “Big Three” tumbled to their knees in the midst of a very difficult economy. Professionals of all levels were looking for jobs.

Upon a recommendation, I took action by enrolling in a 120-hour class at a local college, Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Mich., a class I was told would help me with my resume. Not only did it help me with my resume, it turned out to be a required class for certification and credentialing of state career counselors. As a result, I reinvented myself and became a career development specialist.

Almost immediately, I found myself employable. As a career development specialist I am able to utilize my 30-plus years of personal career experience as well as my newly credentialed knowledge. A majority of my current job description entails facilitating training programs on personal branding, networking, interviewing skills and resumes. A smaller percentage of my time is dedicated to career counseling and coaching, one on one with clients.

In the classes I lead at the Michigan Works! Ferndale Career Center, I am reminded daily that the new economy is a treacherous one, in which we must constantly be re-evaluating, reinventing and reapplying ourselves to be successful. My current career has been very fulfilling, as I am able to pursue my passion of helping others in the same difficult circumstance that I have been before, and may be again.

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