Bouncing Back – My Journey to find meaningful work

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A few months ago I was in the right place at the right time and was fortunate to be offered a position at MassEdCO as an education advocate.
A couple months before I received this job offer, I was in a low place. I had been laid off from what I thought was the perfect job – I did not understand what happen. I was in shock. But I found a way to Bounce back into action, both literally and figuratively. I was honored to take part in a relatively new program in Massachusetts. I took part in a program called Bounce, a life skills/employment readiness training program with an Australian twist – from Australia. This program is currently only in Worcester, MA – read my blog on Bouncing Back After Job Loss to learn more.

This training was offered through the Worcester Career Center and was to be held at MassEdco. In my past position at the YWCA, I sent many of my clients to MassEdco, to have them apply for financial aid. When I walked into the office, for the first day of the Bounce Training, the Director of MassEdco asked if I was there for the training. She knew me and asked if I was looking for a job as the Bounce training was offered to job seekers of the career center. I responded that yes, I was looking for a job. Now, this director knew me and know the work I did at the YWCA. She told me MassEdco has a job opening and that I really should apply for it. The director told me more about the position, and during the two weeks of training for Bounce, I was approached a few times by the director as well as my current boss, with the suggestion that I really should apply for this job, which I did.

During the time I was interviewing, I also had interviews at a local community college and two career centers. At one career center, the hiring manager and I had a really good discussion. She said that although they would love to have me work at the career center – she thought I would be “like a caged bird” in  the position I was interviewing for. The manager said that I was a “mover and a shaker.” I agreed and told her I was leaning towards the position at MassEdco, where I would be out and about in the community.

My current position is an education advocate for MassEdco, working with teen parents in Southbridge, Leominster, and Fitchburg. The director told my boss that she did not have to look further, as I was the perfect candidate. Of course, they did interview other candidates, but ultimately they offered me the position. They liked the fact that I had experience in two colleges as a career counselor and experience working with teen mothers at the YWCA. They also like the fact that I am very well connected, especially in the Leominster and Fitchburg area.

I have been working here for almost three months, and have about a dozen clients in the south county, and have been working on outreach and recruitment in north county.

Just last weekend, I ran into a former co-worker from the organization that I had been laid off from. She told me that I was better off being laid off and that the more than half the department left the organization, including herself. Yesterday, I was talking to another former co-worker, and she told me that the department and organization still continue to have many difficulties with construction and organizational issues. A few months ago, at a conference, I spoke to someone in administration, who told me that “It was not you, it was the organization.”

I believe that everything happens for a reason. I do not regret my time with that organization. If I had not been there, I would not have meant some very good friends, some people who have become mentors to me. If I had not worked there and been laid off, I would not have enrolled in the Bounce program, and where I met my wonderful group of Bouncers, as well as the CEO – Maria Smith. If I had not worked there, I would not have the job I have now, where I am truly making a difference in people’s lives.

I have found many ways to make a difference in people’s lives, which is something I was not able to do in my last position. I truly am grateful… Which is very important – My work is personal, just as Erin Brockovich’s character said in the movie about her important work on the investigation on PG&E – “Not Personal! That is my work! My sweat! My time away from my kids! If that’s not personal, I don’t know what is …”

By day, Rachelle, working mother of two, serves as an education advocate and career advisor for MassEdCO. By night, Rachelle provided career consulting and works to promote green energy. When Rachelle is not writing her blog, advising her students, or coaching her clients, she enjoys camping and going to the theater with her two children.

Follow Rachelle on Twitter at @RLappinen and follow her blog at https://solutionsbyrachelle.wordpress.com/

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About Rachelle Lappinen

​Rachelle Lappinen is a Career and Academic Consultant and a Green Energy Ambassador. Currently, Rachelle serves as an education advocate for MassEdco working with high school students on college and career navigation. Rachelle also consults working with MIT on a research program, researching the effects of long-term unemployment on the middle class and developing best practices to help this population. Rachelle has worked at Mount Wachusett Community College, the YWCA and Becker College as a Career Development Counselor. Before becoming entering the field of workforce development, Rachelle spent over 10 years working as an insurance underwriter. Throughout her coaching and volunteer experiences, Rachelle has been noted for her determination and persistence to help those in need of career guidance. As a volunteer, Rachelle is actively involved with the non-profit organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Leominster and Fitchburg and the Center for Women and Enterprises. Prior to entering the coaching world, Rachelle was a senior group insurance underwriter for Unum, and sales representative for Prudential Financial. She actively involved with the Career Counselors Consortium and is a member of the Career Resource Rachelle M. Lappinen, MBA, GCDF, CPRW
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