December 16, 2005

Positivity: A Christmas Office Party for the Unemployed

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:11 am

it means a lot to the people who come:

Unemployed get their office party
Maria Persico of Career Management Consultants started holding holiday parties for her clients in 1998.

Seven years ago, one of Maria Persico’s unemployed clients at Career Management Consultants Inc. gave her an idea.

She “mentioned that she had helped to plan the Christmas party [at her office], but because she was no longer an employee she couldn’t go,” Persico said.

It might be a small thing compared to the other adjustments associated with sudden unemployment, but no holiday office party to attend was a loss Persico knew she could remedy for her jobless clients.

Persico, a native of Brazil who likes to entertain, cooked the pork tenderloin and roast beef for the party yesterday at the outplacement and career-counseling firm in Susquehanna Twp., Pennsylvania.

A former foreign-language teacher, Persico took over as president of Career Management Consultants after her husband, Louis, who founded the business, died in 1997. Employers pay the firm to help the workers they lay off find new jobs.

Persico started the holiday party tradition in 1998. “We love to do this. We have seen people take charge. It is their party,” she said.

Some former clients who have found new jobs, such as Charles Mozier of Hampden Twp., return for the party to see Persico and former job-hunting colleagues.

Mozier lost his job at New World Pasta Co. in 2002. Five months later, he found a job with the Pennsylvania School Boards Association after practicing his interviewing and networking skills at Career Management Consultants.

“When you haven’t been in the market for 30 years, you need to figure out how to do resumes again and how to market yourself,” he said.

Mozier also was there to provide inspiration for some of Persico’s clients, such as Kevin Roesner of Mount Holly Springs.

Roesner, who lost his job at Barjan Products on Nov. 2, attended the party with his wife, Kim, who works part time. She called the gathering a “morale booster.”

Roesner, 45, finds himself unemployed for the “first time ever.”

The Roesners, who have two children, said they are relying on their Christian faith.

“We know there’s a plan for everything,” Kim Roesner said, although she admitted to panicking when she first learned of her husband’s job loss. “Once I had my panic attack, I was fine.”

Kevin Roesner said they have discussed the situation with their children. “You may get an offer out of state. The kids have to be part of it,” he said.

Their 15-year-old son suggested they skip Christmas this year and just do it bigger next year, Kim Roesner said. “The four of us are a team,” she said.

Kevin Roesner checks the Internet every day for jobs. “I’ve sent out many resumes. I have gotten one interview so far,” he said.

The holiday season is an especially tough, if common, time to lose a job.

“The last quarter of the year, companies make decisions, and October, November, December we always have a nice group of people who lost their jobs,” Persico said.

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