"Help I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!"

Remember that commercial? Tho’ not the best ad ever done, the catch-phrase was memorable.

The marketed product showed that with just a touch of a button, someone would get to you and help you in an emergency.  It was the reassurance needed – that extra bit of cushion, so to speak, for someone who might be in trouble.

Over many years, as I’ve mentored colleagues while they were employed or when they were between jobs, I always thought others were doing the same.  I was sure our industry associations – where we gain education, access to job postings, and continue the relationships we’ve built – were helping people retain their membership regardless of employment status.  I thought individuals in our industry would help as much as they could in a way that was appropriate - an ear/shoulder, a cuppa coffee to talk about jobs and industry news, registration to a meeting, etc.

The industry associations all seem to have “deals” for the first year of unemployment but nothing after that. There are some scholarships offered to the national or international meetings and some chapters try to help. Overall, there is little being done to help individuals - some of whom were the "best client" or a favorite co-worker or great chapter volunteer.

After talking with more “currently employable”* (some for 3 years) colleagues to find out how supportive our industry and the individuals in it have been, I thought it best we do a call to action to help those who are employable get the support they need.

Here’s what I came up with. Add to it and let’s see what we can do.

  1. Miles and hotel points: Offer them to someone who needs f2f networking time at an industry event.
  2. Membership dues: Let’s all speak up to the industry associations to consider the times for all segments of the industry and how to provide dues assistance. To show you are a member of an industry association (along with a CMP next to your name) may give you the added boost in getting a job. (It certainly gives you an added network.) Remember: it’s not just planners who have lost jobs; our supplier partners are also being cut or "reorganized" out.

    If your finances are in great or at least better (than those who are employable) shape, offer to pay half or more of someone else’s membership.  Mitzvahs
  3. Chapter program attendance: If you're a member of PCMA,MPI, SGMP, ISES, HSMAI or any other industry association, find out if your chapter supports comped or low cost attendance at local meetings. If it's a limited time offer, see if you can help set up a fund – maybe from 50/50 sales – for those whose attendance may be a life-line.
  4. Contract or temp work: Need another hand to help with an upcoming meeting? Don’t make assumptions that the work may be beneath a CMP! If it helps put food on the table, pay the rent, and provides a sense of self, it is worth it.  Find out the talents of the employable, keep that information handy and contact them.
  5. Resume review and interview coaching: You may not be an expert; you do have different points of view and can read or hear things that others may not.  Make the offer!

What will you add to this list?


* The term preferred to “unemployed” – and it looks better on a name badge!

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