About Anne Dittman
Age: Yikes! I am still buying green bananas!
Hometown: None. I have been corporately relocated all my life. Home is where you hang your hat!
Length of time in Gainesville: Ted, my husband, and I will have been in Georgia for eight years in July having moved south from the Chicago area. Love these Georgia winters!
Education: Bachelor’s degree in natural science with minor in education from Oklahoma State University
Occupation: Marketing manager for OiC Innovations, The Desktop Elevator
Most interesting job: Having worked for 20 years in the relocation industry helping corporations find ways to assist transferees, my jobs were always interesting because of the people I met and the tales they shared. But my most interesting job ever is my current job — working for OiC Innovations. Being part of someone’s dream and helping that dream become a viable product is fun and fascinating. I am learning and doing something new every day.
Family information: Ted and I met at church when we were in high school in Oklahoma and married when he was in the service while I was still finishing college. We have three grown daughters who have brought us three wonderful sons-in-law and seven energy-packed grandchildren.
Three years ago, hoping to put her training as a Stephen minister — a program of lay pastoral counseling to work — Anne Dittman had the idea of helping people learn the skills they need to find a job. At about the same time, Carl Liggett had the same idea. The two teamed up to create Career Connection at Gainesville First United Methodist Church.
Today, The Times asks Dittman five questions about the project she and Liggett created.
1. How did Career Connection come into being?
Career Connection is facilitated by both Carl Liggett, who retired as a CEO and general manager for a manufacturing entity and really brings credibility to our program, and me. In January 2009, I presented the Rev. Terry Walton, senior pastor at Gainesville First United Methodist Church, with a business plan for Career Connection.
Having just completed Stephen minister training, I wanted to use what we had learned to reach out to the staggering number of people who were being displaced. Several weeks later, Carl Liggett, also a Stephen minister, approached Terry Walton with a similar idea.
Terry put us both together and we have been offering free search skill development assistance to persons who are unemployed or wishing to change jobs for more than three years. We do not find people jobs but help them learn better skill sets to search for a job.
Under the guidance of the Rev. Debby Fox, we have been afforded what we have needed to assist those who are searching.
2. What’s the biggest problem area you see, as far as someone’s skills, among those applying for jobs?
Generally, the job you have is no longer the same job you had. If you cannot update your skills and redesign who you think you are in the workplace, your search may be long. You need to carefully look at your talents and your background and dig out your successes. Then you need to be able to restate those successes on your resume in light of today’s job needs.
This does not mean, however, that you will find a job that paid like your old job. Frugality may become a long-lasting way of life until you are able to again climb the ladder of success.
3. How would you describe the local job market? Which fields seem to have the most promise?
If you can think out-of-the box, and reformat your thinking and your skills, there are jobs available. There are certainly more jobs now than there were.
In Gainesville, our biggest employers are the hospital and the educational system. We see lots of jobs in those areas, but they are very specific and the applicant’s skills need to be current.
While you are looking for a job, it is important to take classes to keep you current — especially computer classes, volunteer to make networking connections, keep your physical body healthy through exercise and good nutrition and seek spiritual growth.
4. What’s the biggest mistake people make when filling out a resume or applying for a job?
People think the job is all about them. It is not. The job is about the need of the company and what the person who is applying can do for that firm. Each resume, application, or interview should reflect how your skills meet the need of the company, not about how you need a job.
5. What has been the most rewarding part of your involvement with this program?
There are two really big rewards. We learn so much from each of our participants.
Each job seeker brings unique skills and has so much potential. As they share what they have done in their lives and rediscover their self-confidence, lose their anger, recognize where they have been successful and redirect their search to reflect change, it is like watching a bud unfold into a flower.
Each time someone goes through this process, we marvel at how the human spirit can rebound. Which brings us to the second but really primary most rewarding part of our involvement and that is watching the Grace of God in action.
If you or someone you know is looking for a job, we invite you to come — alone or with a friend — to Career Connection. We meet the first and third Thursday night of each month at Gainesville First United Methodist Church, 2780 Thompson Bridge Road from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Career Connection is always free and we sell nothing. If you have questions contact email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office at 770-536-2341. You may ask to have your name via e-mail address added to our free job news e-mail.