Long Island Breakfast Club

Featured This Week Valentina Janek, Founder, The Long Island Breakfast Club
By Beverly Fortune 06/07/2007 2:08 pm

Featured This Week Valentina Janek, Founder, The Long Island Breakfast Club

If youth is the advantage that some corporations crave, they should keep in mind that being young is a condition that won’t last. Everybody gets old.

Valentina Janek, founding member of the Long Island Breakfast Club, knows firsthand how cruel growing older in the workplace can be. “It used to be job stability was good. It’s not now,” she says.

The victim of a corporate downsizing, Valentina embarked on a long journey to find another job she was qualified for. Along the way, she met three other unemployed 50-somethings, and in 2006, they formed the Long Island Breakfast Club, an organization that provides advocacy, support, career counseling and referrals for job seekers 40 and older. The club’s mission statement is, “Experience Counts!”

“We have almost 20 people in the club now,” Valentina says. “We’re all successful and want to help others. There are mentors in the group and people who need to get jobs.”

Going on an interview is stressful enough, says Valentina. She should know: It took 26 interviews and two years to find the right job for her. During the process, she maintains, “You are being interviewed by people less qualified than you.” And, to add insult to injury, Valentina says, “seven out of ten interviewers don’t call you back.”

She adds, “We help you get your frustrations out, and want you to talk about how you feel when you come out of the interview.” And, she says, “We also laugh a lot!”

What’s Valentina’s advice? “Stop feeling sorry for yourself and go back out there and keep interviewing. Network as much as you can and talk to people. You have to keep yourself out there and be noticed.”

During the time Valentina was job hunting, she offered her services as a public relations professional by working on a number of charitable causes. She volunteered with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Long Island Volunteer Center, among others.

Of course, it would be prudent of corporate America to hire employees based on their expertise, but many will hire a younger candidate with no experience because they command a lower salary. Luckily for Valentina, she found a new position with ARS Financial Services, located in Jericho, as its marketing director.

Now, she says, “I’m working with baby boomers who are planning for their retirement.”

As for the Long Island Breakfast Club’s future, the organization is launching its website in several weeks, at www.pro-fusion.us, adding training programs for interview preparation and job links. Any individual who feels they need extra support to continue the momentum in their job search in their midlife years is invited to join the club.

Until you find that job, Valentina suggests, “Go back to who you are and what you love. Get involved in a project and see the joy that it can bring to you.”

For more information, e-mail Valentina at vjanek@optonline.net

If you know a super woman who deserves good Fortune—and a profile—e-mail your nominations to Beverly at bfortune@longislandpress.com.