Losing a job is one of life’s most difficult circumstances affecting not only finances, but also career aspirations, relationships and self-esteem. Overcoming Job Transition is a grassroots, faith-based non-profit organization that provides support and resources for those seeking a fresh start in the job market.
“Job hunting can be a lonely time for many different reasons,” says Gip Gibson, co-founder of OJT. “Some people think they don’t need help. Some people are too scared or too reluctant, or they don’t trust. If I’ve been told I’m fired, I may think I’m not worthy for some reason.
Weekly meetings give attendees the opportunity to share their qualifications and the jobs they seek, as well as hear relevant topics from guest speakers.
“We had speakers who talked about how to improve your vocal caliber – do you articulate and do people listen to you?” said Ed Miller, director of the OJT program. “We had people talking about body language…how to tell your story compellingly.”
The pandemic has changed the job market and also appears to have diversified CTF audiences. Miller and Gibson report that the past 18 months have brought in younger people and more women, as well as people in more varied industries. Two years ago, OJT’s audience was mostly men aged 50 and over in the engineering and petroleum industries, and the most visited page on its website was “how to write a resume “.
“Now the requests aren’t so much for resume help, but for coaching — coming to my side and helping me figure it out,” Miller says.
Gibson estimates that CTF has seen nearly 4,000 job seekers attend group sessions since its inception 13 years ago.
“You lose your job and come to OJT, and you have an immediate network of 10, 20, 30 people,” he says. “Those going through transition help others through transition. I can’t tell you how many times it’s created opportunities for others, but people going through it helping other people through it is just one thing. incredibly powerful.
Overcoming Career Transition meets weekly at various locations. Visit ojttulsa.org for a full calendar of events.
OJT volunteers: Steve Allen, Kim Armstrong, Jim Blazer, Steve Evans, Gip Gibson, Glen Hall, Mike Henry, Penny Horton, Bill Johnson, Russ Knight, Dymian Kritikos, Brenda Melancon, Ed Miller, Scott Pearson, Charlie Pilkington, Leonard Reitz, Tim Smith , Lou Toto, Julie Via and Frank Wantland
Manage job loss
Just after the Great Recession of 2008, a group of local volunteers, including Gip Gibson, gathered to support people losing their jobs and changing careers. Thirteen years later, Overcoming Job Transition still meets weekly at First United Methodist and virtually to network and hear from guest speakers. Gibson and OJT Program Director Ed Miller recently told us about the ministry.
How is CTF different from a local job bank?
Gibson: The purpose of COTF is not to find someone a job. It’s really to equip that person and encourage them. The person in transition — it’s his job to find the job. We really follow and try to equip and encourage. We provide networking help, help with resume preparation and help with interview skills and (encourage) the use of social media – mainly LinkedIn – all of that, but a lot of it’s just, “Hey , come walk beside me, and we’ll get through this together.
How do people hear about COTF?
Miller: State agencies will refer people who file unemployment claims to us. We don’t ask them to do that. We have no connection or effort. They just know us. A gentleman contacted us two weeks ago because he was part of a business networking group for divorced people. We’ve had people in churches talk about it. The website (ojttulsa.org) does a lot for us. We receive between 3,000 and 4,000 unique visitors per year to our website.