By Robert Oestreicher, Board of Directors Chair, JVS Career Services
Imagine commuting from Cincinnati to Cleveland for work.
The eight-hour round-trip trek at least once every two weeks was part of Liz Vogel’s routine for two years. Why? Because that’s how much she loved her job.
“It was incredibly fun, awesome work, and it was a thrill ride the whole way through,” says the senior-level communications professional, who was working for Mercy Health at the time. She was managing a department of seven in Cleveland while raising an 11-year-old son in Cincinnati.
“I tried to go up to Cleveland every other week initially, and then I tried to do as much as I could from Cincinnati. But really, what that meant was that it wasn’t right for my family or best for the team in Cleveland either—that I couldn’t commit to being there four days a week,” Vogel said.
And then came the breaking point.
“It was the bibliography project!” she said, laughing at the thought of it, and recounting the experience of trying to help her son replace periods with commas over the phone.
“I wasn’t there for him,” she said. “You want to teach your child about how great work can feel when you have a passion for what you’re doing, but you also want to be home enough to give them all the support they need. You come to a point where you realize that you have to have some balance.”
Vogel also began to worry about job security. Her employer had announced a series of organizational changes, including layoffs. She knew she needed to start looking for another job, but just the thought of it was daunting.
“I hadn’t had to hunt for a job in 15 years because all of my previous positions came from relationships I already had in the workplace,” Vogel said. “I knew that positions at my level are fewer and further between, and because I wanted to stay in healthcare, that narrowed it even further.”
Her husband suggested she see what sort of help JVS Career Services could offer, and she found the expertise and compassion she was looking for in Joni Burton and Kim Slaton, JVS Career Services’ CEO and Managing Director, respectively.
“They’re so smart and so professional. And at the same time, they’re so warm and disarming that, while it’s a business relationship, it feels very friendly and collaborative too,” Vogel said. “I felt like I could tell Joni and Kim anything and they would hear it without judgment and offer their complete support and their best professional advice.”
The JVS Career Services team got right to work, helping Vogel refresh her resume, develop talking points for interviews, and compile a list of target employers in Cincinnati.
When a Director of Sales and Marketing position opened up at Cedar Village, Burton and Slaton were among the first to know. They wasted no time sharing news of the opening with Vogel. The interview process was lengthy, but that’s how Vogel knew the opportunity was the right fit for her. Plus, she had the JVS Career Services team assisting her every step of the way—from preparation for the first interview, to help negotiating the right employment package.
“God willing, you’re not going to be searching for a job too many times in your life, so most of us will never be experts at it,” Vogel said. “That’s why it’s so supportive and important to have a team of experts in your corner when you do need to find work.”
But, Vogel pointed out, often a job search is about more than finding work. She credits JVS Career Services with helping her achieve the kind of work-life balance she didn’t think was possible: a job she loves that accommodates her family life, too.
“I get to see the people I’m helping every day. I’m surrounded by staff members who put their whole hearts into the people who come through these doors. And to top it off, my now 13-year-old son had the day off school today. And I was able to go home and have lunch with him!” Vogel marveled. “Because I’m not driving back and forth and I’m not sleeping in hotels, I have a lot more time and energy to put into family life, and ironically, even into work life, too.”
Looking back on the time in her life when four-hour morning commutes were routine and striking a balance wasn’t so easy, Vogel said she has JVS Career Services to thank for helping her find a better way.
“JVS Career Services is really good at helping you identify what matters most so that you’re not just plugging away in another job, but you’re finding a place where you can feel passionate about what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with,” Vogel said. “JVS Career Services will help you stay focused on where the future can take you, and the outcome can be incredible.”