For Lee Honig, getting established in Cincinnati was hard. He and his wife Nina moved from New York in the summer of 2018 after he wrapped up his PhD. “I knew we were making a big leap,” Lee said about the move. “The only place I ever lived was New York. I miss my friends, and I miss my family, but I was really looking to stoke up our lives here and get off to a great start.”
Since Lee and Nina moved to town, they’ve been living with her parents to save money as Lee looked for work. Now that they have taken some time to adjust to Cincinnati, Lee and Nina are ready to have a house of their own. An avid baker and cook, Lee looks forward to the day that he can host dinner parties for friends and family. He also can’t wait to have a big yard so they can play with their niece and nephew, and, at long last, to finally start building his vinyl collection.
Before moving here, Lee completed his Ph.D. in biomedical science research and was working as a post-doctoral research fellow, but he wanted to transition out of the lab and become a medical writer. In addition to building bridges for scientists with his writing, Lee’s mission has always been promoting public intellectualism. “I believe science belongs to everybody; that’s something I’m very passionate about. I really want to make communication more effective between scientists and the general public.”
Nina, who works as a Jewish educator in Cincinnati, suggested Lee contact JVS Career Services to help him find work and create meaningful connections in the city. He reached out and was connected with Senior Career Coach Dedra Perlmutter. “Dedra was extremely welcoming, and we had a really awesome introductory meeting where we got to know each other, which really speaks to their ability to personalize the service towards the individual.”
“Lee wanted to transition out of the academic world and into the business world,” Dedra said. “I worked with him on knowing the cultural differences between those two worlds and how to best present himself and his work when going on interviews and networking events.”
Lee said that within a couple of sessions, Dedra helped him update his resume and turn it into something he is very proud of. “It was like she waved a magic wand over my resume!” Dedra also helped Lee set up a number of interviews, and even though those initial interviews didn’t land him a job right away, Lee didn’t let it discourage him.
Throughout the process, Lee said he found a second home at the JVS Career Services office. Not only was it a place of support and learning, but Dedra and the staff really got to know him and treated him as a friend. “I was able to go to their office and hang out and crack jokes and have fun, but also get things done,” Lee said.
One day he was browsing the job forums and found a job that would be a perfect match for him. He jumped on it, calling Dedra right away. He said all of the other interviews and networking events he had done up to that point are what prepared him to land this job. “They were the ingredients that set me up for success in terms of how I should talk to interviewers, how to showcase my strengths, and how to own up to my weaknesses.” Lee had an offer within a week of his first contact with the company.
But he didn’t just find one job, he found two. “When I first sat down with Dedra, she said it was going to be either feast or famine, and I think that’s really true,” Lee said while laughing. He works from home full-time as a medical writer for a company called R&Q Solutions, and he’s also working a part-time job as a scientific communications specialist with a local company called Eccrine Systems. If that’s not enough, Lee continues to tutor area students. “That was something I started doing when we first moved here to help bring in some extra money. A lot of people asked if I would give that up once I got a full-time job, but I can’t abandon my kids.”
When you walk in the doors at JVS Career Services, the first thing you’ll see is an over-sized bellhop bell on the reception desk. It has a large sign saying not to touch it, unless you get a job. “It may sound silly, but the feeling of going into that office and surprising everybody and just ringing that bell, it’s just a wonderful feeling to celebrate with them after going down this road together.”
Lee said that he and Nina gave themselves a year to accomplish three goals: overall happiness, Lee finding a job, and to find a home of their own. “I’m excited to say that we had an offer accepted on a house in Hyde Park,” Lee said during a recent follow up interview. He said the offer was accepted with five days to spare before their one-year anniversary of living in Cincinnati.
“It boggles my mind, with how slow and arduous everything was. Then boom, everything just clicked into place. We’re now solidified here in Cincinnati. I’ve met so many amazing people; I’m building my network. There are so many times I said to myself that I don’t know if I could have done this on my own. This is a service that is here for people. They take in complete strangers, and they become this extension of your ability to achieve your goals, and it’s amazing that this exists in Cincinnati. It’s amazing that people can have that sort of professional sanctuary. This stuff doesn’t exist in New York. This is a really special thing, and I still can’t believe that I’m riding that cloud that I have a job, that I have three jobs, and I’m getting to where I need to be. It’s a true blessing, and for anyone walking into that office that’s looking for opportunity, they’re going to be in a good place.”
Even though Lee has landed a job, his relationship with Dedra and the team is continuing. “It’s not just an opportunity to get a job,” he said, “it’s an opportunity to get to know people and build your network so you can continue to grow in ways that you didn’t think you were able to.” Lee swings by the office from time-to-time with a plate or two of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. “As long as he keeps doing that, we’ll keep him around,” joked Dedra.
As for Lee, he got a little choked up when talking about Dedra and his experience. “She is one of the most incredible people I’ve met since moving here. She was a confidant for me during this process. If I was ever feeling consumed by everything I was trying to do, she was there to provide that extra layer of support for me, and I think that really matters. From the bottom of my heart, Dedra was really instrumental in making sure I got to where I needed to be.”