It’s Labor Day. For some it’s great shopping deals, for others it’s a 3-day vacation with family and friends.
However, it was originally a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Unfortunately, many struggle today with unemployment and yesterday, Patch looked at the story of , 55, who is a father of four. He was the casualty of one of AT&T Wireless’ large company layoffs.
Fanara is also on the executive board of the , which is a free networking and support group for unemployed Rocklanders. Regina Seeley is also on the executive board.
“I went there once when (the RJN) was (a job club that was) a part of the Rockland Guidance Center,” said Seeley. However, when the center was defunded last year, Fran Oldenburger, founded the (RJN).
“I became an active participant with RJN in January. I just went to the New City Library and saw it on the calendar, so I showed up,” said Seeley.
With two dogs and five cats, Seeley is a fifth generation Rockland County resident, specifically of Stony (Grassy) Point. In January 2012, she was part of a RIF (Reduction in Force).
“They got rid of my entire department.”
Seeley comes from a human resources background. She was a leadership trainer and coach and would train frontline and executive management.
“I coached them on disciplines that a leader would need—interviewing, conducting meetings, accountability, training, performance reviews, legal compliance, scheduling, hiring/recruitment, computer skills, all the skills a manager or executive would need to conduct business,” she said. “I was responsible at one point for 85 managers.”
Her previous position kept her traveling. A lot.
“It was 75 percent travel. I was a road warrior.” Through the RJN, Seeley has “made many friends.”
“It’s been nice to meet people. I used to travel extensively so I have no friends in the county,” she added.
She has applied her expertise to RJN.
“Being part of the (RJN) executive board, I can also help others in the community that are unemployed,” she said, adding that she helps with job descriptions, drew up a draft for expectations for members and is the administrator for the group’s Linked In page.
Currently, Seeley is actively job seeking. “It’s a tough job market today. People today are working harder than ever to keep their jobs.”
“It has been the most devastating thing I’ve been through,” she added that you can lose someone you love from death, but unemployment means “you lose part of yourself.”
“I’m a very hard worker. If it weren’t for this economy I wouldn’t be in this position. I work outside of the confines of what I’m expected to do.”
For this 51-year-old, a big change in her life is that she’s stationary now.
“I miss traveling. Some of the most beautiful things I ever got to experience was through the window of a plane,” she said, adding that she’s loved seeing things like lightning and fireworks during a flight.
After becoming unemployed, Seeley re-evaluated her options.
“I could have gone down the other path which is management, but I have chosen to stay with training. I’m trying to reinvent myself also. ”
“At the heart of me, I am a trainer, but I have worked in specific industries.” She plans to look into being a trainer in the technology or biotech fields because “there is a huge growth in those industries.”
She also is open to becoming a leadership trainer.
“I have 25 years of management and leadership experience. I was a good leader and thoroughly enjoyed that role also.”
She hopes to find a company that she can stay with as long as she did her previous companies. She was at one company for 16 years and 17 for the other.
She’s also keeping busy by volunteering a lot in her chosen field.
She’s a computer coach at the adult learning center at and has done a few presentations at job networking clubs and libraries for those preparing for interviews.
“I also offer motivational workshops for non profits in Rockland County,” she said.
Motivation and optimism is on Seeley’s side. Her words of advice for others in her unemployment boat is to keep moving forward.
“Even though this is hard, it’s not about you, it’s about the economy and the current state of the job market. Try and hold it together as best as you can because it’s not easy. And keep looking and you will land something.”