Writers Working for Writers
Log in


Career Coach: Declaration of Independence

by  Pamela Kleibrink Thompson 

Career Coach/Animation/VFX Recruiter-clients incl. Disney,  Fox, Blue Sky/Speaker/Award Winning Writer, PamRecruit87@gmail.com

This  July, declare your independence and stay that way.

A New Way of Thinking

First, think independently. You are not an employee. You are a vendor of specific skills. You are hired by a company for as long as that company requires those skills. When your skill set no longer meets the needs of that company, your employment there will end. That is the nature of the business.

Recognize there is no such thing as job security. One veteran states his life is much like that of a migrant worker and that one should be ready to move on to another company at any moment. To do this, one must have transferable skills that the companies want.

Stay up to date on what the company needs and make sure you have the skills they look for in new hires. Invest in yourself. Take whatever classes/seminars you need to make yourself more valuable to your employer and to future ones.

Once You're In

Most jobs are project based. This means you are hired as the company needs you. If you are hired for a specific project, don't think of yourself as a staff employee, even if the project lasts for many months. You may be hired to work on consecutive projects, but you are still a project hire.

Since you will have many jobs in your career, be a positive, hard-working team player people will want to work with again. Maintain a great attitude and give every job your best, no matter how brief. And remember, your current job may end, but the same employer will hire you again if your work is of high quality and your approach is professional.

Keep your marketing materials up to date (resume, portfolio of clips, writing samples). Network all the time, even when you are employed. The best time to find your next job is when you are still in a job.

The Long Haul

When considering job opportunities, remember in the long run, what you learn is more important than what you earn. The more skills you have, the more employable and valuable you are. At a small company you may have the opportunity to learn many aspects of the business. At a large company you have an opportunity to make many more contacts. Keep in touch with those you work with when they leave the company. These former co-workers may give you a tip to your next job.

When you land your dream job, don't go out immediately and buy that dream car or dream house. Even if you have a staff job, you probably should view yourself as a freelancer. Maintain at least 6 months of expenses in a savings account to help you weather any layoffs, hiatuses or down time.

Once you declare your independence and strive to maintain it, no one will wield undue power or influence over your financial well being again. Don't allow someone to hold you hostage financially. If you dread going to work, it's time to network and get that next job.

The days of retiring from a long career at a single employer are gone. It's important for you to take an entrepreneurial approach to your career. Recognize that you are in business for yourself. That requires hard work to maintain good relationships with clients and to market yourself to potential new clients. Accept independence as a way of life. Prepare for down times, enjoy the good times and welcome the freedom that this provides.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is uniquely qualified as a career coach, independent recruiter and management consultant. She frequently speaks about careers at colleges and universities. You can reach her at PamRecruit@Q.com.


Return to top

Graduate to a Good Life--Fatherly Advice and Wisdom

by Pamela Kleibrink Thompson

June brings graduation and Father's Day, a time when we reflect on the advice of teachers and fathers. I learned a lot from my dad and my father-in-law.


Zoom dadpamreginaforopa90.jpg

My father, Paul Kleibrink, found his passion in 1952, when he discovered computers. This passion was so all-consuming that he couldn't help but share it with those around him. I remember he enthusiastically explained the binary system to me when I was seven. That's great dad, I thought, but what I really want to know is what is 9 + 6?

My father retired from IBM after 40 years, but he is still passionate about computers. Now he teaches other seniors how to use computers. If he wanted to, he could charge for it, but he does it for free, because he loves it.

Before I graduated college, my father gave me the best career advice of all "It's your life. Live it how you want to live it, not how you think others want you to. Do what excites you the most."


Willamette Writers 2020 Conference Is Going Entirely Online

This year, you can SHARE YOUR STORY and LAUNCH YOUR CAREER, all from the comfort of your own home! We will be meeting entirely online this year. Here is what you can expect:

  • Wilwrite20 will be live-streamed. We will have workshops, pitches, critiques, and networking -- all from the comfort of your own home.
  • You will be able to connect one-on-one with agents, producers, managers, and industry professionals -- and the slate will be growing in the coming weeks.
  • There will be film roundtables where you can meet and talk shop, as well as virtual happy hours where you can relax and make new friends.
  • You will also connect with colleagues in virtual hallways, readings, open mics, and evening events.
  • Plus, you will enjoy some special opportunities online that we couldn't before, so expect some REALLY BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS in the coming weeks.

Wilwrite20 will be HALF THE PRICE. We want you to join us, and we think it's important to make the conference accessible during this challenging time. Many of our faculty are even donating their time so you can come. We are a community, and we are here to help each other.

We are so excited to share this conference with you -- our keynotes include Cheryl Strayed, Mitchell S. Jackson, Rosanne Parry, Zoraida C├│rdova, Alex Dang, and oh boy, a really big one coming up soon!

So sign up now! Join your friends online and launch your career this July 31 - August 2, 2020.

Willamette Writers also has other workshops and meetings online. Check all of it out at https://willamettewriters.org/

Career Coach: My Mother's Five Commandments

┬ęCopyright Pamela Kleibrink Thompson

In Mel Brook’s History of the World, Part 1, Moses accidentally drops five of the original fifteen commandments, leaving ten. In the spirit of his humor and also to honor my mom on Mother's Day, here are my mom’s (Sue Kleibrink’s) five commandments to enhance your career and life. Break them at your own peril.

Thou Shalt Not Prejudge Anyone

My mother always gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. She always expected the best of people and most people delivered on her expectations. She had a diverse group of friends who were devoted to her because of her openness and tolerance. We can all benefit from welcoming people into our lives because they bring fresh ideas and perspectives. You cannot judge a book by its cover, nor a person by how he or she appears.

Sue Kleibrink

Thou Shalt Keep Quiet and Listen More.

My mother told me that her aunt used to tell her to keep quiet and listen. By doing this, she would gain the knowledge of the speaker as well as retain her own wisdom. Another advantage to following this advice is that you will be perceived as brilliant at parties, as everyone loves to talk about himself or herself but few of us have the opportunity to regale a listener.

Thou Shalt Lend an Ear–and when wanted–a Hand

Whether dealing with family, friends or clients, begin by listening. Sometimes people just need to air their grievances. Listen to discover the problems and take time to ask more questions to clarify. When the person has had a chance to air everything, thank him for sharing and ask him if he wants ideas on how to solve the problem. He may just want to have someone to listen. If he does want some ideas, brainstorm with him and make sure that both of you agree on the essentials of the problem before discussing solutions.

Sue Kleibrink, photo by Drew Kleibrink

Thou Shalt Use the Right Tool

My mom’s parents owned a hardware store in New York. She always said you need to use the right tool for the job, whatever it is. Do you have the right tools in your tool chest for the job you are doing? That includes the right people on your team. Do you have the knowledge you need to do the job? The right materials? The right attitude? It is easier to do a job with the right tools. If you are building a house, you need a blue print. If you are writing a feature length screenplay you need an outline. If you are building a life in a creative field, you need persistence, a positive attitude, an ability to network, a team spirit and lots of other tools.

Thou Shalt Learn to Try New Things.

Sue Kleibrink, Pamela Kleibrink Thompson, and Kearney Thompson - 3 generations, photo by Lance Thompson

My mom exposed me to all kinds of activities and events when I was a kid and I did the same for my daughter. Unless we try playing baseball, playing the piano, or playing with clay, we may not discover what we really enjoy doing and have a talent for. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. By making mistakes we make great discoveries. When you learned to walk, you kept going even though you were not successful at first. The same holds for any endeavor you are trying to do now. A corollary commandment is thou shalt never stop learning. It is never too late and you are never too old to learn something new. Make it a habit to learn something new every day because by doing so you exercise your brain. Be open to new ideas and new people and new experiences.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter and career coach who spends much of her time listening and helping creative people succeed. She loves her mom Sue Kleibrink who passed away on May 1, 2017, and admires her for her friendly, outgoing attitude and a zillion other things. Pamela has discovered that people are like onions, with many layers. Once shy, Pamela tried a new thing (her mom’s fifth commandment) and now she is a frequent speaker at colleges and conferences around the world. 

To contact Pamela email her at PamRecruit87@gmail.com. You can also connect with her on Linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/pamelathompson, Facebook http://www.facebook.com/PamRecruit and Twitterhttps://twitter.com/#!/PamRecruit.#

Pamela is also the chair of the membership committee of the ICF High Country Chapter (International Coaching Federation) and is on the board of the Idaho Writers Guild. She encourages everyone who can to call your mother even if it's just to tell her you love her.

Titles for Title 1

Part of Idaho Writers Guild's mission is to support literacy in the community. To show our support, IWG launched a fundraising program for Title 1 school libraries. Our first recipient was Grace Jordan Elementary School. We delivered $525 to the school librarian at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. Our next recipient, as nominated by the Grace Jordan librarian, will be Owyhee Elementary. 

Title 1 schools are those with high percentages of children from low-income and disadvantaged families. Title 1 schools are in continual need of funds to maintain adequate libraries. 

All donations are appreciated, including your spare change. Cash and checks are welcome. Please make checks out to IWG. All funds will be deposited into the IWG account until presentation of a check to the recipient school. Donations can be made at all IWG events or by mailing checks to: 

Idaho Writers Guild

PO Box 8862

Boise ID 83707

IWG Board Members present $525 to Grace Jordan Elementary.  Left to right are AK Turner, IWG Board Member; Joan Bigelow, Grace Jordan Elementary Principal; Merilee Marsh, IWG President; and Toni Barry, Grace Jordan Elementary Librarian.

Thanks to the sponsors of the Idaho Writers Guild

 Rediscovered Bookshop


click here to: CONTACT US

Idaho Writers Guild

PO Box 8862

Boise ID 83707

Idaho Writers Guild is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization committed to providing a safe environment for all its members and guests. The IWG has a zero tolerance policy for any form of discrimination on any ground, and from harassment of any type. This includes all members, presenters, and attendees at any and all IWG functions. 

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software