Eleanor Baldwin learned about change, flexibility and adaptability at an early age when her father worked for the Atomic Energy Commission and moved the family around the country to sites where nuclear weapons were being developed.
The lessons Baldwin learned in the 1940s and ’50s about frequently changing schools, friends and jobs built a foundation for the advice she has shared with adults since 1979, when the longtime Lake Highlands resident became a licensed career counselor.
They also led to some of the tips she shared in a 1991 book called “300 New Ways to Get a Better Job.” Some of them also will contribute to the more detailed advice she is including in a second book about job-hunting and the experiences – good and bad – that some of her clients have described.
“Job hunting is really sales,” Baldwin says. “It doesn’t matter how good your credentials are if you can’t sell.”
Baldwin learned the art of salesmanship early. She landed her first office job at 13 after convincing the boss she was 16. From that point on, she was hooked on working.
She worked while attending high school and college. She met her husband while working, and she worked after having two sons.
Eventually, when she needed more flexibility in her schedule to care for sick parents and in-laws, Baldwin opened her own business and started teaching other people about finding jobs.
“I think Eleanor understands people and their strengths and weaknesses much better than other people do,” says Herb Paul, a former client who also referred his daughter and friends to Baldwin.
Paul consulted Baldwin about five years ago when he was seeking a different way to use his financial skills and ultimately landed the job he wanted at Merrill Lynch Asset Management, where he is a senior investment counselor.
People also call career counselors when they’re having trouble finding a job in their field, when they want to change careers, when they want a better job, when they’ve been laid off, and for other job and career advice.
Sometimes clients are under a great deal of stress, which can be transferred to the counselor. Baldwin finds her therapy in exercise classes such as aerobics and street jammin’, a type of dance exercise done to rap music.
“When I do street jammin’, I’m the oldest person in the class by far,” she says.
“I think the job market is going to be pretty flat, and if it’s upward, it will probably be barely upward.”
For people hoping for a rapid recovery from the economic upheaval that has wracked Texas since the mid-1980s, Baldwin has only cautious optimism.
Market trends indicate at least four likely growth areas for jobs, she says:
- Medical/technical fields,
- High-tech fields,
- Environmental/technical fields,
- Elderly services.
Even if you have never worked in one of these areas, chances are good that you have transferable skills, Baldwin says in her book.
And one of her final pieces of advice: “Never, never give up.”