Just four years after West Hempstead resident Valentina Janek helped launch the job-networking Long Island Breakfast Club in 2006, she was inspired to share the stories of people seeking employment after losing their jobs in middle age. Eventually, she started to take notes and compile those tales into a book. The Breakfast Club will have a special networking party for the book on Feb. 26.
Like many members of the Breakfast Club, Janek was laid off from her job. Thirteen years ago, she worked as an operations manager and chief morale officer for CMP Media. Janek realized that she was not alone, and that middle-aged people have a difficult time finding work.
The new book, “From Fired to Freedom — How Life After the Big Bad Boot Gave Me Wings,” is a compilation of stories about middle-aged people who faced the struggles of losing their jobs, and how they moved forward from those experiences.
“The bottom line is this: The middle-aged are overlooked on Nassau County,” Janek said. “I’ve met with local politicians on this, but it’s still an issue that needs to be addressed.”
The organization provides employment and career counseling, workshops, interviewing classes and referrals, among other assistance, to help those seeking employment after losing jobs in middle age. The club also hosts meetings each month, which include sessions at which attendees can discuss job interviews and listen to motivational speeches. At their meeting in December, the club featured former Snapple spokeswoman Wendy Kaufman, once known as the Snapple Lady.
Now the club has roughly 50 members, including residents of both Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Janek, who wrote her first book, “In Love and Friendship,” in 2008, said that it brought her a new life. She said she hopes that through her book and her personal experiences, she can bring more awareness to middle-aged people who are looking for jobs.
“This is a very exciting for myself and the club,” Janek said. “I can’t wait to see how everything turns out.”
The event will take place at the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island, at 38 Old Country Road in Garden City. There is a $20 fee per person.