QUEENSTOWN — What does this year’s graduate or the parent of the college graduate want more than anything else? Quick hint: Two words. Gainful employment — a job that starts the career rolling and income to pay off student loans and meet other obligations.
Local author and mental health therapist Loriann Oberlin, MS, LCPC has helped many individuals facing burnout or disillusionment in their jobs, adults changing careers, and young people just starting out. Oberlin began her first career decades ago, graduating college in the midst of a recession in the 1980s with a liberal arts degree. Her goal was to earn money in a communications field. To keep her skills sharp and some positive cash flow, she developed a side gig helping other job seekers with their resumes.
Little did she know how this one writing job would lead to others, such as teaching writing and public relations skills, doing newsletters for non-profits, writing newspaper and magazine articles, creating greeting cards, and ultimately becoming an author. Six non-fiction titles later, published by traditional publishing houses, Oberlin made a career change herself and earned her master’s degree and post-master’s certificate in clinical counseling from Johns Hopkins University. Today, she has a private practice in Easton.
“If clients are stressed and unsure how to present themselves, we’ll discuss job search practices and give a quick look to the resume they’re using, as part of some solution-focused strategies to lessen anxiety and improve their self-confidence,” said Oberlin.
In that respect, her two backgrounds dovetail. “I know what it’s like to have that creative mindset,” she said. “If it’s not being fed, it can affect one’s mood. Very often, we look at the whole person as well as all of the roles active in their lives.”
Oberlin said when people aren’t happy it can be that their needs aren’t being fulfilled. A job switch can occur, but sometimes, by adding an avocation or volunteering, they live more congruently with their values.
“Seven steps I think can really help people when they look for work: positive self-talk, exercise and good self-care, reading the right resources, treating a job search as if it is a job, volunteering to improve outlook and perspective, developing a side gig for positive cash flow and fulfillment, and learning cognitive-behavioral techniques (CBT) for those anxious or down days,” Oberlin said.
At work in her practice, she discusses certain career resources and a client’s personal and job-related values. Inside the pages of her latest book “Writing to Make Money: Short Projects,” Oberlin offers similar advice only directed to creative types. When bills mount and there isn’t enough to make ends meet, she suggests thinking outside the box and considering what’s known today as the side gig or encore career for older individuals. Side gigs can mean driving for Uber or Lyft, teaching, tutoring, pet sitting, or since a lot of work can be done by telecommuting, writing for online platforms or publishers.
She helps people to adjust their perspectives and challenge old habits. “I tell writers, in particular, to think about earning money, not windfall; new options but not best-seller lists and stardom,” she said.
The book’s primary objective is to outline profitable paths as well as the author’s get-income-flowing-first approach. Chapters show how to make money through: short articles, on-hold messages, hints and recipes, greeting cards, resumes and other business projects, humor, parodies and more.
Oberlin will be at Book Warehouse, Queenstown Outlets on Friday, June 14, from noon to 4 p.m., personalizing copies of “Writing to Make Money: Short Projects” especially for graduation or Father’s Day gifts.
At this signing, Oberlin will also have Chesapeake women’s novels she’s written under her fiction pen name Lauren Monroe. Her series The Maryland Shores is popular among those female readers who are fans of other Chesapeake novels in the same genre as well as Hallmark’s Chesapeake Shores. The series titles include “Letting Go: The Maryland Shores” and “Second Chances: The Maryland Shores.”