Persisting with Beauty
I am Zariyah. Wife and mother of three beautiful children. Fully employed in a cosmetology career I love. My job search motto: Never compromise for anything less than you deserve.
Let’s be real. Losing a job is tough. The journey back into the workforce isn’t easy, especially during a pandemic. But with Minnesota Job Partners, you’re not alone.
I was laid off as a cosmetology instructor. On the last day of 2020, I took my final walk around the Minnesota School of Cosmetology before relinquishing my key cards.
The Plymouth location was closing permanently due to COVID-19.
Everything was uncertain. Would I need to start over with a new career? Scrap the 26 years of passion I had invested in cosmetology? I figured that I would be at the bottom of the food chain with record unemployment and most businesses shutdown.
Fortunately, I took the advice of a co-worker and called the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). They connected me with my counselor at Minnesota Job Partners – and the hope began. The enrollment process was easy and the people I spoke with helped me figure out my next move. No one made any false promises while my application was being processed. I liked that because the words "promise" or "normal" became obsolete during COVID-19.
While I waited for light to shine – whether red or green – I took free classes and connected with others who, like me, were at square one. I realized that I made the right choice to stand up for my career. My situation: I was 43-years old and I felt it was too late to change careers or settle for any job that crossed my path. So my counselor and I spoke about going back to school for the last certification that would complete my cosmetology license. I remember getting the phone call approval for the tuition and how the rain of hope trickled down my entire being! That was another confirmation that I was on the right career path.
As I navigated through school, I connected well with my counselor, Kate. She became my cheerleader, mentor, and accountability partner. Our monthly check-ins and the informational classes I received from her were a comfort, a help, and often a comic relief from the icky world outside. It was easy to keep her in the loop and share the triumphs and fears as I finalized my program. My greatest challenges I reported to her and without hesitation she gave me options.
A month before I graduated, I began applying for jobs again in hopes that there was something out there stable enough to hire me. I landed three interviews and incidentally landed three job offers. Excited and panicked all at once, I contacted my counselor for guidance. She helped me narrow it down to my current dream job: Cosmetology Classroom and Clinic Floor Instructor at the women’s prison in Shakopee. It’s a full-time state position complete with benefits. A role that will utilize my teaching skills and grace me with opportunities to lead, write, network with other schools, and develop programs to their full potential.