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The job of finding a job: Westport writer's experiences chart the road back in new book

Updated 1:55 pm, Sunday, January 26, 2014
  • Westport resident Dwain Schenck turned the negative of losing his job into a positive with the recent release of his first book -- ├ČReset: How to Beat the Job-Loss Blues and Get Ready for Your Next Act" -- chronicling his experiences. Photo: Jarret Liotta / Westport News contributed
    Westport resident Dwain Schenck turned the negative of losing his job into a positive with the recent release of his first book -- ├ČReset: How to Beat the Job-Loss Blues and Get Ready for Your Next Act" -- chronicling his experiences. Photo: Jarret Liotta

 

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Sometimes what feels like the end is just the beginning.

That was the case for Dwain Schenck, whose new book, "Reset: How to Beat the Job-Loss Blues and Get Ready for Your Next Act," not only launched his career in a new direction, but revitalized his spirits, as well.

The story began in 2012 when Schenck, who lives in Westport with his wife and three children, was let go from his job at MasterCard, where he was vice president of public relations for U.S. markets. "I had never been let go before, and I thought it would be fairly easy for me to come back into the job market," he said.

But things did not proceed as he had anticipated, and like millions of others facing the fickle fallout of the economic slump, Schenck struggled to get back on his feet.

"After a couple of months of looking, I started to realize this is like no other time in history," he said. Like others, he suffered the range of ragged emotions shared by middle-aged people in the same predicament.

"I've lost all self-confidence," he said. "I have no skills. I'm a complete failure and I'm never going to get hired again. These were the feelings that I was going through."

Fortunately, Schenck's longtime friend, Mika Brzezinski -- author and co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, gave him some game-changing advice. "We were having dinner and I was telling her about my problems finding a job. ... She told me, `You need to write about it, because that's one of your major skillsets.' "

"His ability to put it into words in our private conversations made me realize that this man was made to write this book," said Brzezinski, who had experienced similar frustrations during her own period of unemployment years earlier. In fact, she shares about some of them in the lengthy foreword she wrote for "Reset."

"What Dwain was saying about his experience was something that resonated so deeply with me during my time as an unemployed person," she said. "I knew that our story was repeated millions of times over around the country -- far worse and far better depending on the case -- but the basic feelings and the psychology of losing your job was the same."

Dan Ambrosio, senior editor at Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books, said that while there are other books on the market with advice on ways to hone job-hunting skills, Schenck offers readers a personal approach that's unique.

"While `Reset' certainly offers timely, helpful tactics ... Dwain's approach is much more heartfelt, as he opens up about his own experience with a period of unemployment," he said. "We feel that readers will appreciate how `Reset' does not flinch in exploring the realities of job loss, as Dwain shares not only his own experiences, but the experiences of others, including both celebrities and everyday professionals when it comes to your family, finances and overall well-being."

Not only does Schenck recount his struggles to regain his economic footing, but he includes the words and wisdom of successful professionals, including Donald Trump, comedian Larry David, publisher Christie Hefner, real estate tycoon Mort Zuckerman and ad exec Donny Deutsch.

"I think if you put some of the things in the book to work for you, you'll probably land in a better place quicker in the end," Schenck said. "I mean, the advice is really great."

Schenck has also created a website, which not only introduces the book, but affords people the chance to get involved with activities and job-related features.

"I think the message is, this book will help you navigate one of the hardest times of your life," he said.

Schenck plans to discuss his new book during an appearance Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble bookstore, 1076 Post Road E.

The website for his book is www.resetyourfuture.com.