I am happily employed now two days per week (Saturdays and Mondays) at Saint Louis Cellars. I also work special events there in the evenings for them, when they need me; for example, this past week I poured wine at a wine tasting event for the Women Lawyer’s Association of Greater St. Louis—a very nice group of very powerful lawyers and judges and top-tier law school students.

The Saint Louis Cellars Web page says it all:

“Saint Louis Cellars is the newest, hippest wine store in town bringing a myriad of fab offerings with its friendly atmosphere, cool labels, and wine tastings. In addition to selling wines ‘by the taste’—Cool, Mellow, Rich, Sweet, etc.—Saint Louis Cellars has event space that is available for everything from intimate wine dinners to large charity parties.  Every bottle leaves the store “Packaged for a Party.” Saint Louis Cellars is located just north of Manchester Rd. on Big Bend in Maplewood.”

On Saturdays I work on the sales floor there, greeting customers, answering questions, rotating stock, and pouring wine at the free wine tasting we do each week. It’s a lot of fun—I keep chuckling and thinking, “Yeah: I am getting paid for this!”

On Mondays I write a post for a new blog they have called “The Crush Pad.” It’s a lay person’s guide to understanding and enjoying wine. Perfect for me to write, since I’m not an expert on the vino (yet—but I’m learning.) On Mondays, I get to sit at the Mac laptop in the store and write the blog. If the shop gets busy, I jump in and work with customers.

I have been learning a lot about wine, wineries, grape varietals, countries that grow grapes, how climatic conditions generally and weather conditions in a particular year effect a vintage, fermentation processes, storage, bottle closure methods, alternative packaging, and other good stuff.

I have the opportunity to research these things when I work on the blog, but I also read a lot on my own time. I have been joking that I read “the bible” every day now—The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeill, which, by the way, we sell at Saint Louis Cellars. I’ve also learned to get out of my rut and try a few things besides Chardonnay!

So, I have been posting less often to this site lately (at least not as often as I had been when I first started it), not because I was bored with doing it, but because I was doing some soul searching, researching and networking in my quest for something new to do for employment.

I’ve been at my job in public relations with a local “building design, development & planning firm” for 10.5+ years. There’s not much opportunity for me to move up, at this point, and I’m not a status-quo person. I wondered what else I might do for a living.

I had some time to reflect on all this, too, because that “building…firm” cut back my hours from full time to part time (24 hrs./week) on February 28, 2009, due to economic conditions. That was when I began this blog, and as I talked to so many other “creatives” through interaction here about their job searches, my cognitive wheels started turning about my own situation.

So, how did I find my new job at Saint Louis Cellars? Through Facebook!

Just goes to show that social media is a powerful networking tool, if you know how to use it. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that the whole hiring process right now totally sucks—that it’s impossible to speak to a human, nobody gets back about resumes received, about an applicant’s status after an interview, etc. Well, social media goes around those “official channel” roadblocks; learn to use it, if you’re encountering those kinds of problems.

Another complaint I hear regularly is people saying they’re “old,” which I take to mean they are “over 40,” since that’s when Equal Employment Opportunity Laws begin to cover us for age discrimination in the workplace; I hear that complaint coupled with this being the worst economy since the 1930s.

Well, automation in the hiring problem is a hurdle, no doubt about it. There is age discrimination in hiring, too. And, yes, this is a frighteningly bad and long-running “bear market,” as they say on Wall Street; however, I’m older than all of you reading this, I’m sure, and I found a job in this same bad economy doing something in which I have no true, primary expertise (i.e., depth of knowledge of wine.)

What I do have is up-to-date technical skills, enthusiasm out the yin-yang, and something in me that says, “Of course I can do that!”

So, I spent six hours over the New Year’s holiday mapping out transferable skills that I might use in “the wine trade.” My plan was to attend the premiere St. Louis food-and-wine trade show the last weekend of January at the Chase Park Plaza—I was going to paper that place with copies of my resume! Nobody was going to leave there without one!

I also had been following a few wine-related companies (and people in that trade) on Twitter and Facebook. One local business really stood out to me: Saint Louis Cellars. I took a chance and, early one Tuesday afternoon, the week before the shindig at the Chase, I sent my resume to one of the co-owners, whom I’d been following on Facebook. By lunch time the next day, I had a call from him saying he’d like to talk to me.

So, that’s how found a new job in a new field in the worst economy in seven decades—and yes, I am over 40; heck, I’m over 50. If I can do it, you can do it, too. Get creative, stay motivated, and if you want a copy of the successful resume I put together for this job search, leave a comment so I have your e-mail address.