BIO

Christina Bruni

Christina Bruni is an Author and Advocate helping individuals live full and robust lives. Her expertise lies in:

Blogging/Social Media:

Blogs:

Workingassetscareerguide.com gives cutting-edge information about the modern workplace.

Fullandrobustlife.com talks about food, fitness, and mental and physical health.

Girlontheleft.com offers musings on beauty, fashion, and things Left of the Dial, after her memoir.

Twitter account: @ChristinaBruni

Author of Memoir and Self-Help:

Her first critically acclaimed book is Left of the Dial: A Memoir of Schizophrenia, Recovery, and Hope. Forthcoming: Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers.

Job Search Coaching and Resume Editing:

For over 12 years as a professional librarian, Christina has had a niche helping patrons create resumes and conduct job searches. Numerous individuals she has coached have obtained job interviews that led to job offers.

Mental Health Peer Counseling and Pro Bono Speaking:

10/20Perspectives on Schizophrenia online panel, Queens Public Library
10/18NPO Media Podcast 10 on Finding the Career You Love https://www.npomedia.org
7/18“Write Your Story to Heal Your Self” workshop, 12th Annual Peer Conference at NYU
4/18“Hope for Healing” Brooklyn Clubhouse
11/17“Succeeding at a Job You Love” NAMI-New York State Educational Conference
10/16“Left of the Dial: Thoughts on Recovery” NAMI-NYC Metro
2/10“Going After Your Goals with Gusto” Zucker-Hillside IPRT
6/08“5 Factors in Recovery from Schizophrenia” Poster Session, NAMI San Diego Conference

Disability and Social Justice Advocacy:

Christina Bruni is currently a Board Member for City Voices, a media outlet with an online newspaper. She joined the board in 2005 when she first started writing the Bruni in the City column for the paper. Today she alternates these articles with the Career Corner column.

From 2005 to 2016, Christina was a Board Member for Baltic Street AEH, Inc. This peer-run agency provides advocacy, employment, and housing to individuals living with mental illnesses.

From 2007 to 2015, Christina was the Health Guide at a HealthCentral mental health website. There she wrote groundbreaking news articles about recovery and answered questions in the Q&A forum.

You can contact Christina at cb@christinabruni.com.

Excerpt: Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers

The Number-One Secret to Getting a Job

Being Resourceful and Taking a Creative Approach

As early as the 1990s I've been creating resumes for mental health peers. In all this time, I've seen that the worst mistake is not doing volunteer work or an internship or learning a skill when you're unemployed.

Target your leisure time activities by creating “jobs” you can do in your spare time to list on your resume. This is a great segue into paid employment. One of the best things you can do is volunteer work. Serving on a board is a skilled version of volunteer work to consider for obtaining professional experience.

Being resourceful—taking a creative approach to finding your right work— will enable you to see possibilities you didn't know existed. You might even be able to create a job that fills a need for an employer. Here, I'll focus on the number-one secret to finding a job when, like a lot of us peers, you might not have work experience or have gotten sick and had to stop working for a spell.

Whatever the scenario, I recommend doing volunteer work in the field you're interested in or working at an internship to get experience to put on a resume. You can do this while you collect a disability check. Provided you're not paid, or your earnings are below the cut-off amount you will be able to keep the job.

Working Assets will talk in detail about internships.

Finding Volunteer Work to Get Experience

Log on to https://www.idealist.org to find volunteer work or paid employment in the non-profit sector. At https://www.volunteermatch.org you can type in your zip code and skills to find a compatible labor of love you could enjoy doing.

AmeriCorps is the domestic version of the Peace Corps. Log on to https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps to find such opportunities in the area where you live. Ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things is what makes this country great.

A word about volunteer work and internships: treat them like a regular job as if you were paid. Show up on time. Dress appropriately. Be professional. When it gets slow ask if there is something else you can do or added responsibilities you could take on.

Better yet, figure out on your own what you can do to improve your job. Tell your supervisor you’d like to do these things. Take initiative to be a motivated self-starter. Bosses love this.

You can do volunteer work instead of or in addition to attending a Clubhouse if you are unable to work at paid employment. Doing volunteer work gives you actual physical and mental health benefits. Helping others is a way to transmute your emotional pain.

If you need an added incentive, remember that you can use volunteer work as relevant unpaid career experience on a resume that helps account for your time and your work ethic. I would not be far off in saying that a lot of us with a mental health condition experience gaps in our employment because we got sick early in life during the prime working years when people traditionally start and rise in paid positions.

Turning Volunteer Work Experience into Life Success

Now I'll end here by talking about a singular sensation—and she wasn't on Broadway. I'll talk about a young teen volunteer with an extraordinary work ethic. This teen volunteered at one of the jobs where I worked. She didn't hear from us right away so came back within one month to follow-up. Presto—we told her right then that she could start as a volunteer. All this teen did for three years was shelve books and she did it with a smile. “Service with a smile” does count.

At first there seemed nothing outstanding about this quiet, dedicated young woman. Yet she earned early admission to Yale University. Four years later she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Right out of college she got a job with Credit Suisse.

Shortly after she obtained her degree I saw her and she looked older, confident—like she had seen the world. Be careful—the meek will inherit the earth right now because underneath their unassuming demeanor they're plotting and planning how to seize the planet.

You wouldn't have known from looking at this teen that she was ambitious. Yet that's exactly the point: you can treat others with dignity and be down-to-earth and get ahead. You don't have to be a shark to succeed.

For her and others the path to success started with volunteer work.

Christina Bruni