For many years, Floral Park native Valentina Janek has championed for the middle-income, midlife residents on Long Island as the president and founder of the Long Island Breakfast Club, which provides positivity, advocacy, support and career counseling for these residents after they come out of the corporate world. Janek has continued her impact on the community with the publication of her novel From Fired to Freedom—How Life After the Big, Bad Boot Gave Me Wings, a compilation of stories from those who have turned the struggles of being laid off in the middle of their lives into positive outcomes.
“The book is separate from the club, but it was derived because of the club,” said Janek.
Janek herself has experience coming out of the corporate world and attempting to re-enter the workforce with too much experience, education and a cost of living that is not appealing to hiring companies. After being let go from her job as an administrative operations manager at CMP Media, Janek realized the challenges middle class, midlife individuals face if let go from their jobs. The creation of the Long Island Breakfast Club and the publication of this novel were the result.
“We help people who come on hard times and I was one of those people,” said Janek, who has funneled this passion into the growth of the club, which also provides networking, social-preneuring, mentoring and advocacy tips for its members.
Six years in the making, the novel From Fired to Freedom, is a collective compilation of accounts from individuals, members and friends of the Long Island Breakfast Club, who have received what Janek calls the “proverbial pink slip.” Aside from Janek, the 377-page novel is made up of accounts from 77 separate individuals and divided into sections comprised of funny interviews, positivity, facing reality, figuring out options, retirement, and experiences with former employers.
“I finished this book because of the treasured people that came on board with me,” explained Janek. “Even though you did get that boot, you can survive and you will.”
Janek hopes the accounts in the book will do more to spread awareness about the crisis faced by midlife residents in the middle class and the help the Long Island Breakfast Club can provide.
“This is a combination of people that get it,” said Janek. “You’re not alone, which is how you feel when you lose a job. The worst things in life are a job loss, personal loss and moving. Most of the stories in this book are very positive and everything has a silver lining.”
Janek’s biggest goal is to invoke motivation and inspiration.
“My biggest mantra is to tell people to get up, get dressed and show up, and that is what I will write in every book that I sign,” said Janek.
The novel will be for sale on Janek’s website and on Amazon. Moving forward, Janek looks to expand the Long Island Breakfast Club by commissioning a class on how to write a book, CPR training and continued networking and counseling.
“I want to be that person people want to hear to be positive and help others,” she said. “I want to explain to employees to be ready for the boot when it happens.”