Don’t be Afraid of the Bumps in the Road

1 03 2011

How can a bad thing be good?

There is a rut on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County with my name on it. Well, not really, but it became a major milestone in my own life.

A mountain biking accident which shattered my wrist seemed like just one more thing in a series of bad things, but it really became the catalyst for something bigger and better than I could have imagined. Especially when I was face down in the dirt with the breath knocked out of me, wondering what the heck I’d just done to myself.

The funny thing is – looking back, I’d do it all over again!

Each of you faces your own unique bumps in the road, and this is how to embrace them.

Moments before my wipeout, I was thinking that I was going too fast. But I had made the arduous trip up the mountain, with the encouragement of my brother and sister, and was looking forward to the fun part – the effortless ride down!

A little voice warned me I was going too fast, but I purposely overrode it saying to myself, “Don’t be so cautious, nothing will happen. Just push yourself and have fun.” I even yelled, “Woo hoo” out loud! But just around the next turn was a deep rut. I hit it too fast, exceeding my own skill limit.

Flying through the air, my life changed at that moment. But I’m glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, even though the results were not what I expected.

In your own life, many things can be your own bumps in the road.

I’m sharing my story to encourage you when you’re in the midst of set backs, and that it’s often the bad things that are actually good things after all. Something that initially looks grim, or even tragic, can become a transformational experience that can be the greatest gift or motivator in disguise.

My broken wrist was more of a psychic blow after a series of wallops, and I was wondering if there wasn’t some message from the universe that I just wasn’t getting!

This was during the Dot Com bust. I had no client work, and even worse, I had a client go bankrupt which cost me tens of thousands of dollars. Now I had medical costs on top of it.

I had no money coming in and was working hard on the KIT List in my free time helping others find jobs. But the irony is that I had no work myself. Friends didn’t think to refer work to me since they thought I was well connected and already had work. I was in a spiritual desert, not feeling God’s presence, was working hard on health and fitness but ended up with a very expensive broken wrist (I delight the TSA going through security with six screws and a large plate in my wrist).

I was hemorrhaging my hard-earned savings at a frightening rate. This was on top of several big things that hit, and it felt like I was being punished for something I hadn’t done.

But it was the fear and desperation that I was feeling that became the catalyst for good.

I’ve now made my peace with fear, realizing that it can be a powerful motivator instead.

For seven years, I’d been doing the KIT List late at night after finishing my consulting work during the day. It really felt like a monster on my back. It needed daily care and feeding, and it kept growing and growing. Friends kept saying I should charge for the KIT List, but I didn’t feel comfortable about it. The KIT (Keep In Touch) List started quite by accident while I was just keeping in touch with my friends from Silicon Graphics, and I never intended it as a business. It was more of a moral obligation and I felt a huge responsibility to the people on the list who were top-notch professionals who were out of work. They were friends and friends-of-friends who’d referred each other to the list. Early on, it was the inside scoop on jobs that weren’t listed anywhere else as SGI friends shared job openings at their new companies.

But when I had those times when I felt that I couldn’t keep the list going, I would get an email from someone on the list who had a really tough situation — and that made me feel that I had no right to shut it down when others faced harder situations than mine. I’ll never forget the woman who wrote me who had a husband dying of cancer, she was the sole income earner for their three children, and she had lost her job.

Amazing help often comes in the hardest times. Amy Sloniker Plunkett, my friend from SGI, Val Cienega, a job seeker from the KIT List community, and my sister, Kelly Connelly, stepped in to help with the heavy moderator workload as volunteers. Other friends offered advice and encouragement.

A broken wrist doesn’t seem like a big deal in the scheme of things, but it was the last in a series of blows that profoundly shook me.
It forced me, out of sheer fear and desperation, to take the KIT List to the next level, creating the web site, getting programmers, and providing better email delivery. I finally had to charge a very small fee to employers and recruiters posting jobs so I could finally pay my wonderful moderators, designers and programmers, and to make the KIT List a better tool to help great people find great jobs.

I still need my “day job” as a marketing consultant to pay my own bills, but if God hadn’t lighted a fire under me to do something about the KIT List, it would not around to be serving the wonderful 70,000 people in our community today. I’ve changed my own perception of the KIT List from being “the beast” on my back to seeing it as the “The Little Engine That Could.” It’s really the power of friends helping friends that makes this community special. I still have a lot of things I want to do to make the KIT List better, and with good friends and limited funds, I hope to be adding them over time. We are glad that the KIT List has helped so many people find great jobs, yet we want to build on that even more.

The worst thing can ultimately end up being the best thing after all.

For those of you who are facing your own bumps (or far bigger) in the road, I want to encourage you to take heart. Keep moving forward with courage and integrity, don’t be afraid to ask for help (many friends would be delighted to pitch in and return favors you’ve done for them), be willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone (scary, but worth it!), and realize that you have gifts and talents to offer to friends, family, non-profits, companies, and to the world. You have gifts to offer even if you don’t have a penny in your pocket.

Hang in there and you will be able to look back on what may have been a dark chapter in your life to see that it was a catalyst to something infinitely better than you could have ever imagined!

Bad things can become a transformational experience to take your talents and character to a higher level, bring special people into your life, deepen your faith, and redirect your path to something that will exceed your expectations.

PLEASE share your own stories in the comments section of this blog.

It will  encourage other people in our KIT List community. Thanks!

Closing the Book on this Amazing KIT List Adventure!

8 02 2023

My dear friends and KIT List Community,

With heartfelt gratitude and a deep appreciation for each of you in this remarkable community, I want to let you know that I’m closing the book on this incredible KIT List adventure this February.

After 25 ½ years, I want to thank you all for being a part of this unique community that grew to over 72,000 top professionals simply by word of mouth and the power of friends helping friends. We estimate that over 135,000 people have been a part of the KIT List community as people unsubscribed as they found jobs, and then returned when they were looking again.

Thanks to you, we’ve been able to share over 176,000 job postings. We’ve also had many free “FriendWorking” events to learn a better way to network by helping others first. I’m grateful to the many hiring experts who generously shared their inside tips both in person and online in our free hiring experts panel events.

I’ll still keep many of the job tips and career management resources up online, as well as parts of the KIT List site. Please see the Resources section below for the links!

I’ve had the honor of meeting many of you in person over the years and connecting by email or phone. I’ve been touched by the quiet courage and heroism of so many who lost their jobs but had families depending upon them – often in very adverse situations like a dying spouse, a sick child, or some special need that made their burden particularly heavy. Yet their spirit of hopefulness, and the desire to do whatever they could to provide for their families kept me inspired to keep the KIT List going during the many times over the years I just wanted to close everything down.

A Time for Something New

Now that there are so many strong job search and career platforms, the KIT List has served its mission and purpose.

I’ve been hoping to dedicate my time to some new things that have been on my heart for a long time. It’ll be involving creativity and kids, who are our hope and future! I’ve also been winding down the KIT List for the past few years since I haven’t had the bandwidth that it demands.

The team at one of the many KIT List Events (Amy, me, Kelly)

I originally planned to close the KIT List in early 2020 – but then COVID hit the whole world. So, I didn’t feel I could close the community in good conscience when so many were out of work during such unprecedented times. That’s when my sister and co-moderator, Kelly, and I created videos to encourage everyone, and provide tips via interviews with hiring experts on how to get a job during a worldwide pandemic. The links to the “The Corona Videos” series are in the Resources section below.

A Bit of Background

In case you don’t know our story, I had no idea what I’d accidentally started in 1997 with my simple “Keep in Touch” email list with my friends at SGI. Had I known what it would entail back in 1997… I would have run for the hills! But I really believe it was God’s idea since I never intended to start anything like this. As friends told other friends about the KIT List, it grew to what I jokingly call “72,000 of my closest friends!” But once it took a life of its own, I just wanted to be a good caretaker of this unique community (that predated LinkedIn and the big job platforms).

It really meant a lot to hear from many of you when you got a job, and how heartening to hear that many of you landed multiple jobs from the KIT List! Someone recently told me that they’d landed four jobs over the years! It was so fantastic to hear from so many recruiters and employers that the KIT List community was their “secret sauce” for finding top candidates.

My Dad was the Real Inspiration for the KIT List

It was actually my Dad who modeled the spirit of helping many friends by keeping in touch over the years through phone calls, helping them find jobs, making hospital visits, or a sending handwritten card of encouragement. I still treasure his many notes to me, and they perk me up whenever I feel down! I wrote a tribute to him in my blog, which I’m SO grateful that I did since he died suddenly just a few weeks later. Here’s the link to “The Man Who Inspired the KIT List.”

Dad before Parkinson’s…he never lost his sense of humor!

Resources for Job Search Will Remain Up!

Over the years, we’ve had many free events with panels of career experts, plus special “FriendWorking” events to learn a warmer and better way of networking where you come with the idea of helping others first. We had hundreds turn out most events!

I’ve also tried to share encouragement and job tips (as well as the life lessons I was learning!) with our community over the years through my email messages to the entire list, and later through the blog posts. I’ll keep the blog up so people can access those tips and resources. Also, I was invited to have a KIT List show on a local TV station a few years back. I’ll keep those shows up since the interviews and inside scoop from the hiring experts remain very relevant. In fact, I received emails from people saying they watched them prior to job interviews – and LANDED THE JOB!

KIT List Resources to help you find a job you’ll love:

  • KIT List Blog – More career resources and job search strategies, how to network better through FriendWorking – plus messages I sent to the KIT List to encourage everyone during tough times and share personal life lessons I learned from my own “bumps in the road!
  • KIT List “Get That Job!” TV Show – The inside tips and best practices from the hiring experts on how to nail your job interviews – and ways to grow your career (we get emails from people who landed their dream job after watching these videos before interviews!).
  • KIT List Corona Videos” – My sister and co-moderator Kelly and I interview recruiters and employers on how to get a job in a pandemic (or any difficult market!)

A Heartfelt Thank You

It’s been an honor and privilege to serve this wonderful community. I’m so very grateful to the people who stepped up to volunteer their time to help me when the workload became overwhelming.

As the KIT List grew so quickly, I struggled to work on the KIT List in the late-night hours after I’d finished my own marketing consulting work (my paid job!). Some very special people stepped forward to volunteer their help when I was hitting the proverbial wall.

I want to thank Val Cienega, whom I hadn’t met at the time, but was a member of the KIT List community who came forward to volunteer as a moderator for many years! My dear friend from SGI, Amy Sloniker Plunkett, also pitched in and helped with the sheer volume of work needed to moderate and keep our community free of spammers and protect it from those wanting to exploit this large community. Then my wonderful sister, Kelly Connelly, joined in as well. Each of these gifted people had their own MORE than full time “real jobs” and helped in their spare time. I am deeply grateful to them!

Sometimes the best things in life are the unexpected ones. The KIT List was a surprise to me – and it took a life of its own thanks to each of you spreading the word to help your friends and colleagues.

The spirit of the KIT List is due largely to YOU. Your kindness and helping others will continue and grow in other wonderful ways. Thank you for being a part of the KIT List family!

Although the KIT List is officially closing in February, the power of helping others keeps growing as a force for good as you continue to share your gifts in our world.

Thank you for enriching my life in more ways than you will ever know,

Sue Connelly

Your KIT List Founder

Sue on 90.3 FM tonight at 7:30 sharing the KIT story and life lessons

30 11 2010

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to let you know about a radio program tonight where I will talk about the KIT List and share the life lessons the great people on our list have taught me — and how I now view adversity, or what I call “the bumps in the road,” in a different way. 

You can tune in tonight at 7:30 p.m. on 90.3 FM.

If you’re outside the San Francisco Bay Area, you can go to the program’s site at and click “Listen Now.”

The radio program is hosted by Tresa Eyres and Janet Gallin. Tresa was responsible for the KIT List getting the Jefferson Award for community service when she nominated us. We were featured on CBS 5 and KCBS this July. 

Tresa and Janet’s mission through their Love Letters Live radio program, blog and workshops ( is to help all walks of people communicate important messages via a well-worded letter. They’ve helped people write especially difficult or meaningful letters such as to lost family members, adoptive children to their biological mothers, people who have been pivotal in someone’s life, or to a person who was key in someone’s career. Their mission is to change the world, one letter at a time. 

In our fast-paced world of technology and distractions, the art of communication has been lost. Tresa and Janet help people commit important messages to paper, which then can bring new breakthroughs or convey vital messages that change lives.  

My letter is to a woman on the KIT List who emailed me years ago, when I was struggling with the workload alone and didn’t think I could keep it going. I was thinking of ending the KIT List. 

She wrote that her husband was dying of cancer, she was the sole breadwinner with three children, and that she was out of work. She wanted to tell me that she appreciated the KIT List. I realized that while I was having my own challenges, that they paled in comparison to what this courageous woman was facing, and that has been my motivator many times to keep the KIT List going. 

I have tried many times over the years to find that woman, since I want to know how she and her family are doing, and if her husband was able to beat the cancer. 

I’m hoping that somehow through tonight’s radio program, or through someone on the KIT List, that I’ll be able to connect with her and let her know how important her email was to me during a tough time, and to hear how her family is faring. Serendipity works that way!

Tune into tonight’s program and see if Tresa and Janet can inspire you to write that important letter you always meant to write!

Take care,