In helping jobseekers find new employment, Joy Maguire Dooley of Lisle has found her namesake emotion.

It brings her joy.

"I do love what I do," she says.

For 24 years she has led Lisle Township Job Club as a networking and support resource for the unemployed, but Wednesday was her last day hosting the club at the Community Career Center in Naperville.

A new jobseeker never would have known it as Maguire Dooley remained all business -- at least before career center employees and volunteers turned the meeting into a surprise retirement party for the 71-year-old counselor.

"It's incredibly sad that one of your loves, Job Club, will not be part of your weekly routine anymore," said Kim White, the career center's executive director. "Joy Maguire Dooley and Job Club go together like peanut butter and jelly."

Maguire Dooley and career counseling have gone together for a quarter-century, after she made a career switch when she was 46. That year, the Philadelphia native and Marquette University graduate suffered two personal tragedies -- the deaths of both of her parents -- within 17 days. Saddened and looking for new purpose, she went to school for a counseling degree specializing in grief and loss and then began working at Lisle Township.

Soon she noticed a common thread among many of the people she'd help with their addictions or family problems. They almost always were dealing with a breadwinner's job loss as well. And back 25 or so years ago, without the Internet, "there was no place to do your job search," Maguire Dooley said.

So she started hosting Job Club first at the Lisle Library, then also in Naperville as it grew from 10 to 100 members.

Shortly after founding Job Club, Maguire Dooley joined forces with civic and business leaders in the Naperville area to create the Community Career Center in 1996.

During Job Club meetings, she advises jobseekers to prepare a networking handbill highlighting their skills, qualifications and target companies. She teaches them to create a two-minute elevator pitch complete with a "wow factor" to help potential employers remember them.

The purpose of the club, she said Wednesday before the meeting turned into a retirement party, is to provide connections that can lead to interviews.

"What we're here to do today is to give each other those contacts," Maguire Dooley said. "Wouldn't it be great if when I left today, all of you left too?"

Even as grateful former jobseekers and community center volunteers feted Maguire Dooley with chocolate-covered fruit and tote bags for her upcoming trip to Maui, she still wanted the meeting to serve a purpose for employment connections. A recruiter from a Downers Grove staffing company was on site Wednesday morning to conduct interviews for seasonal customer service positions at Portillo's, and Maguire Dooley didn't want any interested Job Clubbers to miss their chance.

"Sir, did you want to go interview? I don't want to stop this process," Maguire Dooley said to one man who signed up for an interview. "Seriously, can we help people now?"

White and others who work with Maguire Dooley, like her successor in leading Job Club, Lisle Township counselor Sarah Breithaupt, say she has been helping people and keeping them upbeat for years to the community's benefit.

"Joy is the epitome of her name for sure. She is very joyful," Breithaupt said. "She's very energetic, very caring. People know and can really feel her empathy and care, which helps a lot during the job search because it can be very lonely."

Maguire Dooley is planning a retirement that'll be far from lonely. She will remain on the board of the Community Career Center, and she wants to volunteer with projects focused on food insecurity, animals and American Indian issues.

So as she loses one purpose, one element of her routine, she's already looking forward to others, following the same advice she gives jobseekers: Losing a job for any reason is a loss and should be recognized as such. But it's not the end.

"I look at as an opportunity. People have to deal with the loss and know there's a loss, but there's a blessing in every loss," she said. "In every loss there's a gift. We just have to find it."