A Pat On The Back


In a slight shift from the norm of my blog, today I want to recognize and thank those of you out there whose job it is to help others with their job search.

Now perhaps you don’t feel you need the external recognition from one of your peers but personally, I know I myself feel better when someone comments positively on the work that I do. Helping others to move forward and achieve their goals is very fulfilling work when success is getting closer and ultimately of course when it is achieved. There are times too when those we help move forward, but not quite at the speed they would like, or we ourselves expect of them. We must remember though that each person we work with is unique, and their individual progress may not be what we’d hope, but to that person it may be quite significant.

With all the people you work with over the year, every now and then you may have caught yourself once or twice falling short in delivering the high level of service you expect of yourself. Hey it happens. I’d suggest that you remember at those times that there is a massively larger number of people who walk through your door that you do provide superior service for. Well done.

Those with whom we work place tremendous trust, (and sometimes dollars that are scarce to come by) in our abilities to help, especially at this time in their lives when they are fragile, vulnerable and depend so very much on our opinions, our care and our commitment to helping them out of the problem of unemployment or underemployment.  It is a tremendous responsibility and a privilege in my opinion to do the work we collectively do. To do the job YOU do and do it well time and time again, shows a wealth of expertise and stamina over time.

So my purpose in pausing in a series of job search advice and tips to recognize the great work you do, is to build you up, thank you on behalf of those whom you’ve helped and encourage you to continue to excel. In an earlier blog, I shared what Jacques Demers had spoken about when he addressed front-line workers at the AMES conference earlier this year in Ontario. He stated that when he was growing up and had problems, he didn’t have people like us to get help from, and he said that many of those who we help don’t necessarily stop to thank us and yet the work we do is so very needed and essential.

In echoing these sentiments, I know myself that when someone out of the blue stops and says, “Thanks, I appreciate your help”, it encourages me to do more, to help others, and if I’ve been at all close to running on automatic pilot for the day, I’m immediately brought back into the moment and bear down. In your own experience, you also might recall times when you’ve provided exceptional service, gone well above and beyond what would have been expected of you by a Supervisor, and in the end the client walked away without so much as a grunt of thanks. We can’t always know what immense pressures they are under, and if we did we might be amazed to think they even sought out the help we gave them, let alone expect to be thanked for giving it.

As you work with your client(s) today, please accept my personal thanks for providing your service with compassion, empathy and for providing your client with hope. You may be the single person in that client’s life that they feel they can trust or rely on; the one person who isn’t abusive to them, controlling them, or the one person who actually believes in them. May you one day have a client come back to you and say, “When I was in that dark period, what did you ever see in me that caused you to want to really help me out?”

I know if I found myself out of work, underemployed and stuck, and down on my luck, I’d sure like to count on the services of a caring professional. In a sense, it makes good business practice to be the person you would want to be helped by if you were the client yourself. What would you want and need to know? How would you want to be treated? Would you know the questions to ask? How much could you absorb in a sitting or over a few days? Factor into all of this the cognitive, literacy and education level of the people you assist. How would this affect your ability to grasp, comprehend and put into action all the information someone was sharing with you.

No matter how many times you have provided the same set speech on the value of targeting a resume instead of wide sweep approach, or the importance of using a cover letter, the person you are dealing with might be hearing it for the first time. They may well have heard it 5 times before but coming from you for the 6th time, they get it. Give yourself some credit.

So thank you my peers for providing service excellence to your clients.  Keep up the good work!

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