Take The Responsibility


Okay so you’re unemployed; what are YOU doing about it?

I was speaking recently with a woman who is currently unemployed and in order to get an idea of her background and current situation, I asked her to share her work history. Well she started to tell me about her last job and mentioned she had been fired, but quickly explained that away by saying she wasn’t very happy there anyway so it was no big deal. Prior to that, she had worked for a company for about 2 years, and coincidently she was fired from there too but the boss was a jerk so it was actually a good thing. The job before that was only a month-long, and it didn’t work out. “Why?” I asked. “They wanted me to wear a hairnet and I wouldn’t do it so they fired me”. Idiots.”

Do you see the same pattern I do? The person I was trying to help couldn’t or wouldn’t take any responsibility for her own actions, which ultimately resulted in her being fired from all three jobs. You’ll have to trust me when I tell you that the details she provided on all three came down to being asked to do reasonable things that she objected to, and therefore left the employer with no options but to terminate her employment.

It is not only a good idea, but absolutely critical that you – yes you the reader – take responsibility for your actions, your words, your thoughts and your decisions. That goes for me too by the way. It goes for anyone and everyone. Everyday we make all kinds of choices; some of those choices are relatively small and some huge. Should we have toast or cereal? Should I wear my hair up or down? Brown casual socks or brown dress socks? Pretty minor decisions without ramifications down the road.

Then too there are the big decisions. Go to work today or goof off? Keep calm with an irate customer or give him a piece of my mind too? Show up on time or show up when it’s convenient for me? It comes down to picking your battles, making decisions that will positively affect your career, choosing to do the things required to keep a job or not. It’s not even about what is common sense. Unfortunately there are all kinds of people out there who grew up with poor role models from which to learn from, and what seems like common sense to them isn’t mainstream common sense. For example I had a guy once tell me that he punched his boss in the face because the boss told him to go home earlier than he had expected; there just wasn’t enough work to keep him for the rest of the day. Seemed like the right thing to do for him but it wasn’t.

All the decisions you make have consequences. Some of those consequences might have a long-lasting impact on your life. Deciding to do something illegal and getting busted will potentially cost you job opportunities for years. How many years? I know of at least a dozen people who are totally qualified to accept employment in various jobs who cannot be hired due to a 25 year or more DUI charge. They get annoyed and say it was something every teenager does, so why should I pay for it now? Again, not taking responsibility for the offence, and quite frankly not taking the responsibility to do something about it over the course of 25 years or more.

So you are out of work. Fine. How motivated are YOU to DO something about it? Take some responsibility for your current situation and get going. Update your resume, practice your interview skills, take a course, start the pardon process, call somebody you are on bad terms with and start mending the relationship, apply for a job, write a cover letter. Maybe you might want to see an Employment Counsellor, a Mental Health Counsellor, an Addicitions Counsellor, a Literacy Tutor, get your grade 12, update your First Aid / CPR certificate, your WHMIS certificate, your computer skills.

An interviewer might look at your resume and ask what you’ve been doing since you were last employed. Think about that question NOW and ask yourself the same question. What am I doing about things NOW? Sitting at home on the couch, feeling sorry for yourself and mopping around criticizing the world and blaming everybody else for your situation isn’t healthy and it sure isn’t going to land you a job. Obviously not all unemployed people fall into this category. Most in fact, take responsibility for their actions and are actively involved in doing what they can to gain employment.

If you haven’t been taking responsibility for your situation of late, pause and think about that. Sure some things are beyond your control. Being laid off because of a shortage of work, being terminated because the company closed up altogether are two examples of things no individual employee can control. Fine. However, there’s a difference in the out-of-work employee who rolls up his or her sleeves and throws themself into a job search, and the employee who wallows day-to-day lamenting being fired by idiots. Responsibility vs. Lack of Responsibility.

By the way, you may have the makings of an exceptionally unique and effective interview answer if you get going and own up to a few things. Consider this reply to the question,

“So what have you been doing in the two years since you last worked?”

“I’m happy to relate that briefly. Initially I was angry, resentful and blamed everybody but myself for losing job after job. Then I decided to take some personal responsibility for my situation and that decision has led to some pretty significant changes. I’ve recently completed the last remaining course I needed to achieve my Legal Administration Diploma. I’ve also been volunteering on a regular basis for the past six months with a Community Legal Clinic, and have updated my First Aid/CPR Certificate. More importantly, I’ve adjusted my attitude, and improved my self-respect and self-confidence. I am now ready to work, take direction and demonstrate my appreciation to an employer who is willing to invest in me and give me the opportunity to support myself financially.”

All the best to you today!

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