As an Employment Counsellor, I’m consistently working with people who are looking for employment. As a matter of course, there is always a great deal of sharing going on; sharing what’s been frustrating, stressful, upsetting, disappointing and annoying on people’s personal journey to reach their next job.
And while each person is unique, you can imagine that there are many shared feelings of inadequacy, low self-perception, and general disbelief with employers who don’t return calls, provide no feedback on interviews and applications, etc. In hearing many negative experiences on a daily basis, you’ll find it odd then to believe how surprisingly optimistic and positive I am about the job search process and results you can expect if I’m working with you.
One thing that helps immensely in countering all the negatives is the sharing of job search success. In the month of September, a dozen people I’ve been assisting intensely have found employment. In addition to this number, I can think of seven others who have likewise shared news of their employment and I’ve had some interaction with them but cannot in fairness say I’ve worked that closely with them for some time.
What a joy it is personally to have someone who has been out of work and applying themselves diligently to a full-time job search share this news. Sometimes they just come up and have that ridiculously wide grin on their face that they can’t wipe off. Other times they just burst in and let their relief pour out and wash all over me. Boy is it a good feeling to hear and share that news.
And it is wonderful to think that someone appreciates what I’ve done for them personally, that they are willing to go out of their way to share this happiness with me. And as much as they generally thank me for everything, the credit is much more theirs than mine. After all, they had to hear new ideas, accept a personal critique, and then be willing to go out and make some changes, large and small.
When good news is shared, it’s also validating; the help I’ve given to someone played a part in bringing about the desired end, and therefore if applied again with someone else, the wished-for results have a high degree of likelihood of repeating themselves. And any Employment Counsellor will tell you that they need this validation. If we never knew whether our intervention and suggestions moved people forward, how would be in a position to share our success rate with others?
If you are like me you may have someone in your own life who had a big influence on you in years past. For me, I’ve been lucky in having several. Mr. McDermitt in Grade 8, Mr. Shultz in Grade 6 are two. Unfortunately however, I was just a kid at the time and the impact both these men had on me didn’t really hit me until I was no longer seeing them directly. The idea of going up and saying what a positive influence they had on me didn’t occur until years later, and by then in both cases it was far too late.
And perhaps this is why now in 2013, I’ve matured enough to understand the significance of sincerely sharing my own appreciation for help received from others, and in turn, appreciate so much the thanks of others for any help they may have received from me. In a field where it could be easy to be drained emotionally often, it is the success stories that energize and legitimize.
Furthermore, while the ultimate goal is often employment, I do find it also positive when someone approaches me and shares their plans to return to school to pursue a diploma or degree. It’s not a job to be sure, but if they have come to a decision to upgrade their skills and knowledge and prepare the way for a career in a couple of years, that too is joyful news.
The ones I feel saddest for however are people who put 100% of their hope in my ability to, ‘find a job for me’; but neglect to put 100% of their effort in doing what is essentially the hard part – taking personal responsibility for their own success. After all, I can’t write every job application, every cover letter, sit in on the interview for them and prompt them with answers, any more than I can go with them every day to their job and do the work for them.
As we end September and turn the calendar to the first few days of October, take on the challenge of sharing you successes – big or small – with someone who has provided you with help. While you may not have reached your ultimate goal of finding employment, you may have learned how to job search more effectively, what conducting employer research really means, how to better present yourself on the telephone, or perhaps have gained a confidence in interviews.
When you share your appreciation for what someone has done for you, there is also a greater chance that they may recall you to mind quicker when opportunities arise you may be suited for. If you only thank people for their help if and when you ultimately get a job, that would be unfortunate. Surely they have done much to provide hope and help, and just because you’ve not reached your ultimate goal yet, that shouldn’t preclude an appreciation for the help given.