Everywhere you go, people are more than willing to give you the benefit of their advice; whether you ask for it or not! Sometimes that advice is actually beneficial and helpful while other times it has worked for others but isn’t just right for you.
The best advice you could ever get in my opinion is to make better decisions. After all, the decisions you and I have made in the past are responsible for where we find ourselves today. Had we made different decisions, we would have different spouses, have different living arrangements, have different levels of education and yes, our employment status would be different.
Rather than dwell on the past however, I prefer you and I look together at what decisions we can make right now, in our present circumstances that can improve our futures. Imagine a future you successful and better off, looking back on you where you are today and saying, “Thanks. It’s because of that decision you made back then that I’m where I am today.”
Now you might be guessing that I’m going down the path that so many have already been ahead of me, advising you to make some monumental decision. Actually no I’m not. I’m going to give you two examples of relatively minor decisions that as it turns out put opportunities in motion for two people. Both these women are currently out of work and want to have a better future, where they have financial independence and a better life.
Let’s start with Gabby. (not her real name.) Now she wants to be a Health Care Aide working in a Long Term Care facility caring for residents. She has an interview coming up with an employer and wants this job a great deal. Working with an Employment Consultant (one of my peers), she took the initiative to ask that Employment Consultant if she would be able to go through a mock interview to better prepare herself for the real one to come. That’s it; that’s the good decision.
What that set is motion was a request by that Employment Consultant to me to see if I would be willing to meet with the client and conduct the mock interview. I agreed to do so, and came up with 10 questions appropriate for that position. I met her earlier this week, and she did exactly as she had been told by her Employment Consultant. She came dressed for an interview, arrived early, brought notes with her, and treated it like the real thing right from our greeting where I took the role of the employer and stayed in character until the end of the interview.
After that 40 minute interview, we spent 50 minutes more reviewing her answers, discussing how she could improve on each one, as well as what she did well. I gave her written and verbal feedback and when she left she said how good she felt, how valuable the time had been, and she thanked me. Her interview is later today, and she’s promised to let me know the outcome. She is better prepared because she initiated a request for help; a good decision she made.
Example two came just yesterday. I found myself in our drop-in Resource Centre where I was in the last ten minutes of my time there. A young lady of 20 came in and asked me if I had a resume template she could use to make a resume. That in itself is proactive decision on her part. I gave her a template – a basic one for people who need templates to get going and after keying in her contact information she paused. She looked overwhelmed, agitated, frustrated but still concentrating on how to proceed. When asked, she told me how much she wanted to get going, get a job, have a life, and then in quick succession told me about 4 or 5 things that were troubling her, holding her back.
Just then a colleague appeared out of nowhere and asked me if she could take over in the Resource Centre and I had an idea. So I said to the young lady. “What are you doing for the next hour or so?” I explained that I was suddenly available and if she wanted, we could move to my office and work on her resume there. She made a decision to say, “yes” and so away we went.
We didn’t make a resume. Oh we started to, but when I asked her what job she was after, she told me that she had a little experience working in framing and construction and in 10 years wants to be the one owning a company, giving directions to tradespeople, running the show. That led me to give her information on a course we would pay for entirely, plus the transportation to get there and home. The course is all about carpentry, framing, electrical, plumbing, getting several certifications all of which collectively would better qualify her to move in leaps and bounds closer to her goal. She was so ecstatic she actually gave me a hug catching me off guard.
Both women made a small decision that opened up an opportunity they would not otherwise have known about. As for you and I, perhaps we too should keep our eyes open to opportunities around us, initiate requests for help, and jump in with both feet when given the chance. Sometimes saying, “Yes thank you”, is how it starts.