Sure You’re Ready To Work?


Have you ever decided to take a job offer and then only a short time into the job had to quit? It didn’t work out as the positive experience you believed it would be.

Some people are so focused on getting a job, all they do is scan job postings, send off resumes and cover letters, go to whatever interviews they land and then take the first job that comes their way only to regret it. If you’re doing exactly this now, you might want to re-think what you’re doing to avoid future disappointment.

Of course, I know why people do the above with such fervor; they need money to pay bills and stave off exhausting their financial savings. There is a lot of stress watching the money go out of one’s bank account week after week, month after month. All the money you’d saved up over a period of years can slip away pretty fast when additional money dries up and you’re not used to a self-imposed strict budget. Taking a job; any job mind, shores up the leaks and hopefully balances out the exiting funds.

The problem which can surface however is that a person takes a job that they haven’t really investigated much before applying. Then with the money problem addressed in the short-term, now people look at where they’ve actually put themselves.  It can often be the case that they then say, “What have I done? This isn’t right for me at all.”

What happened of course is the desperation to just get a job of any kind is in the past. Then with that out-of-the-way, attention is turned to the job and that’s when things can seem worse than when the person was out of work altogether. Knowing they can and must do better than the present job, often people quit so they can put 100% into finding a job; the right job this time.

To increase your odds of getting the job that’s right for you, there are a number of things you can do now while unemployed. For starters, and please don’t ignore this as unnecessary, address your health. Looking for work is taxing on the mind and the body. Eating properly and getting out of the house to take in some fresh air and get some exercise while walking around the neighbourhood is essential. Not only will you feel better, if you go for a walk around a block or two a couple of times a day, you’ll also focus better on the job hunt when you return.

Eating healthy foods and moving will fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to ward off excessive weight gain. At the other extreme, eating as little as possible to save money could cause you to lose more weight than is healthy. If you’re fond of the bubbly, watch your alcohol intake. You wouldn’t be the first one to increase drinking to numb some of the stress of looking for work, but what could seem like a good idea at the time could turn out to be a bigger problem than you can handle and then knowing you shouldn’t be drinking so much can for some have the impact of drinking more heavily to actually feel better.

Another thing about starting a new job when you’ve been out of work for a very long time is an abrupt change in your routine. It might not sound like anything you can’t handle, but suddenly having to get up at a given time, catch a bus that runs on a schedule and be seated ready to go at 8:30a.m.  could present a problem you hadn’t considered. Why? Could be that over the extended time you’ve been out of work, you’ve slid into the habit of getting up at 9:00a.m., and with breakfast over after simultaneously watching the news on T.V., you haven’t really got rolling most days until it’s closer to 10:00a.m.

Hey it’s understandable that your routine changed without the need to be somewhere and be accountable to anyone but yourself. I get that and so do employers. However, employers have zero tolerance for people who show up late for work, and if you’re not disciplined, you could find yourself hearing the boss tell you, “it’s just not working out” as they tell you you’re done.

Variety really is the key to staying positive and engaged in your job search. A majority of people think looking for a job means sitting in front of a computer screen for 7 hours a day, 5 days or more a week and applying for job after job. Wrong on so many levels.

A successful job search also includes getting out and introducing yourself to people, networking if you will. Call on people you want to be your references and walk into the organizations you wish to work with. Meet people, feel the atmosphere, get some literature, make some phone calls and ask about their challenges and priorities. Ask to meet with people who hold the jobs you’re after and pick their brain over a tea or coffee.

As part of your computer time, read reviews of what others are saying about the companies you’re interested in on websites like Glassdoor.

You want a job that provides income and you’ll be a good fit with right? Good. Take a breath and let’s get going.

 

What If You Can’t Find Your Passion?


“Follow your dreams, do what makes you come alive; find your passion.” Sound familiar? Maybe somebody said as much in your valedictorian address in high school or college/university. Or perhaps it was your mentor; Aunt May or your granddad. All well intended of course; with your best interests at heart.

You might be familiar with a saying that goes, “Love your job and you’ll never work a day in your life”. The idea being that when you do something or some things that you love doing, you’re not actually working. This is one quote I’ve never really liked for it then implies that work has to be something you don’t love. If you’re working; and especially if you’re working hard at something, you can’t love it. Well, I just don’t see things that way.

Some of the hardest working people I know love what they do. In fact, it is precisely because they love their work so much that they invest themselves and work hard to improve; all because the end products and services they give will better the experience of the consumer. Their work brings them happiness and immense satisfaction and they love it so much they aren’t interested in changing to do something else.

But what of the person – possibly you – who hasn’t found what their passion is? What if you’re talented at something or even several things but the word passionate is just wrong. You might have days where you feel good about your work of course, and your boss is happy with your performance. However, to say you’re truly passionate about your work would be a lie. So you wonder every so often about these people who have apparently found passion in the work they do, and you say to yourself, “I wonder what that’s like; to use such a strong emotional word like ‘passion’ to describe how they go about their work.”

Now you can go to school and take courses to improve your skills on a subject, to expand your knowledge on a topic, to learn a specific trade and if you go far enough you can even get a doctorate and be a professor of something. That is something to be proud of and a significant accomplishment. To become a professor or doctor of something would seemingly make you an expert or at the very least well-versed and informed on a particular topic. Yet, for all that schools share and teach, impart and instruct, teaching passion isn’t in any curriculum.

Can you teach passion is what I’m saying? No, I don’t think you can. You can be passionate about what it is you do but fail miserably in attempting to pass that passion on to others. Oh I’m not saying those around you won’t be inspired by you; for I believe they often are. However, just because you’re passionate about your work doesn’t mean that those coming into contact with you and seeing how you go about what you do will automatically be similarly invested in that passion.

When in fact someone says, “Find your passion!” where do you begin? It can seem like you need to take a few years off and travel to exotic destinations, live in a rain forest, serve the needy in a third world country or scale Mount Everest. On a local and far more accessible scale, maybe that’s why zip-lining, parachuting and taking ax throwing classes are rising in popularity; people are looking to stimulate their emotional passion for something by doing something extreme.

So what of the average person (even saying average seems like a letdown to some of you I know) who has a regular job. The person who pays down their mortgage regularly, buys a car every 5 years and goes in to work 5 days a week, lives a pretty ‘normal’ life in other words? Can one be happy if they do well at their job but the word, ‘passion’ isn’t something they’ve ever used to describe how they feel about their job? Yes of course.

With all the people out their telling you to find your passion, I’d recommend you remember that the only person you need answer to for whether that’s important to you personally is…well…you. If it’s not important that you love your work, you don’t have to. If you don’t love your work it need not mean you hate it. Hate is a strong word. You could be competent but indifferent. So you could like selling but whether it’s clothes, shoes, games, cars or fishing tackle, it doesn’t matter. Equally of interest you might also be good at and enjoy fixing appliances or refinishing furniture.

Yes there are a lot of people in this world doing work they love and many doing work without passion. Of course finding something you love and turning it into your source of full-time work and your source of income might seem like the goal, but there are many who would like to keep their passion and their full-time work separate. After all, the fear of losing your passion for something because it’s become work is a genuine concern.

So if you’ve not found your passion, don’t fret. Yes, and this from someone who loves what he does. It might take you a short time or years to discover passion if ever. You can still be successful, happy and good at many things!

Re-Inventing Yourself?


Whether by choice or necessity, have you ever, or are you now in a place where you’re re-inventing yourself? You know, moving in a completely new direction from what you’ve typically done work-wise in the past. Depending on your circumstances, this can be an exhilarating time of hope, possibilities and uncharted exploration, or it can be fraught with stress, desperation, anxiety and worry.

So, is it starting to sound like I’m speaking to you directly? There’s actually a good chance that this resonates with you to some degree because all of us have times in our lives where we assume new roles. This is important to both hear and comprehend; all of us go through this.

It’s true you know… becoming a teenager then an adult, being a parent or grandparent, the first job where we joined the ranks of the employed, leaving one job for another. There are all kinds of moments in our lives when we transitioned from one role to another. But somehow, changing your career at this particular time in your life seems markedly different from all those other transitions. This is magnified when you feel forced to make the change instead of initiating change out of a personal desire.

For a lot of folks, the anxiety is stirred up wondering what to actually do. It’s like that year in high school where you had to make a decision on what you wanted to be when you grew up. As awkward as that period might have felt way back then, it pales in comparison to the present where you’re no longer 17 or 18 years old with your entire work life in front of you. No, now you’re looking at yourself and wondering, “what am I going to do at my age?”

For the men and women who have been in positions of labour their whole lives, this idea of needing a new vocation could be brought about because their bodies are no longer able to take the physical demands of their trade. While the body is refusing to do what it’s always done, the brain is fully capable and stress is caused because the work they’ve done is only what they know. It’s like laying bricks for 37 years and then the back and knees give out, so the Bricklayer struggles trying to figure out what else they could do.

Sometimes the body isn’t the problem though. Sometimes the prevailing problem is of a mental rather than physical issue; the need to change careers is however just as valid. For many, there is still the notion – completely wrong in my opinion – that a mental health issue needs to be concealed, while a physical issue can be more easily shared and understood. So the person with two bad knees and a back issue gets empathy and understanding while the person with anxiety and depression draws more skepticism and doubt. As a result, some people hide their mental health challenges as long as they can, thereby making it difficult if not impossible to get the very support and help they need to move forward.

A good place to start when you have to re-invent yourself is taking stock of what you have on hand. Imagine yourself on a ship with your destination fully known and suddenly waking up one day to find yourself shipwrecked on an island. You need to survive so you take stock of what resources you have. You don’t go off exploring your surroundings without first taking your bearings and assessing your needs and your resources.

Using that analogy, you’ve gone through – or are going through – the shock of an abrupt change in your work life. The future is going to be very different from your past and while you understand this on an intellectual level, you’re at that crossroads trying to figure out in what direction to move. You’re worried perhaps that with the limited time and resources you have available, you can’t afford to just move in any old direction in case you choose wrong. If only you could look ahead and see the rewards and pitfalls in all directions and then decide. Life doesn’t always work this way though; as you more than anyone has just found out because you didn’t foresee where you are now in your future just a few years ago.

So take stock of your skills, experiences both paid and volunteer. What did you like and dislike about the work you’ve done in the past. What are you physically capable of and mentally able to take on? It may be that the very best thing you can do is give yourself the gift of a short break. Yes money might be tight but if you can free up funds for a short trip to somewhere you feel good in, you may do wonders for your mental health.

Getting a booklet on courses from a community college or university might enlighten you  to jobs you haven’t considered; and you might discover funding assistance at the same time to go back to school if you wish.

This crossroads you’re in could be a blessing too. You’ve got time now to really think about what to do with your life; something some people who dislike their current jobs would envy you for. When you’re ready, and definitely not before, reach out and share your thoughts with someone you who’ll listen with an open mind.

All the very best as always!

Health Check-Up: Just Do It


Going in to see the Dr. and getting yourself a physical is just like any other idea: some will be all for it, some entirely opposed and some will dither on it, intellectually knowing it’s a good idea but perhaps not taking action personally. Whether  you’re employed or seeking to become employed, getting that medical check-up is sound advice.

When you rely on a medical professional to check out your physical health you put yourself in the hands of an expert who is going to give you a clear diagnosis, point out a problem you were unaware of, or they might stress you take something seriously you haven’t been. In any of these three scenarios, you win.

I offer myself as an example this time around, rather than speaking of others I as oft do in my writings. Back in January of 2016, I weighed in at 225; the most I’d ever weighed. I decided to lose weight with the start of the new year, and I started to take seriously what went in my mouth and getting some exercise; nothing too strenuous as I knew my stamina for such things was weak. The weight started coming off and I was thrilled. I upped my intake of water to the point I was craving it; the colder the better. The weight kept coming off.

What I hadn’t changed was the sugar intake. To put them all in one sentence would make you think I should have known better, but I didn’t. I would indulge in soft drinks on the weekend the way some people down beers. I loved my licorice and jujubes, wine gums and chocolate; I just ate less of them.

As the weight dropped off, co-workers and some extended family members commented. In the beginning it was complimentary. However, the comments changed from complimentary to concerned. In August of 2016 I finally made an appointment to meet with my doctor. My weight was at 175 and I was proud. The doctor was certainly proud of me too! I remember him saying that only 1% of all the people who set out to lose weight actually take it off and keep it off so I had a lot to be proud of. I was there feeling great really, feeling fine and only in there to get the all clear so I could tell well-meaning people to stop worrying about my health and please stop talking to me as if I was dying.

Good thing I went to see the doctor though. After some blood work, I got a call which said come on in, the doctor wants a conversation. Turned out I had Diabetes type 2; the kind where you can manage it with diet and checking your blood sugar levels. I took the diagnosis like a slap in the face, but I took it seriously. I’d never smoked, drank alcohol – not even a sip – never taken drugs other than headache medication, so it didn’t seem fair. Ah well, no matter; I had diabetes.

I made a decision on the spot to drop all the juices, pops, candies and white bread etc. cold turkey. I saw a Dietician, took the 4 Metformin pills daily I was prescribed, and I decided that since my diabetes came out of nowhere, it would not be managed as everyone said I would have to do, but rather my goal was to eradicate it. Foolish? Naïve? Maybe, but if in attempting to eradicate it I only managed it, so be it. But if I did get rid of it, then why not go for this result?

I really believe that this mindset worked for me personally. No cheating, no gradual change in diet – I was all in. After all, the alternative to doing nothing and carrying on eating the things I loved at that point was eventual amputation of toes, feet, ankles, lower limbs, thighs. Hmmm…. pretty easy decision.

So it came about in the spring of this year that my Diabetes Clinic Nutritionist and doctor called my sugar levels amazing and unheard of. I had become the poster boy for beating it. Well, I still to this day check the sugar levels but the pills I no longer have been told to take. My diet I’ve happily changed to include foods I’m not crazy about but happily cook and eat. Yes, the ones mom and dad told me to eat as a kid like broccoli and cauliflower, kale and spinach. I’ve come to love the grain breads with flax, eat oats every single morning instead of white toast with jams and sugar cereals.

The result is a healthier me and that has made me increasingly consistent at work. My attendance which has always been excellent continues to be so, whereas without that visit to the doctor, who knows? I certainly would never have known about the diabetes diagnosis until perhaps it was too late to do much about it.

And yesterday? Yesterday I went for my second colonoscopy. Got the all clear for another 5 years too. Told people around the office I was going for it too. Why not? Maybe if one other person goes and has theirs as a result that would be a good thing.

Getting yourself to the doctor even when things seem all good is a great idea. If you’re out of work, look at now as the perfect time to take care of this so you have one more thing to sell to that potential employer; your good health!

Discriminated Against For Being Older?


My job as an Employment Counsellor brings me into contact with a wide spectrum of people. Whenever I sit down with someone I invariably get around to asking them why they are unemployed; what they see as their barriers standing between them and working. One of the most common things I hear is, “My age might be a problem.”

The question of how old is too old comes up a lot. I’ve met some very active people in their 60’s who can outwork people half their age. By contrast I’ve seen some people in their early 40’s who move and behave like their 80.

I want to admit right upfront that there is a limited amount you can do to change the beliefs, attitude and yes prejudices of an interviewer or company that has determined what they regard as too old to hire. Having said that however, there is a lot you have 100% control over when it comes to the issue of age. It should come as no surprise that some of you reading this post will take my admission that there’s a limited amount you can do as justification for doing nothing. Others will gravitate to the positives; the proactive suggestions which can lead an interviewer or organization to reconsider their original position and extend an offer of employment to an older applicant.

First of all let’s look at what employers are concerned about with respect to aging workers. These may or may not apply to you, but as broad generalizations, some employers concerns with older workers are that they are:

  • set in their ways, resistant to learning new methods
  • education is dated, ongoing professional development poor
  • physical limitations, slowing down; a drain on health benefits
  • out of touch with technological advancements
  • close to retirement; a weak return as an investment

You may have others you could add to the list above. Please don’t get defensive as we’re just establishing some of the real opinions out there in the real world; whether they apply to you or me personally isn’t at issue. These are broad generalizations that are the realities one might be up against.

Okay, so now what? How does one go about countering the stereotypes of the ‘older’ generation of workers? A good place to start is with an honest look in the mirror. Not seeing what you want to see, but seeing yourself from another’s perspective; that of an employer. From the employer’s point of view, they’re looking for applicants that can join their organization and in as short a time as possible, start contributing.

Companies spend a lot of time building up their reputation. A small company just starting out needs to make money as soon as possible to stay afloat. They have no room to carry workers who don’t make immediate contributions to the bottom line. Larger organizations have already gone through growing pains and made adjustments to how they produce and deliver their services and goods. They need people to come in, assimilate into their workforce and not question how and why they do the things they do; just do the job you’re hired to do. Presuming you know better than the people who are in leadership roles and the existing workforce isn’t a way to stay employed long, unless of course you’re specifically recruited to bring about change.

Where it really starts of course is with you personally. Before you even apply for jobs, some changes might be well-advised. Your wardrobe might be dated; maybe you’re too formally dressed in that shirt, tie and suit jacket when the employees are dressed more casually. Look at your posture too. Are you walking stooped over, your shoulders slouched forward or shuffling your feet instead of walking upright with the energy and focus you had 15 years ago? In other words, if you don’t want to be judged as old, don’t come across as old.

Older workers have big upsides and you might need to remind yourself of this. You’ve got more than just work experience my friend, you’ve got life experience. You might just be the stabilizing force on a team of younger workers; the one who is more level-headed; not too high, not too low. You’re possibly in a place to mentor others while at the same time open to learning from those your junior. Be receptive to learning new ideas, embrace innovation and fight that stereotype of being an old dog who can’t learn new tricks.

A really good suggestion is an easy one; smile. Well, easier said than done for some, but a frowning, bitter face that scowls out at the world and comes across as negative isn’t attractive. Don’t project that the world owes you an income. View this new employer as your ally, your partner, not your enemy.

If you take a few courses and add these to your résumé you’ll be more attractive to employers too. Far too many people of all ages stop learning once they are working and have expired licences and certificates they didn’t bother renewing. Oh and because much of the general population is older, you might point out to an employer that their customer base might just appreciate being served by people who look like them; in other words, you’ll attract business.

Bottom line here? If you want to face the issue of being too old to work, don’t fit that stereotype yourself. Change what’s in your power to control.

Did You Realize 2017 Is 50% Done?


For some of us, time crawls by at a snail’s pace while for others it goes so fast people will say, “Where did the time go?”

For all of us however, no matter where you live on this globe, 2017 is pretty much 50% over already; it now being mid-July. Okay technically July 10 is not the mid-point of the calendar year, but it is close enough to dead middle that a small bit of reflection on how things are progressing is a good idea.

If you’re the type who makes resolutions with the flip of the calendar on January 1st each year, I suppose it’s only logical to ask yourself how you’re faring. Yes, you might be right on track with your goals, monitoring them daily or weekly, and if you’re doing so and succeeding then congratulations are in order! On the other hand, if you’d made a few resolutions; private or public, and you’ve let them drop by the wayside, you’re likely not enjoying thinking about the change you envisioned and planned with good intentions to undertake didn’t actually materialize. Was the goal too lofty? The intentions good but no real plan put in place?

There are of course the typical resolutions one makes; lose weight, eat healthier, save more money, get out and meet people, find a good job, return to school etc. Each of these are commendable to be sure and for those who set these goals and reach them a pat on the back isn’t out-of-order. However, it can be discouraging to realize that those goals are still not being reached and you’re floundering. That you set those goals in the first place was good of course; presumably you set the goal(s) because you wanted whatever it or they were.

So setting the goal wasn’t a bad idea. I suppose then that rather than beating yourself up over having, “failed again”, the thing to really do is come to a realization. If the goal is important enough, it’s never a bad time to start anew. In other words, don’t throw out the goal in July because you’ve not made any progress in the first half of the year.

Some of the things you may have wanted to do are still obtainable. Take the person who vowed they would start their Christmas shopping earlier in 2017 so they weren’t scrambling in mid-December. If that someone is you, this is your gentle reminder to be on the lookout for Christmas gifts now. It will be easier on your finances perhaps to start now, spreading out purchases, and you can perhaps get deals now on things harder to think of later. Perhaps visiting a pottery studio you pass on a driving trip to pick up a unique handcrafted item?

If your goals included finding a decent job in 2017, how is that coming along? While March is typically the number one hiring time of the year, August/September is right up there at number two and is fast approaching. So yes maybe you can still prepare for this second wave by getting yourself ready now. Dust off that old resume and update it. Go through your closet and drawers and give what you’ll never wear again to charity so you know where your work clothing is sparse and needs replacing.

Take advantage of the good weather to get yourself out in the community in which you live and interact with people. Set up a face-to-face with some people you’ve connected to, line up your references, sign up for that first aid training because your certification has expired. Look up some interview questions and answers for your chosen profession on the internet. Get a hold of a job posting or job description if you can for a position you’d be interested in and see how your skills, experience and education align with the employers’ needs.

With the year half over, the good news is the year has 50% left before we don the New Years Eve hats and blow on the noisemakers again. That’s good news because half a year is plenty time to make some progress if you’ve got yourself stuck in neutral. In other words, taking stock of what you didn’t get done on December 31st is a poor practice because there’s not time to do anything at that point. Here in July however, well, you can take a few steps forward.

If by the way you’re employed already, was there something you thought would be a good idea back in 2016 that had to do with your current job? Be a better team player? Take less sick days? Work with a little more organization and have a tidier desk? Maybe it was staying on top of your emails? Goals need not be lofty and in fact, sometimes a series of small goals which you reach can help build momentum for the really big challenges.

Maybe pulling out your performance evaluation will remind you of what you set out as your goals at work for 2017. If you’re accountable for hitting your targets, don’t ignore what you’ll eventually have to face.

Here’s a last thought as well on goals you may have set for yourself. If the goals are too extreme or no longer relevant, modify or drop them altogether. Setting a goal or two that’s relevant to you will have more meaning and increase the chances for success.

 

Mental Health And The Relationship With Social Assistance


Working alongside those in receipt of social assistance, I am always in close proximity with people who go about their days with varying degrees of mental health.  Some mask problems well, some openly share with whoever is in earshot, and some are actively engaged getting the help they need to get on with life.

What strikes me often is not only the high number of people who are struggling with their mental health, but that many still see themselves as alone. Sometimes I’m surrounded by 20 people for a few weeks at a time and a person will be entirely unaware that there are 7 other people in that single group who have disclosed to me that they have the same condition such as anxiety or depression.

If we all had visible labels stating our issues, it would be quite revealing; not always good or always bad, but quite startling to see what you’re dealing with is shared with someone else. There are so many people who seem to be in good mental health; they smile, go about their tasks alone and seem okay. However, they’ve really just made a choice to deal with their mental health issue in the best way for them that they know of. Others of course will tell anyone and everyone which is how they personally go about their day.

Now don’t think please that mental health problems like anxiety and depression are linked to those on social assistance exclusively. There are many in receipt of social assistance who don’t have anxiety and depression or any other mental health diagnosis. For most, receiving financial assistance isn’t a badge of honour but rather an embarrassment; something to hide at social gatherings etc. While a hit to self-esteem and confidence, certainly not clinical depression or anxiety.

Having said this, I see that the longer a person remains on social assistance, the more likely they will experience mental health challenges. Many people report they put off applying for social assistance help for as long as possible. Why? They say that to do so was an admission that they’d hit rock bottom. Going to apply and handing over all the necessary documents like ID, rental leases, bank statements etc. was a real eye-opener and a moment of shame. Quite often they say, “I never thought I’d end up here. I’m glad it’s available mind, but it’s embarrassing. I can’t wait to get off.”

It’s well-known that mental illness isn’t exclusively reserved for the poor. There are many people with mental health concerns who seemingly have it all. Professional athletes, heads of organizations, community leaders, doctors, lawyers, teachers – maybe you and maybe me for all you know. I don’t mean short-term moments of sadness and regret. I mean full-blown depression and anxiety.

In Canada I’m glad to say that mental health awareness programs are flourishing and a growing publicly acceptance. Gone in large part are the days where families hid the mental health concerns one of their members had; where if you told people you were struggling with your mental health you were seen as weak, needed to be in an institution and a high risk; certainly not capable of being productive. Thank goodness.

No, these days if and when you share that you’re experiencing anxiety or depression most educated people will offer support. Getting help with daily living is a sign of strength not weakness, and the most enlightened know that people with mental health challenges can be highly productive in a working society. Sometimes medication or therapy helps, sometimes it’s a small change in the workplace environment or an accommodation to the workload for a time.

I do know from first-hand experience that there appears to be an association between being in receipt of assistance for a prolonged period and emerging mental health issues for many. That’s understandable I think; too much idle time, experiencing rejection too often from employers, too much isolation from others socially, removed from being productive in a workplace,  Thoughts such as, “What’s wrong with me?”, “Where did things go wrong?”, “When is it going to turn around?” and “I never imagined in a million years I’d be in this situation. This isn’t me!” surface with growing regularity.

The thing is, those of us in good mental health need be mindful to be kind and supportive to those experiencing mental health challenges.; and because it’s invisible, it’s important to bring kindness to everyone we interact with. Not only could we  find we are not immune to experiencing these ourselves, but there’s a human cost to be paid. Good people can feel devalued, potential can be overlooked, opportunities to gain an appreciative and highly-skilled employee might go missed.

Give someone in receipt of social assistance and dealing as best they can with a mental health challenge a job and you’ll see a huge change. Self-esteem picks up, confidence rises, their investment in being successful and their gratitude for the hope you’ve given them will shine. Employment isn’t the only answer of course but it’s definitely going to improve someone’s self-perception and outlook.

If you’re an employer, you can help by curbing prejudices against social assistance recipients, supporting those with mental health issues, and treating those that apply with respect and care by at the very least acknowledging your applicants. Hiring and supporting social assistance recipients with mental health issues is a good business decision too. .