Everyone Is Not Scamming


I recall when I started working in the field of Social Services being welcomed onboard and placed on a team of Caseworkers administering what was then referred to as General Welfare Assistance. In laymen’s terms, we issued funds to welfare recipients.

Now this would be back in the late 1980’s, but the words of a teammate still stick with me to this day. While I didn’t have a single person assigned to me as a Mentor or Trainer, this person took me aside on my second day and said, “Look, the first thing you have to know and remember is that everyone is scamming.” I have obviously been struck by that remark to the extent that I recall it now in 2019.

One thing I’m proud of myself looking back is that I didn’t believe it then anymore than I believe it today. However, the thing is, I could have believed it – after all this was someone working in the job I was just learning, so the assumption is that they know what they are talking about. Had I believed that person, I may have started my career in that organization with a very different mindset; one that set me up to mistrust all the people that I’d encounter; one that would have me looking for lies, disbelieving all the expressed needs that I’d hear. Had I taken that piece of advice, I might have become an embittered worker, perhaps denying all kinds of benefits to people in dire need.

My instincts back then were to actually come at things exactly the other way around. It made much more sense to me to start with the attitude that all the people I was meeting were to be believed and using the funds provided to them for the purposes issued. In the event that I became aware someone was ‘scamming’ as she referred to it, then of course our relationship would change. Many years later and in another social services organization, I did encounter a man with an undeclared bank account with $30,000.00 in it. I discovered it and he was prosecuted, found guilty and fined. There’s a process in place you see to deal with those who knowingly defraud.

Thankfully, that trial which I attended and was called to be a witness in still didn’t negatively affect my core belief in the people I had the privilege to assist as their Caseworker. And let’s make no mistake; it is a privilege. Those who are the most vulnerable in our society need good people with empathy, compassion, care and well-developed skills, experience; knowledgeable of the resources to which people can be connected. Should I find myself on the other side of the table, I sure hope to find a compassionate, understanding individual sitting across from me who believes my story and extends to me the resources I may not have the awareness of to ask for.

Now if you’ve never had any reason to avail yourself of social services, (welfare), or if your experience is limited to one or more people you know who brag about fooling the system and scamming, you might be inclined to think as this person did. Let me tell you the reality though; most people in receipt of social assistance are legitimately poor and deal with multiple barriers to financial independence. Many have underdeveloped decision-making skills primarily because they’ve had poor role models. Some have grown up in families on social assistance themselves, what we refer to a generational poverty.

Breaking away from poverty is incredibly difficult when you start off in a family that doesn’t highly value education; that may see any attempt to better yourself as a slap in the face to the rest of them. The high cost of food, housing, transportation, childcare – pretty much the core basic needs we all strive for, keep people from focusing on what many of us who have these basic needs fulfilled do, our potential. Because we go home at night to places that are safe, private, comfortable; because we put good food on the table, because we sleep in clean beds, shower at will and put on clean clothes each day, we can focus on other needs. Remove these things and suddenly our own priorities would change – and in a heartbeat.

No, I won’t ever believe or advise some new employee to look at everyone who comes to them for help as a scammer. Do some people do whatever they can, or say what they believe needs to be said in order to get some additional funds to buy better food or pay the rent they couldn’t afford otherwise? I’m know that happens.

It’s vitally important that as a society, we keep those out of power those who enact legislation and bring about changes to punitively punish the poor. On the front line, we have to trust those above us and those above them, hoping they always work and act with the best interests of our end-users in mind. That’s not always easy to see.

You know what one of the most important things you can do whenever you meet with someone who shares their story? Tell them you believe them. Build some trust. Get at the deep stuff. Then use your powers of knowledge and resources to help them help themselves. Don’t become embittered, burnt out and cold.

We’re just people helping people in the end.

This Is Not About Mark And Julie


When Mark was first approached with the offer of help finding a job over a couple of weeks, he accepted the invite, but openly expressed his doubts that I could teach him anything he wasn’t already doing on his own. You know what? I relish that honesty in people; I wasn’t insulted in the least.

Now Julie on the other hand? While her feelings were similar, her choice of words and her decision to decline the help offered was received quite differently. Not only was she sure I couldn’t do anything to help her, she said two weeks with me would be a complete waste of her valuable time.

What made Julie’s reaction and decision all the more puzzling at the time was that a highly respected colleague of mine had referred us to each other and Julie was touted as a ‘Superstar’; someone I’d absolutely be impressed with. Well she made an impression. I can’t convey in words the tone of voice she used on the phone, the emphatic disdain she communicated for the help offered.

So you should know, what both Mark and Julie were offered was to be one of twelve participants in a two-week intensive job search group. All twelve have to have: 1) A résumé 2) Basic computer skills 3) A clear employment goal 4) strong motivation to find work 5) Give me permission to give them honest feedback and 6) come dressed daily in business casual clothing ready for interviews – because they will get them. Beyond making the self-investment of time to realize their financial independence, the cost to attend? Free. In fact, I’d see they got money for clothing and grooming needs, full transportation costs to get around, funds they could use for lunch if they chose to and when they did get a job anywhere up to $500 to buy whatever they needed to get off to a good start.

Now to me, this is a pretty easy choice to make. After all, Mark, Julie and the other people I extend this offer to are all unemployed or severely underemployed; sometimes working part-time outside their field of training or volunteering. Now I know that most people are already doing a job search on their own, and that some of what people are doing already is quite good. However, if the results are not forthcoming, doesn’t it seem sensible to take advantage of free help from someone recognized as a professional helping others find work?

My accumulated years of experience has told me that when most people don’t seize such opportunities, something – or some things are going on beyond what is known. Yes, they could be secretly working and don’t want to be found out, but that’s not typically what’s going on. One of the key things I do actually is work with people and after establishing mutual respect and trust, make it a point to get at what barriers they are facing which prevent them from moving forward and realizing their goals.

Now you might not think this approach is necessary; if you help somebody write a cover letter and resume, prepare them for the interview and wish them the best, they’ll get work soon enough. That may be true of course, but if this is all you do, you’ll be puzzled and disappointed when they lose their employment in short order. Some will contact you and ask for more help, while others will feel embarrassed and not contact you as they don’t want to let you down.

You might wonder then how far I can get with twelve people in only two weeks to set up the trust required to have each person open up and share what they would otherwise keep buried. I tell you this, the faster a person opens up and the more they share, the better the counsel I can offer, and the more effective the help will be they receive. In the end, what most end up with is a job best suited to not only their education and experience, but in an environment where they’ll not only survive, but thrive. Now as an unemployed person, doesn’t this sound enticing?

The most significant factor in achieving success is wanting what you’re after with enthusiasm. If you want it – I mean REALLY want it, that inner motivation and enthusiasm will be exactly what it takes to get you through when the roadblocks pop up. Instead of throwing up your hands in exasperation, you’ll roll up your sleeves and dig deep. Make no mistake, the job seeker has to want work more than the person helping them find it.  If it’s the other way around, lasting success won’t come.

Here’s the thing about Mark; recall if you will he’s the guy who expressed doubts but accepted the offer. When we wrapped up our time together, Mark told me that he was really suspicious but it was at noon on day 1 that he realized how thankful he was that he got the offer and accepted. His is a success story in that he did find work. He ended up moving from Ontario to British Columbia, accepting a full-time job at $120,000 per year. Quite a significant change from receiving social assistance and feeling frustrated, low self-worth and getting less than $15,000 per year.

When opportunity comes your way, make a change; say yes if you typically answer with a, ‘no thank you’. There’s a lot of great help out there to seize!

The Expectation of Hope


Think about the services and or goods you offer your customers or clients. Every one of the people who choose to receive what you offer do so in the expectation that what they get fulfills a need or want. In short, they hope that you can deliver on a promise and their expectation will either be fulfilled or left wanting. Never forget this.

The greater the hopes of the person with whom you interact, the greater the responsibility to deliver on your service to meet and/or exceed their expectations. So think for a moment about the demographics of the people you serve. How needy or desperate are they? Have they cause to feel skeptical or perhaps even cynical about what they might receive? For many people, their trust has been taken advantage of numerous times leading up to their encounter with you. All those past negative experiences, most of which you know little or nothing about whatsoever, go a long way to explaining their obvious lack of trust in what you can deliver.

If we lose sight of this when we first encounter someone – and it’s not inconceivable that the very best of us do so from time-to-time, we might misinterpret their lack of enthusiasm for our help as being indifferent, unmotivated, disconnected or only mildly motivated at best. The actual truth may be that they are indeed seeking out help with great earnest, but when it comes to having faith and getting their hopes raised only to be dashed yet again, their cautious. No one but the person knows how many times that hope was given and abused or neglected with the care it deserved.

This is a position of trust we’ve got you and me. As a Service Provider, our client or customer is the very reason we’re in business. Treat our customers well and deliver on what we promise and we get a following. Mistreat our customers, play on their blind trust and abuse them in the process and our reputations suffer as a result. Not only our reputations by the way, but the reputation of our employer by association and this extends further out into the public domain. Hence people generalize and say things like, “All retailers are so and so, all government workers are this and that,” and eventually, “you can’t trust anyone.”

So it’s not hard to imagine that look of exasperation on their face, that smirk of disbelief, and you know you’re only getting lip service in reply to your offer of genuine help. It’s easy to misinterpret such behaviour and body language as communicating a lack of commitment or even laziness. You might wonder, “What have I done to deserve this? I’m trying my best and getting nowhere.”

Move away from your own perspective, from one you need to get out of the meeting. What’s important here is to focus on the person before you and empathize with their situation, questioning and listening with compassion to understand their perspective; all of which comes out of the sum of their past experiences. The most vulnerable of people are often the ones who trust blindly and without reservation. They innocently believe people will always work in their best interests, deliver on what they promise and do what they say they will. When that trust is betrayed and the person left wanting again and again, eventually that innocence and trust is replaced with mistrust and self-preservation.

Our responsibility then when we first meet people is to ensure that whatever we promise we can indeed deliver on. We don’t want to be yet another person that let them down, that promised something and didn’t come through on. For who knows, we may not just be “yet another person who let me down”; we just might be, “the last person who’s going to let me down – the final straw.”

People come to us with hope. They hope that we can be helpful, that we can move them forward toward whatever the goal they wish to reach is. Whether it’s a purchase made online, help determining career direction, employment advice, or help repairing a fragile relationship, they come with hope.

Don’t always expect that hope and trust are given. In some ways, the bond you forge with someone who initially presents as suspicious of your motives and holds back from fully investing their hopes in you and what you might do can be richer and far more rewarding when their trust is gained. Those initial first seeds of hope that you sow in someone’s mind can be cultivated over time to produce a lasting change; possibly even renewing their confidence and faith in believing in others.

Hope is why people even show up to meet with you and I. Oh sure they might have to come to meet some legislative requirement or ‘play the system’ to get a desired outcome. I get that. But to think they have zero hope at the same time is a mistake. Hope is a wonderful thing to possess and an even better thing to know you’ve reciprocated and delivered on. To act in such a way that supports what you’ve promised and have someone express gratitude for what you’ve done for them is a wonderful thing.

Today, think about the hope YOU represent for the people you meet with. See if this awareness in the moment changes the dialogue.

 

Are You Trustworthy?


You know yourself better than anyone else of course. So I ask you my reader, are you trustworthy? Would your co-workers and supervisor back up your belief that you are? So how would you prove it?

Being trustworthy is a very good quality to have. An employer can show their trust in you by giving you the keys to the store and asking you to open it up in the morning and/or close it up at night. Or perhaps you’re trusted to make the night deposits of cash and balance the till without dipping your hand in and helping yourself.

In a broader context, no matter your role in an organization, you’re undoubtedly trusted to represent the employer well when you’re on your personal time. With so much competition in the marketplace for customers money and ongoing loyalty, employer’s have to be more careful than ever that their reputations stay positive. The last thing they can tolerate is poor behaviour on the part of their employees in public that would soil that reputation and have their customers take their business elsewhere.

The job interview I suppose is really a conversation where the employer sizes up how well they can trust you to perform on the job the way you say you will. They do their very best to ask questions and check on past behaviour to assure themselves that if they place their trust in you by offering you a job, you’ll reward that same trust by performing as expected.

So is saying you can be trusted enough? Absolutely not. Both those who are indeed trustworthy and those who aren’t will make the same claims. “Don’t worry, you can trust me.” You can read that sentence with cynicism or complete faith in the claim. The thing is, trust is something you are given or something to be earned, where over time, you’re given increased responsibilities based on the employer’s trust in your ability to perform. Reward their trust with small things and you’ll find greater trust is placed in you.

Trust can be shown in many ways; you’re trusted to be genuinely sick if you phone in claiming to be ill. When the employer expects you to work independently, you’re trusted to actually put in the work you’re being paid to do. And should you join an existing team, you’ll most likely be trusted to pull your weight, contribute to the team’s performance, and not sabotage projects and put deadlines at risk.

Now the thing about losing the trust of others is that it can take a long time to regain the initial trust they placed in you. If you are often calling in sick you might lose the confidence of your co-workers who come to view you as untrustworthy. If you’ve got a police record, you may find it extremely difficult to convince an employer to place their trust in you – even when that offence is 10, 15 or more years in the past. They worry that hiring you with that record could hurt them tremendously should you abuse their trust and re-offend. Just ask an out-of-work person with a criminal record how it feels not to be trusted in the present for something they’ve done decades ago.

Now on a daily basis, you can demonstrate trust in the small things you undertake. Make a promise to call someone back by the end of the day and they will hold you to your word. If you phone, they appreciate it greatly. Fail to phone however, and their trust in your word drops and the next time you make such a promise they have less faith that you actually will. If you agree to relieve someone for their break coverage, they’ll trust you to appear at the appointed time, and telling them why you were held up may or may not suffice to support their trust in you.

Now on your résumé, you might want to start a bullet or two with the words, “Trusted to …”, or “Entrusted with …”. The implication here is that in earlier jobs you were trusted to do things by employer’s so the employer you’re hoping to work for now can trust you too. While this is good, you’d better be ready in the job interview itself to have examples ready to share of HOW they trusted you that prove your trustworthiness. Claims alone won’t cut it. Nobody is going to say they can’t be trusted, so the opposite is true; even those that can’t be trusted will claim to be. Your examples will if done properly, convince interviewers of trust previously placed in you and your performance in rewarding that trust.

Now suppose you’ve lost the trust of others you work with. What can be done to regain it? You might consider the honest but gutsy approach. Admit you’ve been less that trustworthy and you want to work hard to re-earn their faith in you. While words are good – and they are – you’ll be best served by then behaving in the way they’d expect. If you’re covering their phones when they are away training, let them return to find the calls answered and actioned. If you’re attendance has been sketchy and your teamwork less than stellar, pull your weight.

Be reliable, doing what you say you will, being counted on and coming through; in short, being trustworthy. It’s pretty cool. I trust you agree with me?

Do You Believe?


As I’ve made my way into many shops this holiday season and browsed the merchandise for sale, there is an abundance of signs for sale, many with the word, “Believe” on them. It isn’t a question but rather a statement.

Now with Christmas in the air, Hanukkah well underway and everyone out shopping for presents, the person reading the sign is open to applying that belief into St. Nicholas, Christ, Jesus, Santa Claus etc. However, I wonder if anyone reads that word, “Believe” and applies it to themselves.

Now there are a lot of people who do believe in themselves to be sure. I’m just curious to know if they interpret a sign in a retail store which they’d likely only display around the holidays to mean believe in yourself. I somehow doubt that.

What does it mean to ‘believe’ however? When it comes to St. Nicholas, historians say a benevolent man with the name did actually exist and yes, he became sainted (hence the St. Nick). People ever since have honoured that same tradition of giving, and so the story goes. Then there are those who believe in the jolly old elf who lives at the north pole in a land of snow and ice who makes toys with his elves and delivers presents once a year to children all around the world. I don’t know about you, but as I write this on December 18th, maybe it’s not such a good idea to scoff at this lest you or I find our stockings bare on Christmas morn.

As you make your way around the merchandise in the stores you’ll often see the nativity scene with the 3 wise men, Mary, Joseph, some shepherds, animals, and of course the baby Jesus. In the Christian theology, this is the main event, the real reason for Christmas in the first place. So for many reading a painted wooden sign the word, ‘Believe’ could have them thinking of that evening under the star of the East in a manger.

Oh and I suppose it’s not improbable that one might believe in both events – they aren’t mutually exclusive and you could well make the case that both Jesus and Nicholas walked this earth, and both did all that is said of them. One might therefore ‘believe’ without blasphemy of the other.

But believe in yourself, or rather as you read the sign, believe in me (meaning you or me, or whomever is reading it at that moment), I wonder if that’s what first comes to mind. Could it be that someone out there reads ‘believe’ and their first thought is, “Yes, I do. I’m confident, self-assured and in full control of my destiny.” Or there may be another way for someone to interpret that single word and still be referring to themselves. I’m open to that possibility.

Not to make a pun of the sign, but yes, I wager that at some point someone has hoped for something with great earnest and taking the sign – as a sign – that the hoped for item will materialize if they only believe. “Will I get that job offer? The one I interviewed for this past week? I really need that job and know I’d do it well too. Oh I hope I get it. What’s this? “Believe…” Oh that’s the sign I’ve been waiting for! I know I’m going to get that job now!” Like I said, at some point, it’s conceivable that someone looking for a sign has found solace and comfort in that simple word.

There are those however for whom believing seems impossible. Be it Jesus, Santa Claus, Christmas, themselves even… believing? Uh, no. They may have stopped believing a long time ago.

Believing is about choosing to think a certain thing; sometimes when there is no proof one way or the other, and some call it faith too. You know, having faith or a belief that something exists, that something will come about, that time will eventually show that thing to be true and present. The funny thing about faith and belief is that the more one believes and shares their belief, the more some rally to that belief or go out of their way to prove the holder of that belief wrong. Why is that?

It’s true though. When someone says, “I believe things will be better in 2018”, someone is bound to say, “Yeah sure, good luck with that.” If someone says, “I believe I’m getting closer to getting a job”, there will always be some person who tells them not to get their hopes up, that the market is tough. Christmas and Santa Claus? Yep, the same. Someone young or old says they believe in Santa and instead of just acknowledging that belief, someone will surely say, “You believe in Santa? You’re kidding right. Prove it! You can’t can you? It’s all make-believe!”

Sad really. You believe what you believe and I’ll believe what I believe. Isn’t that tolerance? Isn’t that showing respect for each other? Be it faith, religion, politics, favourite movies, books, etc., you have your beliefs and let me and others have ours.

You want to believe a job is just around the corner, that 2018 will be better than 2017, why not? Good for you! Do your part to make it better, both for yourself and others.

In closing, Santa if you’re elves have put you onto this blog, yes I still believe!

Happiness At Work. Lost It?


Today is Valentine’s Day; the year 2017. Around the globe, countless numbers of items will be bought and given as gifts; expressions of the love someone feels for another. There’ll be cards of course; chocolates, flowers, plants, maybe even diamonds and pearls if you’re fortunate and desire them.

While the focus for the day will be on the one who holds your heart; has it ever occurred to you to pause on this day and review the love you have for the work you do? I rather doubt it. If you imagine your job or career as a physical entity, would you be writing words of love and passion or would you be acutely aware that the thrill has gone? Instead of toasting your job with a raised glass you’re looking at a bologna sandwich in your cubicle for the 5th time this month.

How long has it been since you sprang out of the house with a bounce in your step at the thought of heading on into the workplace? A sadder question for some is whether you’ve ever had that joy of anticipating what joys your day will bring? If you’re happy, really love the work you do, you my friend are fortunate. You’ve found a measure of success in that how you spend a large amount of your time has meaning for you; you’ve got purpose and satisfaction in abundance.

However, if you’ve come to the point where the job has simply become a daily chore; the work is far from fulfilling and it’s a daily grind or test of your mental endurance, you may be wondering where it all went wrong? That job you once loved, that work you found so satisfying; something changed.

What changed is probably not so much the job but rather you; the person performing the work. Maybe you mastered the skills and job requirements and nothing new has been added to stimulate your need for a challenge. Maybe you’ve changed so much yourself that just adding new challenges won’t do at all and you need a complete change of scenery, a different kind of work altogether. You’re just hanging in there; hanging on and holding on. This you’re afraid to acknowledge, is not how you envisioned your life. Worse still, you always believed you’d have the courage to make some changes if it ever got to this point…but you haven’t.

It’s as if there is a set of scales before you and on the one side you see the job with all its responsibilities and duties. Here’s your security, salary, benefits, seniority, vacation entitlement. On the other side you only see a single thing: happiness. If only happiness were on the other side along with all those other items life would be perfect. Try as you might though, you can’t move happiness over without tipping the scales and throwing off the balance.

So you stand in a state of flux; wanting happiness of course, but paralyzed at the dilemma of risking everything on the one side to seize upon your happiness. The longer you do nothing, the worse you feel because you live in the conscious knowledge that you are unfulfilled and fulfillment is becoming increasingly important t you. Fulfillment you assert, will bring you happiness.

You are faced with this choice; you must either find happiness in the work you currently do, or you must find happiness elsewhere in some new activity. Going on day after day without making a change of some sort is not going to result in anything different and to expect you’ll rediscover or ignite some happiness on a long-term basis without action isn’t realistic.

Of course if you have the ability to stay in an organization but assume new challenges, you owe it to yourself to do whatever is necessary to bring about that change. Talk with the boss, maybe HR, meet with Supervisors in other departments and put out some feelers.

Ah but if there are no options such as those above, you may have to cut loose your ties, free yourself from the trap of the status quo and take that leap of faith by pursuing happiness somewhere else. Your friends, family and current co-workers might not understand it, they will definitely question it, but they might secretly envy you for it too. They might see it as your mid-life crisis but for you its saving yourself; this one chance to finally take a risk and live!

It could mean a return to school to re-educate or update your skills and knowledge. You’ll burn with a love for learning though. It might mean a whole new career doing something others see as a step down but isn’t that their issue not yours? If you know or feel confident you know what will make you truly happy, staying where you will only eventually have you disappointed in yourself. You may grow despondent, become bitter and resent  the choice you failed to make. Following conventional wisdom may be safe but safety has its limitations.

So on this Valentines Day, look around the workplace and give a thought to the work you do. Love it? Feel fulfilled and happy for the most part? Excellent! If you don’t feel passion for the work however, if the lustre is gone and the fire that once fueled you on a daily basis, it might be time to make some changes.

 

 

I Want It Bad; You’ve Got To Want It More


Next week I’ll be starting to work with a new group of job seekers. It’s a two-week intensive job hunting program where twelve people receiving social assistance get the dedicated support of an Employment Counsellor in their pursuit of tracking down job leads, coaching on interviews that hopefully lead to job offers.

When they walk in on Monday morning, instead of getting down to it immediately, I’ll take the better part of two and a half hours setting up expectations. One of the things I’ll stress very early is that I’m passionate about wanting to help them as much as I can. I sincerely do want to help them realize their employment goals and become financially independent. However, I’ll also tell them one key thing; you’ve got to want it more than I want it for you.

“Find me a job”, is one common response when I ask people in this group what their expectation is of me. Finding them a job actually would take me about forty-five seconds. Helping them track down the right job that they are both qualified for and would be successful at and enjoy doing requires more time and effort. Hence, every participant has to come into that class knowing the kind of work they intend to look for. Tell me you’re looking for, ‘anything’ and that’s enough to tell me you’re not ready for this group.

Frustrating as a job search is, that roller coaster ride of looking for a job has got to be anticipated. Hard to have ups in other words if you don’t have the downs with which to contrast the two. What I really like about this time of the program – a few days prior – is the hope and anticipation that it gives to those who will attend next week. A prolonged job search usually robs people of hope over time, and so the prospect of getting some support and guidance, the chance to perhaps find out what you may have been doing wrong and correcting it, are key parts to raising their hopes.

Okay so what exactly would someone looking for a job get in terms of content in an intensive two weeks? We’ll look of course at targeting resumes, writing directed and powerful cover letters. Learning how to interview so you become memorable is in here too, but only after we first examine what an interview actually is in and of itself, what you have control over (more than you’d imagine), and what you don’t. How to conduct research on companies, current employees, culture, the job itself are covered. Social media and how to exploit it to your advantage with a strong emphasis on LinkedIn, plus the more traditional methods of job searching such as job boards, job sites on the web, newspapers and networking are all covered.

There’s also segments on problem-solving, conflict resolution, maintaining a relationship with a job coach even after the job starts, building trusting relationships, what employers are looking for in 2014, the pros and cons of both age and using temporary agencies. We’ll look at how to address tough interview questions; “Why’d you leave your last job?”, “Explain this gap on your resume?” “Why should I hire you?” and the most often asked question, “Tell me about yourself.”

There’s time spent on gathering references, tracking your job search, learning from failure, determining the style of leadership you’d function best under, clothing choices, grooming, non-verbal communication and the whole before, during and after the interview routine. And if this sounds like a full two weeks already, consider that for the bulk of the days, clients are expected to job search. It’s the client who has to actually do the job of looking for a job. You see, when they get the call inviting them to an interview, I want them to feel good about having got it themselves. When they get offered the job and give me credit, I want to pay it back and tell them they got it themselves because I wasn’t there with them. You CAN build someone’s self-respect and self-esteem and then…look what they can accomplish!

But all of the above, (and there’s more content I assure you) is only going to eventually lead to securing a good job or career if the person wants it more than I want it for them. It starts with an attitude of hunger; you have to want work. It also means being open to honest feedback and having your shortcomings pointed out to you and then choosing to do something about them instead of becoming defensive. It’s about having a positive attitude in the wake of employer rejections, knowing that with each and every job you research and apply to you are learning and getting better at doing things for yourself in the best way possible.

That little voice of doubt that whispers in your ear that you’ll fail? Everybody who has ever lived has probably had that voice whisper to them from time to time. Small successes; one built on another, can build momentum and silence that voice, replacing it with a voice that speaks much louder, “NOT ONLY CAN I DO IT, I DID IT!”

But for now, wanting it bad is a good start. Next up; putting into action what wanting alone will not achieve.

All It Takes Is One Person To Believe


I want to think that everyone has had at least one person in their life who really believed in them. You know, that person who told you that you were a wonderful person. Maybe they said you had great things in store for you ahead, or that you meant a lot to them. Like I say, I hope everybody out there has had the good fortune of having at least one person believe in them. And here’s a positive way of looking at things if you haven’t had this experience; it just means that you’ve still got this one person who believes in you in your future.

Now this isn’t a blog about finding Mr. or Mrs. Right, and I’m not talking about finding a soul mate or life-long partner. I’m talking here about one person who thought, (or thinks) you’ve got what it takes to become employed and do meaningful work.

One of the easiest things to do is put down or dismiss others. You’ve overheard no doubt in your lifetime people make comments like, “She’ll never amount to anything”, “He’ll never get a job” or “Who’d hire them?” These are the broad kind of statements that when on the receiving end, can demoralize even the most determined person. Think about it for a moment; imagine these kind of comments and others like them coming from your teachers early in life, your friends and their parents as a child, possibly even your own family and parents. Then this trend carries on to include employers who consistently reject or ignore your applications, and those who don’t hire you if you are lucky enough to finally land an interview. All that reinforcement of your low value and worth. That’s got to hurt.

One more extension of this could be that upon reaching out for help, you find yourself being told things similar to the above by various social agencies. While the words might come more gently, the message might be received as the same; you don’t have what it takes.

Fair enough, lets start rebuilding your self-esteem and hope for the future. What you are really in need of is that one single person who sees something in you that with some effort on your part, and some patience on theirs, can grow and flourish.

I do think it important to realize that you are going to need some coaching in order to be successful. No matter much an athlete believes in themselves, nor how much raw talent they have, it takes a coach; sometimes a team of coaches to take that raw talent and develop those skills to the level necessary to realize the athletes’ potential.

So the first thing you can do to help yourself is tell someone who’s offering to help you that you are open to listening to them and taking their ideas in. And this means being open to constructive criticism. To move forward and get a job might really mean not actually even applying for a job for a while. There may some foundation work needed first; work necessary so that when you do apply you not only have a good resume for example, but the proper interview skills to compete, and the job maintenance skills to keep a job once you land it.

In short, you might have it suggested to you that you work on things in stages; talk about what employers are really looking for in the people who hire them, what it takes to get along with co-workers and other people, how to deal with conflict professionally and effectively when it inevitably does come up, how to dress, talk, act, walk, speak and oh yes, get a better resume and interview skills.

Does this seem like an extensive amount of work just to get a job? Isn’t all you needed just a resume? If it seems like a lot of work to you, imagine the effort being put in by the person who thinks you’re worth investing all that time and work in. Somebody must think you’ve got what it takes to be successful if they are willing to work with you this much.

Can you walk away if you want at any time from this kind of pre-work training program? Sure you can. But thinking back to the athlete analogy, no professional athlete in any sport plays at an elite level without attending practices. In fact, the ones most successful and truly great are often the ones who show up before anyone else and stay after the rest leave. So how can you really expect long-term positive results if you aren’t willing to put in the work to work on things that you need to improve on?

You see having one person believe in you does not necessarily mean they say, “You’ve got what it takes to go get a job right now so go get ’em.” It may in fact mean they say, “Sure I can help you, but the plan will take some commitment on your part; perhaps some workshops, a haircut, some self-esteem and skill development seminars.

All it takes is that one person to believe in you, but do yourself the biggest favour and first give yourself some credit and believe in yourself. It can get better, you can be successful, you can reach your goals. It takes effort, it takes work and learning means replacing old ways with the new. Believe.