" SpiritofSaltSpring:BC:Canada:GulfIslands:SaltSpring:Salt Spring:

June 11, 2009

What's Luck Got to Do With It?

For quite some time now I've intentionally tried to refrain from saying "Good Luck".

While I do believe that timing and chance often intervene in scenarious so they turn out advantageous, more often than not, it's all the background work that took place (alone, in silence) that actually had more to do with positive outcomes.

After working part-time at the employment centre for the past seven months, I've learned a lot (just from experiencing my interactions with the people who come in) about what to do/not to do next time I'm in need of job. And, let's face it, nothing I say here will be new or earthshattering. But, we so often forget what most of us already know when it comes to looking for work.

1. First impressions, whether at a formal interview or the first time you're walking into a place, are mostly about body language and energy first, then words. What that means is, if you've got a personal problem, you're incredibly depressed, or you're angry, unfortunately, a forced smile won't hide that energy. Fix that first.

2. A sense of entitlement is an instant turn-off. Quiet confidence isn't.

3. It's all about the employer. It's not about you. Your financial stability/instability is not an employers responsibility or priority. That's the way it works. If you can't accept what an employer wants before you even get hired, don't go there.

4. Keeping in continuous contact with those who can help you find work is not a bother, it's a necessity so that they will remember you and think of you when a job becomes available. You might think you're being bothersome but you're not. People who work with a lot of people see a lot of people every day in addition to all the other tasks they must perform. If you're not interacting with them weekly, unless there's something really amazing or weird or annoying about you, they won't remember you even if you think they should.

5. Asking for feedback is positive. Today, a guy with a Masters in Social Work and expertise in post traumatic stress, individual and group counselling, divorce mediation and years of experience asked for my advice and he actually listened. Recognize that styles in resumes and ways of looking for work change ever so slightly and getting feedback is almost always a good way to check in and discover whether what you're doing is as current as it could be and sells your skills to the highest degree.

6. Be friendly and go out of your way to carry on a conversation with the person you need to interact with in any office, especially those that may help get you work.

7. Share your personal experience to the fullest extent. The most common useless information I receive is "I'll do anything. I just need a job." I always want to say in response, Will you be a hooker? Will you join the Canadian army? Want to clean outhouses? Point made. Often hobbies and participation in associations can link you to a position that otherwise you would never have been matched with so being as specific and detailed about your experience, paid and non paid, and what you want and don't want is critical.

8. Be open to giving EVERYONE the benefit of the doubt at least once.

9. Good manners never went out of style. Some people just never had them in the first place. A thank you, when someone went out of their way to help you, especially written in the form of a card, goes way further than you might imagine.

10. It's said that actors are only as good as their last performances. It's kind of the same for employment. What you USED to do, and how much money you USED to make as in past tense can sometimes be irrelevant especially when you have chosen to live in an environment such as Salt Spring where the options (for regular work) are limited. Accept the employment reality of the environment you find yourself in at the moment or move.

11. Think about your future and aim so much higher. One of the things that pains me the most in this job is meeting young people who have not graduated from high school. That's not a crime. That's fixable. But what is much harder to fix is a complete lack of motivation, curiosity, desire to better oneself, a consciousness about the significance of learning. Every time I meet someone who currently lacks all of those things, I fear for them and especially for their children because often they have babies.

12. Passion and enthusiasm, not money, are the most important things in a job search. There's always going to be another lousy job that pays next to no money, especially if you have no education, no skills, no training.

13. Do some research and find out whether there are options through the government for funding the training you want. Those usually require you to be attached to Employment Insurance within the last 3 years but it's better to ask and get the facts than to assume the negative.

14. And always the most important...Just stop, get quiet and check in on that internal wise sage to see how you're feeling about the people you've met and the duties described to really cover your bases in determining whether it's a good choice or not.

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