Pass The Salt

The bowl was created by Cynthia Guajardo of Colorado Art Studio, with all copyrights for both the photo and the bowl belonging to the author. As a courtesy, I’ve linked the image to her studio web site for others interested in seeing more of her work.

I held my last job for 17 years because I consistently did things right. Makes sense, doesn’t it? If you are a complete screw-up, you’re not going to last long on the job. Even a sense of humour and being approachable and friendly only goes so far before you’re shown the door, regardless of how much your co-workers like you.

At the risk of tooting my horn too much, research and experience are the foundations of how I do my job. I ask questions, try to understand what’s going on around me, take notes for analysis, and determine future trends based on previous actions. This approach has served me well for so long, most of the time.

Still, despite my best efforts to get the facts straight before coming to a conclusion, sometimes the problem does not get solved, or the situation is not as crystal-clear as I thought. When that happens, two words are spoken, the first beginning with a vowel, the second beginning with a consonant.

No, not those two words. These words: I’m wrong.

For many, it’s one of the toughest phrases to say in the English language. I admit it’s not easy for me to say it, but as I said before, doing things right is important to me both professional and personally. This includes admitting I’m wrong when I am indeed wrong.

For those of you who follow my blog, you know I’m not a big fan of employment assistance centres. I’ve registered with three since I started my job search and I wasn’t impressed with any of the contacts my case was assigned to. They rarely replied to my Emails or returned my phone calls. They gave advice that was useless. Their previous work background did not lend well to their ability to help unemployed people like myself. When I was told by an assistant of MPP Kathleen Wynne’s office to go see a fourth employment assistance centre (Skills For Change), my past experience led me to the conclusion this was going to be a waste of job search time.

I was wrong. The career coach/counsellor handling my case both surprised and impressed me. She offered suggestions that were fresh and out of the box, and not the tired old script of using action words to market myself like some product. Instead of sending me off to do more workshops, she went through my period of unemployment with a figurative fine-tooth comb and identified what worked and what did not. In short, she didn’t talk with me, she talked to me. I wasn’t treated like a case number on an assembly line, but like a person. She spent time working on a new design format for my résumé. Best of all……she answers my Emails!

I still feel employment centres as a whole really need to work closer with government and the business community to help people like myself find work. They need to standardize methods that are proven to work and give advice that actually does work. In specific, some staff at those places really need to go easy on people’s personal property, like my USB fob.

Having said this, I’m guilty of tarring a profession with the same brush based on my past bad experiences. While my concerns and issues with employment centres are valid, judgement on performance should be based on an individual basis and not as a collective whole. For that, I was wrong to assume otherwise, and it’s time to say I’m sorry.

It’s the right thing to do.

Thanks for reading!



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