The Envelope’s Edge

Traditional job search methods, like the inside of an envelope, only go so far. Sometimes it becomes necessary to push the envelope boundaries, regardless of what others might think of you. Image from the library at Wikicommons.

My campaign to find full time work and return to financial self reliance and self sufficiency involves many initiatives and efforts. Even though they are meant to run seamlessly side-by-side, each take a unique approach that range from the traditional to the envelope pushing.

The traditional approaches include but are not limited to applying online for job openings, attending workshops and getting advice from employment assistance centres, networking with friends, co-workers and family;  going to job fairs and interviews, while doing any sort of part time and temp work I have a skill set for. These are expected of me as a job seeker, and usually would not raise an eyebrow.

The envelope pushing approaches are those that I have been forced to do when little fruit has been plucked from the traditional. This blog was the start of it, followed by my episodic series, “David Needs A Job” which ran for over 30 episodes on YouTube and was produced while I still had a roof over my head in Toronto and only had to worry about finding a job. I posted ads on Kijiji and Craigslist Canada (which reminds me, I need to renew them for May, June, and July) stating my attention to look for work. I went on Begslist to, yeah, beg for help. I couch surfed when I was not homeless which was too often in my book and now I have my GoFundMe initiative to help me keep off the streets and get back to work.

The latter approach has produced better results. I have done piecemeal blog work, outdoor work, flyer delivery, and moving jobs all because of this approach. Why this has worked better than my traditional methods is unclear but probably because no one has thought of trying what I did, so there’s little competition in this area of jobseeking.

This is where the reference pushing the envelope comes from…you push the limits of what the traditional methods defined in the hope of getting a result.

Pushing past the boundaries of what is traditional does not mean breaking the law or scamming or using people. It does mean shedding the mindset of “Oh, I would never do that to get a job.” Well, what do I mean by that? Well, that in my case means making my unemployment and homelessness public. “We don’t talk about you being out of work or homeless” said one person to me. Well, no, we in fact do need to talk about it. How else am I going to get help if people don’t know I’m in this much trouble? Same goes with asking for help and begging. I’m not a religious person but Matthew 7:7 sums it up beautifully:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Sounds good to me.

However, there’s a cost to this. Just because I changed my boundaries of what I am willing to do to get off the streets for good and back to full time employment does not mean other people’s boundaries will change in lockstep. Expect criticism, even harsh and hurtful comments such as the one recently received by someone I care about who said “David, you have really disappointed me” about my GoFundMe initiative.

Having said this, getting off the streets, finding a job, and escaping poverty is something no one can do for you. If your back is really up against the wall and you’re down to your last quarter or loaf, you have to do what you can. Don’t break the law, but definitely push that envelope limit.

Thanks for reading.



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