I received an email the other day from a writer, comedian and speaker who thought she might do well in life by helping other people identify their dream jobs and helping them get there.
In other words, she was looking for a source of material. I basically told her that employment counselling is a great source for the following reasons:
- Everyone can relate to it
- When someone is unemployed, finding humour in the predicament can be useful and therapeutic, and probably shorten their job search time
- The process of getting a job is a process of learning how to tell a story (For example, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.”)
- The process of getting a job involves public speaking (For example, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.”)
- Work is funny.
- Employers are funny – especially when you nail their hard hats to the floor
- Co-workers can be a riot.
She went on to tell me that she had career assessments before and they always pointed towards her being a coach or a counsellor. Here’s how I answered her:
Thank you for your thought provoking question. The trouble with thought provoking questions is that you have to think to answer them. Therefore it took me a few days to answer yours.
I too have had career assessments before they somehow all lead me to thinking my best job would be a priest. That is exactly what an uncircumcised heathen such as me would climb a mountain to avoid.
I also avoid helping people by administering tests for them. I once had a group of older men with barriers to employment when I worked for a school board. I gave them at least 10 tests all aimed at helping them select some careers that would match them in several different directions. I suppose it was my own religiosity that confused the issue, but they all went out and did information interviews with undertakers.
For me, the best assessment is a resume. I can help a client establish where they’ve been, and help them get to where they want to go from there. That, to me, is the essence of coaching. Then I spend the rest of my time with them either keeping them on track with their goals, or modifying the goals as we go along.
That’s also where the humour comes from. If you don’t believe me, follow my own career. I went from being an archaeologist to an employment guy. When I think about it, probably someone made a mistake when they opened the door and let me in. I rarely take holidays. I have a feeling that someone might change the locks on the doors when I’m gone.
Employment always involves stories. Some are funny and some are serious. I find, like you, that helping people find employment is an excellent source of humour. Everyone can relate to it. Everybody works if they can, and if they can’t, well that’s where I come in.
The problem is that there are a lot of people in the field. There are courses you can take to get into somebody’s program or other. Generally speaking, however, is that you have to learn how to do assessments whether you believe in them or not.
There are, however, other branch of the same thing, and the fields seems to be wide open. That means nobody is doing it. One of them came to my attention when I was working with a client who had diabetes. She took a general coaching course, became certified, then aimed her skills directly at people suffering from diabetes. She helped them stay on their meds, and got rich in the process.
Another one came to me as I was working with a policeman who had come to the end of his career and needed some help assessing his skills through constructing and embellishing a resume so he could work part time in his retirement. he now enjoys life in security.
I also keep running into older workers who want to get back into the labour market. Their big problem is explaining away long periods of unemployment. I train them to tell their interviewers, “Retirement didn’t work for me.”
Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Ain’t no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.
He is a newly retired ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a former member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”
He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at email@example.com or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates