Last week I had two job interviews. One was for a job developer to work feverously to place twelve people in working situations they would neither like nor want to keep for any appreciable length of time. I was glad today when I was told I didn’t get it.  I learned that it would only pay $20/hour – a salary I was earning 15 years ago and struggling to make ends meet.

The second was for a large insurance company. They wanted to hire someone to work with people who were on their their clients and earning disability benefits. They thought their clients would be much happier working, and I, during my interview, agreed.  I agreed especially heartily when I learned they were offering almost double the salary.

Those who read my periodic musings will note that I am a trained archaeologist and also a trained fitness instructor, What do these two avocations have in common with that of an employment specialist or a Long Term Disability Case Manager.

Not much, at first glance – until you start to look at “Transferrable Skills.”

Transferrable skills are ones that you take with you from job-to-job. They include all the soft skills like communication, problem solving, and negotiation, but also some practical skills such as how to do other jobs, and what one can bring to them in the course of doing them.

I left my graduate program in archaeology because my committee wanted me to begin to do animal experiments.  I couldn’t justify this, so I became a street social worker in a city near Vancouver. I knew how to do this because I ran a suicide prevention program in Vancouver as an undergraduate. I revived the skills I needed for this jon and convinced the executive director that not only could I do it,  but I could do it better than most people.

While there, I learned a thing or two about employment programming, and after 13 years as a streetworker, I got a job at the Vancouver School Board and learned a lot more about employment – so much more that I became pretty good at devising strategies to work with people with physical disabilities. I even broke into the field of public speaking about it.

There is a glut of workers on the job market presently. That is why I did a brainwashing session with myself, and discovered I should see what the insurance industry might offer. That’s when I discovered the wonderful world of disability case management. It’s time to drop the skills needed in the world of the non-profit sector and attack the for-profits.

I did so. I had a good interview, and I applied for several more.  I learne there were more opportunities in this field than elsewhere.

Wish me luck!

Mike Broderick WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he FOUND employment for people with physical disabilities.


He remains an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at  or at 604-464-4105.

If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a résumé makeover at competitive rates .

Apparently 22% of companies in the Greater Vancouver area will be hiring within the next month. Get your résumés ready.






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