Voyaging Part Two

I used to be 50.

“Fifty” could be a song title like “Seventeen” was by Sharon Von Etten.

I’m getting older and thinking of what I want to leave behind as a legacy to define my life’s work.

I will carry with me as a voyager on earth all the days of my life the message that everyone’s doing the best we can in whatever guise recovery comes to us.

I’ve witnessed how a person’s struggle can be hard and brave when they’re hanging on with all they’ve got.

We are all tasked with having empathy, because everyone we meet is facing a battle.

What you and I bring back from our voyages can cheer on the others coming after us.

The rowing towards wellness should be encouraged.

Ultimately, you and I need to have compassion for ourselves and others.

We’re voyagers on this sea.

I’m shooting towards 60. This impacts my thinking. We’re all of us if we’re lucky going to turn 60 someday.

Why spend one minute of our long lives judging and hating each other.

Love and forgiveness are the oars.

Each “souvenir” we bring back from our travels becomes a part of who we are.

We share what we’ve learned from other people and other cultures.

That is the ultimate purpose of voyaging: to come together as human beings living on earth to explore our humanity.

Voyaging Part One

The postcard shown above I hand-fashioned in the Creativity Lab at the Museum of Modern Art / MoMa. It took me about 15 minutes to choose the elements of the composition.

“Today I tried” reminded me of when I was the Health Guide at the HealthCentral schizophrenia website.

There the editorial team wrote: “The only real failure is the failure to try.”

That’s audacious telling people living with SZ this. Only:

Trying can be as simple as getting out of bed.

Or cooking yourself a meal. Or taking a shower.

It’s the effort that counts not the outcome.

Michael Jordan is quoted too:

“Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.”

This is the viaduct in recovery as I see it: to try, to risk, to fail, and to try again.

To understand that life is to be lived “one second at a time” as we do what it takes to live well in recovery.

For what is recovery if not an act of courage to continue?

Read your 12-Step books. Go for a walk in the neighborhood. Call a friend on the telephone. Paint or sketch.

Engage in healing modalities like these and other habits.

As long as you try, as long as you give something your best shot, there can be no shame if it doesn’t work out.

In the next blog entry I’ll write more about the idea of voyaging.

Disability Job Search Websites

Job search websites cater to people with disabilities.

It’s a myth that people diagnosed with mental illness can’t hold a competitive job.

I’ll keep this post short and to the point: individuals with any kind of life challenge might be able to hold a job that they like.

For help finding that job websites exist.

Try the following:

AbilityJobs

GettingHired

DisabilityJobExchange

Promoting the Business of You

I call the tactic of selling yourself to an employer promoting The Business of You. This is commonly referred to as Brand You.

Narrowing your job leads to the companies that fit with your work ethic can make all the difference.

Having to act against your nature to attempt to succeed on a job will only set you up to fail.

As evidenced by my ill-fated first career in the buttoned-up insurance field.

You’ll have an easier time of it when you’re interviewing for jobs that are the perfect fit.

Sometimes you won’t realize you’ve made a mistake until you’ve already tried on one career for size.

And the reverse can be true: having to keep your disability under wraps as you try to succeed in a traditional workplace can doom you to fail too.

Everyone blindly goes on Indeed.com to search for jobs. What if there was a better way? A way to find a job where your disability is an asset. Not the thing that employers use to rule you out.

Job search websites exist for individuals with disabilities.

An Accenture study proves that companies that hire people with disabilities obtain a higher shareholder return.

Not only this:

As per the Accenture study: “The GDP could get a boost up to $25 billion if just 1 percent more of persons with disabilities joined the U.S. labor force.”

Up next a list of job search websites geared to people like us.

Qualifying Your Job Leads

Brand You is the product you’re selling to your prospective boss. You need to qualify your job leads to narrow your choices to the employers whose workplace culture and environment mirror you own values and needs.

Qualifying your job leads is a way to act strategic instead of blitzing scores of companies blindly with your resume simply because you want a job.

Target your job search to the firms where you will fit in. Kate Wendleton published the book Packaging Yourself: The Targeted Resume.

I figured out quickly when I took a job in a law firm while going to school that transferring from one office job to another office job (even in a different field) was a mistake.

What the company needs and what you need in terms of goals (their bottom line and your professional goals) should be in synch.

You will ensnare your future boss when you’re able to cogently tell that person why you want to work for that company. This is critical when you’re going on a job interview.

Remember these sales dictums: Don’t try to sell the customer a blue shirt if all they want is a white one. Sell the benefit not the feature.

If you’re wearing a “blue shirt” to a company that needs a white one in effect the interview is a waste of time.

Power listing your skills, abilities, strengths, and experience gives you the features of your product. What is the benefit of the company in hiring a person like you who has these qualifications?

What you bring to the table should demonstrate that you will fit into that particular workplace.

More on promoting The Business of You in the next blog entry.

Coming up after that: a list of job search websites specifically for individuals with disabilities.

Will You Fit into the Company Culture?

Here’s where it pays to take a rigorous accounting of your prior job environments.

At one ill-fated interview I went on in the 1990s the woman asked me what I liked best about my last job.

“I loved the interaction among coworkers,” doomed me as soon as I told her.

Apparently, for that woman at that job this wasn’t the right answer. Luckily, I wasn’t hired.

This is because the building would’ve been a 10-minute walk from the subway.  In that time, it took me at least two hours on the subway to get into Manhattan. Factor in a 10-minute walk in addition to the subway ride.

Having an isolated job at a desk away from coworkers would’ve sealed the deal that it wasn’t worth it to walk 10 minutes to get to an isolated building.

Today it’s imperative to research the business environment.

There’s been the opposite trend of “open offices” where everyone is working in one big room without dividers like in the traditional cubicle format.

Would you thrive in this workplace where you’re on display while going about your business?

As you can see, fitting into the company culture is imperative.

In my career handbook Working Assets I talk about qualifying your job leads like a salesperson qualifies their prospective clients to pitch a product or service to.

More on this in the next blog entry.

Will You Love the Job?

This is something you should ideally figure out in the interview process not after you’ve started the job. Once you’re on the job, you shouldn’t want to jump ship as soon as you start it.

Again, this is where researching the company comes in handy.

If you don’t think climate change is man-made, you wouldn’t interview for a Green Alternatives Think Tank.

If you’re an eco-conscious soul, your values would tie in at Banana Republic where the water is returned to the environment clean and dye-free after garment creation.

The answer you give to this question—in whatever guise it’s asked—should tie into the company’s mission and values.

A friend took a questionnaire when he wanted to get a job as a pharmaceutical sales rep. He was coached on how to respond to the question: How important is money to you? The candidate was supposed to clearly state that money is the most important thing.

So, for you maybe earning a high salary is your goal.

Showing the interviewer that your values align with the company’s mission is a way to stand out.

Can You Do the Job?

A Workopolis.com internet article referred to a Forbes article that listed the 3 Most Important Interview Questions: Can you do the job? Will you love the job? Will you fit into the company culture?

I’ll tackle each question in a separate blog entry.

The category of question that the first one falls under is often termed behavioral. What would you do on the job in a certain situation?

This is where having a CAR statement handy benefits you. Talk about a Challenge you faced on a job or in a related position like volunteer work. Tell the interviewer the Action you took to resolve the situation. Then end with the Result of your Action.

Before any of this goes down on the job interview you will have researched the company to figure out what its pressing need is. On the interview you can then sell yourself as the only person qualified to fill this need.

I understand that you might have self-doubt. Or not perform well under pressure like in an interview. Remember that this is a two-way process. You’re interviewing the interviewer too. You want to try to assess the person inside their persona.

Will you love the job? We’ll talk in the coming blog entry about what you can tell the interviewer when they ask you this question. It can be framed in different ways.

Finding the Ideal Work Environment

Today with the rise of people embracing multiple gender identities it begs the question: what is the ideal environment to work in for those of us who identify as non-binary or transgender?

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) in the United States has tracked workplace policies since 2002. The HRC has seen an uptick in benefits like providing employee health insurance that covers gender-confirmation operations.

Should a person like me or a non-binary or other person be forced to work outside of an office? It comes down to investigating diligently in your job search the company culture at different firms you’d like to send resumes to.

The fact is a person who dresses differently or has piercings or tattoos could otherwise be quiet and reserved or have a more traditional method to executing their tasks on a job.

While networking with staff at companies on LinkedIn everyone can be cordial, and it might be hard to glean their real-life MO. Yet sleuthing around before you’re made a job offer should be standard operating procedure.

The internet literature tells businesses to execute “diversity training” to familiarize employees with how to engage with transgender coworkers in a non-biased way. This extends beyond the dress code. It can only be a great stride that companies encourage individuality in the modern workplace.

The more often that people who express unique identities get hired at different workplaces I’m hoping that things get better in society in terms of treating everyone with dignity and compassion.

More in the next blog entry on the 3 most important questions you’ll be asked on an interview. The reason they’re asked is to gauge how well you’ll fit in at the company.

Dress Code Diversity

An innovative tactic for promoting Brand You is through how you dress. As I wrote in a blog entry innovative thinking should be prized as a tool to generate solutions that achieve profits for businesses. Visionaries are in the vanguard in how we dress as well. Restricting the type of clothes, a person wears on their job can backfire.

A more relaxed dress code can promote gender equality. A lot of women prefer to wear pants not skirts or dresses. Allowing staff to dress in their own style within the bounds of what’s appropriate can boost morale. Forty-five percent of firms that instituted a casual dress code saw increased productivity.

Adhering to a strict dress code rules out hiring a diverse talent pool. Individuals who don’t dress in a traditional style are shut out of the workplace at classic companies.

For those of us loathe to wear a suit on the job I recommend getting a job in a public library or other non-corporate environment. I can remember all those suits I wore in the 1990s to my insurance office jobs. Good riddance to the 1990s—and to dressing in boring, bland outfits with no pizzazz.

In the coming blog entry, I’ll talk about a real issue in the workplace for people who don’t conform. Though it begs the question as to whether there can be a “norm” from which others deviate.

I say: hold on. Not so fast with the norms.