Not a day goes by that something doesn’t happen that inspired me to do more, and let me tell you in my job as a mentor a little inspiration can be like magic dust when it comes to those who might be struggling. As Babana Employment’s National Manager of Mentoring I come into contact with dozens of Indigenous job seekers every single week as well as those who are contracted to work with them and sometimes the difference between someone understanding what’s happening in another person’s life are the quirks that come with having a conversation. Often what is being said is not always what is heard such as the challenges that a job seeker might be having that are not always so obvious.
One example are the number of job applications someone might try and put in per day which, after a while, just becomes a process with no really targeting of opportunities involved – in other words box ticking. Very rarely do people ask the question “what would you like to be doing?” as opposed to “what are you being told to do?”. In doing so the job seeker takes the “scatter gun” approach to looking for work and often misses. When they miss the constant stream of rejection letters can be confidence destroying and after a while people just give up.
The second example is missing what might be happening in someone’s life or what may have happened. Are things happening at home with the partner or kids? Are their daily struggles around paying bills, behind in the rent or not being able to put food on the table? Or are they struggling because they have fines that have seen their license taken away or have done a stretch in prison. These are things that tend to slip through the cracks because we tend to talk to a job seeker instead of listening.
The third example I give are those that end up suffering from depression or anxiety. You would not believe how often this comes up in conversations and can be tracked back to what I said before. People get depressed when they feel no one wants them, or that they struggle with the challenge of even getting a job interview. These daily struggles, these often times small things end up being big things.
But; there are things that we can all be doing, as job seekers and employers, to change the conversation around; to push the pause button and take stock of what is happening and what more we can all be doing to ensure more of our Indigenous brothers and sisters can lead the lives they want to. So, here my three top tips that you can enact every day:
#1: Listen more and talk less: it can be tough for the talkers out there! But from an employer or a job active perspective the ability to listen more will enable you to get a better understanding of what might be happening in someone’s life. I like to call it the “diagnosis”. It order to diagnose a problem you first need the patient to tell you what’s happening! From a job seeker perspective take some time out and listen to what a potential employer is telling you because in those moments you will get an insight into what is they are looking for … listening matters.
#2: Reaching out: sometimes small struggles are just that; but they are made worse because we don’t deal with them. Its like getting a bill in the mail – you know you have no money to pay it so you discard it, unopened. The best thing to do is take action and phone whoever you owe money to and set up a plan. Its also about reaching out for help when you need it. Reaching out is the easiest and simplest form of addressing small struggles right away instead of leaving it.
#3: Honesty is everything: be honest about the situation you are in or are facing. It doesn’t matter what the challenge is mentors can always find a way of overcoming it.
Three things that are all based around the quality of a conversation as opposed to the quantity! Three things each of us can do when it comes to listening and taking action. Here at Babana Employment we work with clients to provide a high quality mentoring service focused on our Indigenous brothers and sisters. We have been involved in community for many years and our own business is majority Indigenous owned.
If you would like to know more about how we can work with you please feel free to email me @ Debbie.firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author: Debbie is National Manager of Mentors at Babana Employment www.babanaemployment.com.au
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