Employment - Part 1


This section discusses how to focus on a person?s strengths and abilities to prepare them for employment. It also gives suggestions on how to find and maintain employment.


When people refer to an individual?s disabilities, they are often putting labels or limits on them. It is far better to focus on the person and the skills and abilities they have than to focus on a label; especially on the subject of employment! Each of us have our weakness, but we do not go far by focusing on them. We are the most successful when we identify, encourage and develop our strengths! So let?s go through the journey of the topic of employment with an agreement to try on a different perspective ? one that views everyone as similar and with something positive to contribute.

Employment is one of the main activities of life that makes a person feel like a valuable and accepted part of their community. If an individual gets support and encouragement from their family about their future career from the time they are young, they have more opportunities to think about and pursue a meaningful occupation. The work people do often becomes the foundation of who they are. Investing time and resources in developing a career is even more important than providing material possessions that could be taken away by others, lost, or destroyed. A livelihood provides lifelong security by providing and nourishing experience, knowledge, ability and respectability within the person.

Please remember, it is the family that has the greatest potential to impact a career. This impact begins long before people go to work, continues as they commence work and even goes on into retirement. Now, let?s explore together how to lay the foundation for work so people will experience a full and rewarding life as an adult.

Steps That Assure a Successful Career

  • Believe that all people have their own special talents and skills
  • Concentrate on one task at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed
  • Remember that it is okay to ask others to help, you may be surprised by how many people are willing and by what they can do to help
  • Remember that a meal can be used to help connect to others and to strengthen relationships, you may want to invite others to lunch or to dinner to make interactions more informal and personal, especially when asking others to help
  • Be sincere and sensitive to what makes others feel comfortable
  • Match personal preferences to jobs that value those preferences
  • Be proactive, you can lead the action and be the one to get something to happen
  • Remember time spent supporting someone to get a job is time spent wisely and valuably
  • Be positive about yourself and others, you never know who will be the connection that gets you or your family member a job (many people get a job through connections and personal relationships rather than through resumes or application forms)
  • Take responsibility for the part you offer to do and deliver on what you promise

Tips for the Individual and/or Family

  • Let go of your worry and fear of failure
  • Remember that people learn from failure, it is a natural part of life and necessary to gain experience
  • Make finding a job a fun and enjoyable process
  • Tell others/Listen to the individual tell about the work they desire in a quiet and private place where you will not be interrupted.
  • Build up self-esteem by giving praise and encouragement daily
  • Remember that people can change old behaviors and learn new things everyday
  • Assess personal preferences, characteristics, attitudes, styles of interaction, skills, abilities, interests, likes, dislikes, and non-negotiables and match these personality traits to occupations that will value them
  • Take the job search seriously but do not take yourself too seriously
  • Role play telephone etiquette, greetings, introductions, job interviews, common work interactions, how to contribute ideas and how to work as a member of a team
  • Once a job is found continue your support by being sensitive and responsive to early warning signals of problems

From Small Beginnings Come Great Careers

  • A hobby can lead to an enjoyable lifelong career because it builds upon a natural love that is already highly motivating
  • Religious institutions may have positions available that can build upon personal interests and provide a sense of belonging and a common mission
  • Dreams for a business of one?s own can lead to self-employment opportunities
  • Volunteer positions open the door to real job opportunities, provide opportunities to test out possible careers, help to determine job likes and dislikes, help practice work skills, develop work values and responsibilities and provide new friends and social groups (Investigate volunteer positions at food banks, homeless shelters, park and recreation centers, youth programs, nonprofit organizations, local schools, hospitals, retirement homes, animal shelters, aging programs, children?s theaters, and at one time fundraising events put on by agencies and organizations in your area.)
  • Personal networks of family, relatives, friends, neighbors, business, religious leaders, and associations can be great resources to identify job opportunities, to provide transportation and creative resolutions to overcome challenges and barriers that will come up over the course of a career
  • Board memberships and leadership positions on community associations can turn passions into paid consultant work as trainers or content experts

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