My fifth “free talk on positive psychology” was delivered in the Niagara area, and the hotel where I stayed overlooked the Falls. Well, it would have had I been on the Falls side of the hotel. However, the view from the window near the elevator was lovely and I enjoyed a wonderful sunrise over the Niagara river. Truly, Canadians get the best view of the Falls.
The Niagara region, like many other regions, has lost some key employers, and many people have become unemployed and/or require a new skills set to compete in the jobs landscape.
What we never consider, however, is the toll that this can take on career coaches. There are several programs that the government has established to try and help people find meaningful work and transition into a second career. All of these programs require people to administer and implement them, and those people are also finding it harder and harder to properly service the clientele.
There are many factors at play. More unemployed people and fewer jobs. More families with both parents out of work. More focus on the numbers and less on the client. More stress and burden to shoulder. More awareness of the negative impact on the community – especially in small towns where you, as the job coach, see your clients in the grocery store and school yard. As one woman said, you just want to take them all home and make everything better – but you can’t.
I don’t at all mean to imply that the burden of being a job coach is equal to that of being unemployed. It certainly isn’t. But it’s an unintended side-effect that high unemployment rates create extra stress for job counsellors and job centres. And those counsellors and coaches don’t always have access to the same mental health support that their clients might get.
The job centre where I presented has excellent people working there. They get along well. They respect and admire their leadership. They are honest with each other. They support each other. And work has gotten harder – for many of the reasons I mentioned above.
My “free talk” to them comprised of two sections – the first was an overview of positive psychology and PERMA. The second was a workshop where people talked with a partner to help each other discover their own PERMA. By all accounts, the morning was a success and was followed up by a positive strategic planning session in the afternoon (expertly facilitated by someone else).
Two things really stand out for me:
1. Positive psychology can awaken meaningful parts of people that were dormant. This was the feedback from one participant, who has been particularly stressed and has a truly big heart – you can just feel it the first time you meet this individual.
2. Positive psychology, even when presented in a professional context, resonates with people at a deeply meaningfully personal level. At least two people approached me later in the day about personal situations that they are facing, and how positive psychology has opened a hopeful door for them.
I find that the more talks I give, the more honoured I am to share positive psychology with the world.
Would you like me to come talk to your group or organization or workplace? I am booking for 2013. Please visit my original blog to learn more about my 51 free talks on positive psychology, and contact me through this blog, Facebook, LinkedIn or email.
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