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Imagine a world where every day you hear a client say, “I got hired!”  It is an employment specialist’s dream – fulfilled, happy clients successfully maneuvering the world of employment.  Most days that feels out of reach, but is it really?  At least half of solving any problem is identifying it.  In our “Getting to HIRED” series, we will break it down, get back to the basics, and build a better plan.

Employment in Covid America looks very different because it is different. If your clients are applying but not getting interviews or getting hired but not retaining jobs, then it is likely time it time to reconsider the process you are using – maybe not a complete change in the process so much as a good tune-up.  From online job listings and applications to sign-on bonuses and workplace guidelines we are, in many ways, trekking through unchartered territory.  While change is uncomfortable, this is the perfect time for us to be part of shaping tomorrow’s workplaces by increasing disability accessibility and successfully impacting disability diversity. Over the next months we will re-examine employment topics to help you and your clients grow your successes!

Goal Setting is the Foundation of Successful Employment

In the past we have asked our clients to define their employment goals, but I’m asking you to reconsider the process.  Linking a client’s goals solely to a specific job can backfire if there are work set-backs.  These employment issues become goal failures, resurface as personal shortcomings, and undermine the entire work process.

So what if we, instead, assist our clients in framing their goals around what they want to achieve in life?  Suddenly, work becomes one avenue to reach their life goals and to reach self-sufficiency, however they define it.  

  • What are your life goals?

Live a good life, support my child, help others, meet new people, get exercise, buy a house, adopt a dog – whatever those goals are, those are the things for which people are willing to work and willing to overcome adversity in the workplace.

  • How far are you willing to travel for work, and how will you get there?

Within 5 miles of home, within the county, within the state, remotely; I’ll drive myself, take the bus, catch a train – even the perfect job is pointless if someone can’t get to work.

  • What kind of work environment do you like?

Not too loud, fast-paced, friendly, isolated, retail, warehouse – this may be directly related to a disability, or it could be a personal preference; it doesn’t matter, either way, people are more likely to work where they are comfortable.

  • What kind of work tasks do you like to do?

Answer phones, sweep floors, walk dogs – specific tasks will give you latitude in making job recommendations.  All jobs have tasks that we don’t want to do, but if we can package a less desirable task with two or three choice tasks, it is a lot more palatable.

  • What kind of work tasks do you refuse to do?

Dig ditches, bury bodies, work outdoors, clean litter pans – if someone refuses to do these tasks then don’t even bother presenting jobs that include them because, while they may take the job, but they won’t stay.  Keep in mind, undesirable tasks and tasks you refuse to do are not the same thing.

  • And now, fully armed with information, what kind of job do you want?

Many people will say that doing the tasks they’ve chosen is most important, and some will want to be in a specific field.  Regardless, be honest and realistic with your client when you talk about work.  Are there job options in the area they’ve chosen to work, doing the tasks they’ve chosen to do that will financially support the life goals they’ve set? Or is further exploration and discussion needed?

Our clients know what they like to do, what they want from work, and the lifestyle they want to live.  Listen to them, work with them, and show them how employment will allow them to fulfill their life goals.  In return, you get happy, self-sufficient clients with increased job satisfaction and stable employment.  It’s a win-win!


Here’s a way to put it together…

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely – as always, SMART goals are the key to success! 

Assist your client to put these ideas on paper:

I want to work: ____________________________________________________________________.

(location: less than 25 miles from home, remotely, within the county or state)

It is important to me that my work includes: ____________________________________________

(tasks: office, warehouse, help others, walk dogs)

because __________________________________________________________________________.

             (reason: support my lifestyle, be a good example for others)

After considering my personal goals, the work environment, and the tasks I want to do, I’m interested in

exploring these fields:______________________________________________________________________________________________________.