Are You Ready for the World of Work?
By Sharon Goldberg
Consider some things first
There is a lot of talk lately about consumers getting off the disability track and going to work. Well, it is a lot easier said than done. This is especially so if you happen to have an emotional disability like I do. I feel as if I have spent my entire life preparing for work and living my life through work.
After I graduated from college, I found myself ill-prepared for the business world. I needed skills. The type of skills needed to succeed in the business world are as follows: clerical skills be it math, computer, typing, word processing, bookkeeping, accounting, etc. All skills not acquired in a liberal arts college.
More important than the above skills is the ability to deal with people in a personable, social manner. If you are not a people-person, you will have many problems.
You must be flexible and able to adjust your attitude to the politics of the office community. You must be pleasant, non-combative, and able to take criticism without taking it to heart.
You have to be able to combine all these skills into a reliable, likeable, capable and workable employee in order to succeed in the world of work.
What are prospective employers looking for? From my own experience, I recall many an employer's want-ad. “Must be a people-person. Must be diligent and detail-oriented. Must have computer skills. Must be well organized. Must be able to take direction. Must be a self-starter. Must be able to multitask. Must be willing to work overtime.”
Some ideas I would suggest in order to decide whether you are ready to work is to decide what you are good at. Are you good with numbers? Do you like to write? Do you like people? Are you artistic? Are you good with computers?
Do you need some type of skills-training? Perhaps you need to sit down with a job counselor. Maybe you need to take an aptitude test. Perhaps you want to start with a volunteer job. Maybe you want to start working part-time.
All of these suggestions would have helped me a great deal but I did none of them. To make it easier, please do as I suggest.
Are you ready for the world of work? Think long and hard about it before you jump in.
Editor's Note: Please don't be frightened of the possibility of work after reading this article. There are ways of getting your feet wet before you decide whether or not to take the plunge. For instance, you can join a clubhouse and participate in their temporary employment program and get paid for doing work that is at or below your potential. Or, you can go to a consumer-friendly employment program and talk to a working peer who can counsel you about employment based on your needs. Two such programs are Network Plus (718) 797-2509 or Network Plus West (718) 377-8568. Tell them City Voices sent you and receive a wink and a nod.