Part of my unofficial pitch to the individuals I work with at the CAES program is, “If you are looking for a job in general, that’s great and we can find you one. But I don’t want to just find you a job, I want to find you a job that you’re going to love!” I say this because well…it’s true. Whether an individual is seeking employment to pay the bills, be a part of an awesome team, to build skills, utilize a position as a stepping stone or even to just work where they get free staff meals, it should be a job that they truly enjoy!
And, the criteria for a loveable job is very different for every individual…
So, meet Erik. Erik sought out CAES supports after being out of the work force for several years. Upon delving into the Career Exploration process, we learned many things about Erik: he has an employment background in customer service and data entry, a degree in English from the University of Alberta, is skilled in editing and is an incredibly eloquent writer and articulate verbal communicator! Wow! Immediately, we envisioned him utilizing CAES supports to kick-start a prosperous writing career! Editor and content generating positions were suggested and various businesses regarding technical writing and journalism occupations were approached. However, what Erik was seeking was not these positions YET, but rather support in finding an entry-level job to get him back into and comfortable with the work force. A data entry volunteer placement for Erik was set up with Diabetes Canada, where he flourished and received wonderful feedback regarding his work ethic and organizational skills. Encouragement and support in regards to Erik putting together a writing portfolio was also provided, but the main focus shifted from the big things that I saw him accomplishing down the road, to what he wanted to attain in the now: an entry level position requiring minimal customer service.
And Erik attained just that: Pod Attendant position at Diabetes Canada. This position requires Erik to monitor and organize donations made to the Diabetes Canada donation bins in various locations across the city. It involves heavy lifting, communicating with and offering assistance to people who are making donations, ensuring donations are secured in the pod at the end and beginning of each shift, while continuously communicating with managers as an essential safety and operational requirement. Initially, the fitness of this position was questioned, due to its independent nature. However, Erik was interested, applied, was interviewed by Diabetes Canada and was offered the position in the summer of 2019.
Erik reports that, “ I think it’s no exaggeration to say this is the best job I have ever had. I really appreciate the solitude…It’s given me a lot of time to think and write and I’m having a good time!” “My incentive for working here is feeling good about helping people de-clutter and another dimension I like about this job is the structure; it really adds something to my overall fulfillment that was previously missing, being out of the work force.”
As mentioned, CAES has supported Erik in getting a healthy start on a technical writing portfolio by compiling samples of his writing and encouraging him to continue to submit additional pieces of work. And as Erik mentioned above, the Pod Attendant position allows him the opportunity to practice his writing skills and continue to build his portfolio for future employment endeavours in the realm of writing. Erik is currently working on writing a novel, so be sure to look out for its release in the future.
When asked about his experience being a part of the CAES program, Erik stated, “CAES has offered solutions to me as I struggled to find work in a difficult job market. On top of conventional and expected difficulties, I’ve contended with health problems that have aggravated my search for work. However, CAES has constantly made known their commitment to client comfort and accessibility. This approach to developing jobs and careers may not be standard with other resources offered towards job-seekers, and is greatly appreciated. CAES recognizes the potential inherent in those who have one or more barriers than the typical applicant in a competitive job market.”