The holiday season is a special time for us to pause and reflect, look back and prepare for the New Year. In the world of supported employment, we remember the successes of the people we accompanied and watched excel in their unique way. We think again about their successful job integration, their strength in facing challenges. We also think about new colleagues and superiors who are dedicated, open and excited to have people join their teams. But hmm…shouldn’t looking back include all the behind the scenes work and the people who do it? Yes, yes, all of you who work with people in a handicap situation on a career path! Without you, none of this would be possible!
The work is invaluable and reflects your willingness to make a difference in a person’s life, moreover, let me say to all you out there, the lives of thousands of people every year! It also often reflects a willingness to work hand-in-hand with other colleagues to meet an individual’s unique needs. You are available to support everyone, to encourage them, give them confidence to believe in themselves, feel heard and understood, understand who they are better. You present opportunities and show them possibilities. Make them shine. Open doors they believe closed. Not feel judged. Mentor them. Have pride in everything they achieve. Believe that there is a place for everyone. Lastly, that they fill a position because they are competent and have the talent, and not because an employer is acting out of charity.
Supporting people who are far from the labour market also means recognizing the daily work that is demanded of you. You are open to others and want to develop more and more. You are eager to learn constantly about others, their needs, employment in general, following trends to discover new approaches, obstacles that will arise on the way, the work of your colleagues to collaborate better. You are curious, patient, creative, solution-oriented, determined, aware and human. You know the measure of success is finding a solution for each person. We must listen to each person and whatever surrounds and will surround them on their path.
When we take the time to examine the work completed, every one of your accomplishments stands out and has made a real difference in the lives of those you support.
Furthermore, it’s with great satisfaction that you carry out this incredible mission every day. In the current labour shortage context, not only is your exceptional work more than ever valued and necessary, it also translates into numerous possibilities. For everyone involved in supported employment, it’s a unique opportunity to be creative, imaginative and knowledgeable of the opportunities available to the people in a handicap situation who we support. Looking back is also about looking forward and outdoing yourself. At the end of 2019, what personal goals do you have in mind that can benefit the people we serve?
Have a wonderful holiday season and thanks for making a difference!