One of my blog/real life peeps does a Thankful Thursday post on her blog and I think it’s a pretty good idea. I’m not sure I will be able to keep up with that particular topic every Thursday, but today I do have some thoughts I wanted to share with you that relate to the topic.
This morning I did a presentation for a Christian women’s group here in town on interviewing. I’ve been a guest speaker several times over the last few years as a result of a conference presentation I did in the community like 3 years back. Every time I go, I meet women who are trying to get their lives back on track. They participate in these 2-3 month long sessions where they come and learn new skills (like computer and budgeting skills) and then I typically come in at the end of the sessions to discuss how to translate all that into an awesome interview.
Several years ago when I was asked to be a guest speaker at a job skills conference for the community, I agreed because the date seemed like a long ways away and why not? I remember as the date got closer, I started getting more and more uncomfortable about doing it. I’m just not used to talking about job skills with folks outside my every day world which is ….at a university. Just saying it makes me feel like I’m a bad person – but it’s true. When I went to the conference, I still was nervous, not because I don’t know my stuff but because I wasn’t sure how to tailor it for a non degree seeking candidate. My examples usually come from on campus involvement, leadership, class work and mock projects, etc. I was really at a loss. But apparently I did an okay job because at the end a lady came up to me and asked for my card and wondered if I’d ever be a guest speaker for her women’s group. Of course, I said yes.
I didn’t hear from her until almost 2 years later. Again, that sinking feeling of talking about job skills and interviewing to an audience that I felt like I didn’t have much in common with – it made me nervous and I’m not usually nervous when speaking in front of people, I do it all the time. But, I went – and I took my intern with me who just recently graduated with her masters in counseling and I thought she would be excellent back up for me. The session went great. The ladies had so many questions and I discovered the questions weren’t really that different after all. I had something to offer them.
Anyway – this morning was my fourth visit to this group – different women and different situations every time, but ultimately these women are there because they are trying to make a positive change in their lives. I’ve gone from feeling nervous about doing this type of work to really being hopeful that I can help make an impact in some way. Maybe just one thing I say, or one “trick” I tell them to use to help them answer a question more specifically during an interview will stick with them.
One of the women shared with me today that just a few years ago she had been homeless and on drugs. The other lady shared with me that she was nervous about background checks because she had a record but desperately wanted to help make a difference in other teens lives so they wouldn’t make the same mistakes as her.
As I sat there listening to their stories, their questions and their fears I felt ashamed I had ever thought about not going to help at this event because I couldn’t “relate.” I remembered that at core of every one of us – we are human beings with souls and that will always be enough to help you relate to someone else even if nothing else matches. I realized what they really needed was help in learning how to talk about their struggles and demonstrate the strength and determination they had to change their lives.
Today – I’m thankful for opportunities to be humbled. We get caught up so much in our own drama, our own priorities whatever they may be and we forget that people all around us are fighting so hard to just have the things that I take for granted.
I know this group invited me to help them out, but they ended up helping me. It’s just a tiny interaction, but I was just so touched today by talking to them and trying to help them see they had something valuable to share with someone else. It was a good reminder to be grateful everyday for our families, our homes, our jobs and all the millions of other “non essential” things in our life that we think we can’t live without.
What are you thankful for today?