I’ve had job coaches in my life for 6 years. Some are good and some need more training.
When you’re ready to get a job you hope for someone to help you find your dream job or at least come close. For me I had to get a job when my husband became employed and made too much money for us to keep getting PWD. I had no idea what kind of job I wanted. I just knew I had to make money for my family because we had 10 year old daughter.
I liked my first job coach. She was very supportive. She gave me options and ideas to try that she thought would be good places to start. She found me a job at Staples one day a week. I cleaned the store and put things on the shelf. I liked it because of the friendly staff and customers. She would stop by at least once a week to see how I was doing. She made that kind of connection with me that makes someone a good job coach. I always felt like she was there when I needed her. She knew me well enough to know when I was ready for her to fade away and when to come back. She also knew me well enough that I trusted her to talk to employers if I wasn’t able to make a meeting or a job fair. Then she moved away. Ever since then it’s been hard to find a job coach that understands me and my dreams.
After Staples I worked at Costco for 2 and half years. Things with this job were not going very well and my new job coach couldn’t come out when I was having issues. I don’t know why. I also don’t know why my job coach couldn’t support me in a job I found by myself. She said she could only help me if she found the job. I have also been confused when all my job coach did was sit and wait in the car while I handed out resumes.
Sometimes it feels like I’m just a number. Job coaches need to try and understand who we are. Walking and talking and sitting for coffee is one way to start. Even when I fill out the yearly goal sheet it doesn’t feel like my job coach gets it. A good job coach doesn’t make you feel like you are being talked into doing something. They really get to know you and you have a connection that makes you feel relaxed and can open up and try new things and you know you’ll be supported in each step.
Right now I have a job that makes me feel unappreciated. I don’t want this kind of a job even if it pays me money. It’s not me. I’ve told my job coach 3 times that I’m uncomfortable, but nothing has happened.
I’ve learned to trust my instincts when it comes to job coaches. You can tell when someone is really into it and there for you, and you can tell when they aren’t. But it is hard to ask for change. If we want better job coaches we have to speak up for ourselves and ask for something different.
By Michelle Goos