I once heard a George Lucas quote that stuck with me – “Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.”
When I begin a job search, the first question I always ask a job seeker is, “what is your dream job?” Somewhere in that dream is the perfect job for each person, whether it’s the head coach of the Riders, a free-lance writer for a social media campaign, a chef, a firefighter or Celine Dion’s manager (each of those are real answers I’ve received!). While I will admit, I’m quite skilled at my job, I may not have the strings to pull to hook someone up with Celine Dion, but I do recognize that within that dream probably lies an interest in popular music, a passion for an instrument, an outgoing and organized personality. From those traits, a real and meaningful job can be sought. 4to40 prides itself on thinking outside the employment box – focusing on each individual’s uniqueness. No one should be forced to work in a job or an environment that doesn’t make them happy or fuel their passion. For people who experience disability, work generally is a dream that is accepted as whatever is given to them. I work hard every day to change that. When I take individual interests, skills, talents and personalities into account, and then customize and carve roles out within workplaces that are of interest to the job seeker, I open up a whole world of potential for employment.
Nothing makes me happier than hearing about someone’s success at work, whether that’s an increase in hours, learning a new set of tasks or being invited for beers on Friday after a shift. The feeling of success at work is so much more than just the job itself. Gaining independence, financial freedom, being a contributing and valuable member of a team, forging real and meaningful relationships. We all seek these outcomes from our workplaces. Why wouldn’t the success of 4to40 be measured in the same ways?
For the people I support, becoming employed leads to independence, self-confidence and a feeling of self-worth. But wait, my role doesn’t end there. 4to40’s partners, the employers we work with, not only see the great value the employees bring to their workplace efficiency, they also recognize how workplace culture changes. When committed to inclusion – that is, embracing the diversity of every human – employers see that their entire workforce can be more welcoming, patient and empathetic. Workplace culture becomes more supportive of everyone, ensuring that all talents and successes are celebrated and acknowledged. 4to40 encourages employers within our community to create an environment where all employees feel connected, valued and safe. Through the support of our project, job coaches and willing peers in the workplace – all these important needs can be met, and dream jobs can be achieved!
Employment Partnership Consultant, 4to40