It sounds weird right?
With a name like “Jobs for Life,” it’s obvious what we’re hoping to accomplish as we take our students through the powerful eight-week curriculum journey. We assume that after the classwork is complete our students will begin looking for employment, ready to put what they’ve learned into practice.
Halfway through our first set of classes, one of our students, Jerry (not his real name), had gone out and found a job! He had once done work in a field similar to his new venture, so he hoped his experience would transfer. We were surprised and excited, and we celebrated big time that night because of Jerry’s determination and success.
The next couple of classes he would rush in, often with homework undone because he had been working. I wondered if he would complete the course, given his new schedule. Then one evening as I arrived, I heard from others that Jerry had lost his job. That his experience had not helped him and he was let go. I was afraid he might not show up because of embarrassment or discouragement, but he slumped his way into his chair that night and sat there dejectedly.
And then it hit me – you can’t lose a job if you don’t have a job! So we celebrated again! This time we cheered Jerry’s loss of his job, because he was the first student in the class to have gotten and lost a job! He had to know from us that it was ok to fail, because until you’re willing to fail, you may never try.
A few weeks later, as we were preparing for our graduation ceremony and dinner, Jerry came bouncing into the room, a smile from one ear to the other. He had gone out again and found employment, and was coming from his first day on the job! He grinned and told me, “I was jobless and homeless for 3½ years. Now I’m working and I have Jobs for Life to thank for it!”
Jerry learned from our class that failure was actually a component of success, and that failing was not the issue, only failing to get back up. He got up, kept moving forward and is still working today…and looking for a second job!
And we learned to celebrate the ups and downs of life, because you don’t know what either possibility might do for you.
Even before you’re supposed to be ready for it.
– Mike Carman
Director, OC United Jobs for Life
If you’re interested in becoming a Jobs for Life Champion
(a mentor who has committed to walking alongside one of our students for 12 months),
Please click the Get Involved button at the top right of the screen.