Howdy! So this here blog is the official one for July. If you’re residing in the US, hope you have a happy 4th July Independence weekend! This is a follow-up and (hopefully) a round-up to the bit on homelessness I wrote in early June tying into my theme of passion and purpose.
Again I like to preface each blog with my why since each time I read or hear or meet someone, I try to figure out that very thing. Why they are doing this and why I should listen, since our time is competing for so many other things in this modern age.
For most of my life; I worked predominately in human resources, marketing and communications. A huge part of all of these jobs were employee and human relations.
I had to learn skills I did not even know I had; like listening, discerning, negotiating, public speaking, planning, forecasting and much more.
I had to draw on skills I’d long forgotten I had learnt or was forced to shelf like psychology, banking, sales, marketing, customer service, voice-training, communication, literature and the arts (including drama), info tech, writing (!).
At the end of the day, it all worked in favour of each other and my first true love: writing.
Isn’t it ironic?! No matter what stage of life you’re at, I’ve come to realize that you’re always on a learning curve, no matter what aspect of learning or re-learning or enhancing you choose to follow (or ignore in some cases).
So here goes my piece on combating homelessness and the associated ills that unfortunately go with it (from my perspective), since it keeps re-appearing in the news.
The core of this very perplexing issue in my opinion is communication, fortitude (mental tenacity stemming from your foundation and sense of self and what you want in life) to create new spaces and pathways for your skills and persona to thrive.
At certain points in a person’s career or life cycle, they may tend to be night owls or morning people that work best during those hours. Their internal clocks are just wired that way. Sometimes their chosen profession, job or circumstances demand that shift (but not without consequences). For example, radio hosts, musicians, waitresses, drivers and creative people who are inclined to shift work that bring out their creativity.
Shift work or irregular hours can disrupt your sleep cycle, health and personal life. Sorta like a job that requires you to travel and change time zones often. Try remembering those late nights studying for finals and how groggy and moody you felt in the days that followed. Some prefer it because it gives you an adrenaline rush and can have it’s benefits and be negotiated depending on your circumstances and relationships.
In some cases, it’s easier and more lucrative to work at what is perceived to be several small paying jobs. Especially due to the nature of the industry or if you have acquired enough professional experience and “assets” to just work for the fun of it or to keep your brain and body active. These cases are rare in this modern world, but it does happen.
Homelessness I believe arises as a result of the inability to adapt or recover from the quick pace and ‘blows’ the harsh reality of modern life in all its complexities has dealt us. Basically our lack of preparedness due to the lack of support, inadequacy or information gaps from our family, chosen education path, spiritual teachings and social networks etc.
When we are forced to fit our current persona, raw skill set or teachings into a ‘space’ that is not ready for us or we are not ready for, it contributes to the discord and ineffectiveness. It’s like trying to cook your favourite meal in a kitchen you are not accustomed to, without the right (basic) ingredients and expecting it to taste the same way and feel natural and as effortless as possible.
The reality is that this may never be a right fit (for us for too long) for that very reason. Those spaces are just not aligned to who we are intrinsically and so we may never produce at our best, be at peace, find our equilibrium and be our happiest.
This can be applied to almost any aspect of life if we can project our mind that far into the future.
With those of us born without a silver spoon in our mouths or some kind of debilitating disease (or phobia) preventing the ability to earn income in the regular way, I’m sure at some point we would remember those songs:
‘Manic Monday’ by the Bangles and movies like Groundhog Day with actor Bill Murray that mirror those little memes aka graphics on social media with the puppy laying on the floor or Garfield the cat in floppy slippers with droopy eyes and a coffee mug with the caption to the effect of:
“Don’t tell me it’s Monday. I can’t bear it! Or by Wednesday, you see them popping up on your feed: “Is it Friday yet?!” You look over to the cubicle or office next to you and see an empty space because the person has called in late or sick for the third time for the month or the week depending on how much they’re allowed to get away with.
Why is this? Because that particular job did not fit their lifestyle or modus operandi at that point in their life. I haven’t done a statistical study, but I’m pretty sure nobody was a happy camper for the majority of time. Very few are able to stay at jobs for a prolonged period of time where they feel like this and still manage to be punctual, regular and produce at optimum levels with a happy face.
If employees feel that they have limited to no other option(s) for a healthy resolution or find a new job, eventually there will be inevitable discord, fraction and other ways of coping. Problems at work will extend to other areas of life.
Coping methods such as journaling, hobbies, exercise, meditation and yoga can only go so far if someone is an environment that does not fit their skills, personality or goals. This may not even be an option of coping for some due to financial or time constraints.
The result? Addiction, ill-health, crime, dysfunction and then one day you wake up and you realize your lights are turned off, your fridge is empty and ‘suddenly’ you’re homeless and a ‘statistic’.
With all the modern methods of recruitment like psychometric testing, performance management, employee assistance and mediation programmes, human beings somehow find a way to get around or beyond most things. Knowing yourself as an employee and what you want as an employer can avoid square pegs placed in round holes to have the needs of all stakeholders met (staff, employees, customers, owners, shareholders etc).
Here are a suggested few
Structuring your work and job specifications for the desired outcome by staggering hours, shift work, short term contracts, longer term contracts with consequences/penalties for withdrawal or breaches (e.g. refunds, suspension etc).
Incentives for good quality work or long hours specific to the industry (e.g. manufacturing, service, events). This does not necessarily have to be always monetary based on the employee you have come to know, or the type of work you offer.
Practical examples include time/days off for working long hours or weekends, flexible hours, learning opportunities (job enlargement, training courses, on-the-job training), field work, work-from-home, travel/meal/housing/tech allowances, strategic partner discounts (E.g. pharmaceuticals, health/vehicle insurance), memberships (gym/health/spa services etc).
A very simple and effective incentive for some people may be as simple as getting paid weekly, fortnightly or at other convenient intervals, as opposed to monthly or in an untimely fashion. Only open and honest communication can reveal these pivotal truths.
Finding the best work ‘spaces’ for your evolving skills and persona to thrive can be somewhat of a work in progress and learning curve. Your first few stints in the workforce can be a matter of having no other choice if you are to ever earn income to purchase your own “stuff” and have any semblance of a normal life. A few years (or decades) in, you may have a bit more of a say in terms of what types of jobs you choose with respect to the hours, wages/salary, position, industry, sector or location.
Even then, it may not be as easy to command those variables or even make the shift or turn down work depending on your economic situation or commitments. This may be due to the field you’re in, geographic location, background (credentials and experience specific to the job/organization) or your resulting personality type/disposition/articulation and communication skills throughout your various life stages.
When all is said and done, the old saying holds true: “No man is an island”. If we don’t work together with people that we have a natural affinity for and synergy with, we’ll be going nowhere fast. We’d be forever working at cross-purposes since we share different ideologies, philosophies and end goals. Basically, our energy and time will be consumed with attempting to explain our point of view to people who will never truly get us or what we are about. Here’s wishing you a fabulous start to the holiday break!