The Key of WORK
By: Jessica Manuel
Apart from winning new obligations, work is an opportunity to gain resources and knowledge. Let’s turn time back to our youth – is that what we are taught? Many seem to rush through school assuming they can make it in a competitive world. In today’s market however it takes more than good marks or a strong work-ethic; it takes risk, personality, determination and a network of mentors.
We need education. Education provides the only piece of paper that won’t be taken away from you. To transfer education into employment some people can end up discouraged wondering why they can’t find a job, or worse, they participate in self-condemning talk by blaming their skills, abilities, intelligence and education. While some may be burdened by circumstances, excuses and giving up will not solve anything. Work on yourself, serve others and don’t stand still.
I was living on my own in grade 10, moved 8 times in 4 years, and went to 6 high schools before I turned 18. You get the point. I NEEDED A JOB. School marks did not define my worth and a job wasn’t going to provide freedom or a feeling of acceptance; it was a ‘succeed or fail’ scenario for me. Failure meant staying on the streets, eating food that most people would throw out and continuing a road marked with self- destruction.
Or I could work for something better.
Enrolling in my sixth high school, I remember meeting with the Principal (who knew me from the 9th grade as delinquent, at-risk teenager) and I shared my story. He said it read like a novel and encouraged me enrol in an adult school because I was almost 19. I simply responded “no. I do not want to be surrounded by adults, struggling with the same things. I am not here because I want to be Mr….., I am here because I need to be”.
That’s the attitude I’ve transferred into everything I do: a ‘no other option’ attitude.
I wasn’t an “A” student but with focus and determination, I knew that I needed to graduate. I kept my head down and mentored youth that were two years younger than me, then completed college with the same focus, doing the best I could.
EVERYTHING you do is not about getting benefits, it’s about pushing your boundaries and working towards what once seemed impossible to do. Benefits eventually disappoint, but self-fulfillment builds you from the inside out. For most people, high school and college does not constitute being a huge, unforgettable life experience but for me it was, because the odds were that I wouldn’t graduate.
This allowed me to acknowledge that I had more potential and THAT is priceless and worth all the work it took to get there.
I am now a sales manager and entrepreneur. On my personal time, I am a motivational speaker, youth drop-in counsellor, board member and an up and coming author. There is always new goals, dreams and in all things, opportunities.
If you have moments of frustration because you’re not exactly where you want to be, don’t give up. The battle is where the beauty of breakthrough resides. Like a farmer who works day and night to prepare for the rain in order to yield crops in a season, he knows that the work is necessary. The wet, uncomfortable rain is too. In order to admire the colourful or fruitful reward, it doesn’t always come easy.
Most of us go through life waiting to inherit the crop which is already done. When that happens we don’t know, nor do we appreciate the work it takes to make the crop fruitful; so when the rain comes, we can look at our backyard with discouragement and doubt, praying that the season will end….
Or we can start dancing in the rain and getting our hands dirty. When you do the work YOU get the blessing, then you can give the same blessing to others by teaching them how to do it.
My greatest reward is knowing that I, not my family, my skills, personality or grades will keep my life together, it is a result of combining everything and channeling it. I’m not ashamed of my circumstances or asking for help when I need it. I just focus on doing my best and take responsibility for the crop that I yield at the end of my seasons.
Find your opportunities, invest in your development and don’t forget to rest. I know it’s possible for you to accomplish your dreams – just take action and W.O.R.K as if you’re winning opportunities, resources and knowledge in everything you do.
All the best!