I’m from Brooklyn. That could account for things.
I know that if a young female patient sat across from my desk in the summer wearing gold silk pajama pants and a brown tee shirt and carried a Swiss Army canteen pouch as a pocketbook:
I’d want to know “Cool pants. Where did you get them?”
Yes I’d think: “Okay, maybe an office job isn’t for her.” Yet I’d surely think that some other career could be possible, so let’s work together to find out what it might be.
In the last blog entry I limned the perils of how mental health staff stigmatize the very people they’re tasked with helping by focusing on our perceived deficits and weaknesses.
In contrast I use the Asset Model to help people find the jobs they might love and be good at. I’ve been doing this for over 7 years now.
The Asset Model draws on each person’s gifts, strengths, individual traits, and life experiences in creatively coming up with possible careers.
Let’s face it: there are some things you won’t ever be good at. There are things I won’t ever be good at. Instead of trying to correct flaws a better and more productive use of our time would be to maximize our strengths.
Three benefits of using the Asset Model to treat people–whether in therapy or career coaching–are:
You give the person a clean slate to start from. A person with a history of drug addiction can become a shining candidate for a job.
(That’s how I won the Golden Paperclip Award–I created a stunning resume for a hypothetical client who had been addicted to crack and did jail time and volunteered for the parks department.)
You don’t waste time–yours and the client’s–trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
Unlike a lot of staff who are outsiders I would have no preconceived notion that a person should do or want to do something that I automatically think is the only best thing for them.
You can act like a detective to uncover a client’s potential and help them to truly succeed.
Our intuition is impressive–each of us can use it to figure out the best course of action to take in our recovery, in our life, and in our possible careers.
Listening to what a client WANTS to do is imperative. Guiding them and helping them to figure out how to get there IS worth taking the time to do.
In the next blog entry I’ll talk about my early experience working at my first jobs. After that I’ll talk about the 3 Major Mistakes in Choosing a Career.