‘The Weather’ and Employment Inclusion

So, it’s your organizational mission to improve the lives of marginalized people by identifying their unique talents and strengths and then facilitating ‘talent matching’ and inclusive recruitment. You support jobseekers with disabilities by supporting the business community with diversity and inclusion. Wow, what a cool job! You must absolutely love it!

Sure – just not in this economy.

I feel what you’re saying. There are some serious dark clouds under which we labour these days. Unemployment has increased, competition for jobs is fierce, employer caution is high and confidence is low. These are not ideal conditions for the work we do. Most days, it’s like trying to sell ice cubes in Antarctica.

The thing is, necessity is (still) the mother of invention, and figuring out how to continue to meet the needs of community and the population we serve under these adverse conditions makes us stronger and better at what we do. Like most people, I would rather lay on a beach with a cold beer than run up a mountain on a hot day. But only one of those things makes me stronger and I’m actually going to enjoy that cold beer on the beach a lot more after meeting a challenge.

My point is – I really love beer on the beach. No, that’s not it. I mean, I do – but my point is that there are some elements of this work we can’t control – like the economy and its impacts on the labour market. We can’t just sit at our desks lamenting reality and hoping the storm will pass. We have to respond, adapt, collaborate, innovate and persevere. We also need to support all of those inclusive businesses that demonstrated the leadership and foresight to hire people with disabilities. Shop at their stores, promote their businesses on your website and in your newsletters. Recognize and celebrate them; they are the community we partner with and support.

The truth is – many businesses are still hiring. Some industries are growing and some people in Antarctica need ice because they just cozied up by the stove with a friend and a Jack and Coke. Relationships still matter. Make new ones and take care of the ones you already have.

Someday (hopefully soon) this storm will pass, and when it does, you can be hunkered down in a nonprofit bomb shelter in a hazy, weakened state or you can be out in the community where everyone can see you. Dancing, smiling, engaging  – and stronger.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. – Vivian Greene


Sean McEwen