Several years ago… in fact, MANY years ago (we’re talking pre-COVID world) we were invited to join a meeting with a person and their team to help in thinking through employment. “John” really wanted to work, but like within many teams (and even families) there were reservations and concerns.
John had a very close relationship with his sister. She was also at this meeting and cared about his so deeply she “just wants him to be safe and happy.” During the meeting, all sorts of things were talked about with John. Employment came up and his sister who had remained silent for most of the conversation, spoke up and expressed concern. She wasn’t sure that he could work, how would he be safe, how would he get to work, what if there were problems while he was working, and so on… John immediately slumped in his chair and the room became silent.
I quietly leaned over to John and asked him if he was ok and what was wrong. He whispered, “I just want a job.” I asked him if he would say that a bit louder so everyone could hear him if he was comfortable. He nodded slightly and said a bit more loudly, “I just want a job.” Folks around the table kept talking… some heard him and paid attention while others didn’t. I encouraged him to say it again, this time a bit more loudly. He sat up in his chair, seemingly growing 10 feet tall and filling the room and said determinedly, “I just want a job… I want to work.”
Everyone stopped talking. John had the room.
He spoke again, “I want to work.”
His sister again expressed her concern and said now directly, “John, I’m scared. I don’t want you to get a job.”
His team sprang to action and quickly explained the supports that would be in place for John for his success, ensured that he “wouldn’t be dropped off on a street corner to fend for himself” (as she had expressed earlier – and a valid concern if you don’t know what supports for a job may look like!). His team gently and kindly eased her worries.
Quickly, as the breeze, she got a small smile on her face and said she felt better… and agreed with John that he should work.
Certainly, John was his own person and could get a job without his sisters yes or no (this isn’t always the case and that’s a conversation for another day), but he loved his sister so much and wanted to always make her happy, he would have done whatever she suggested. His sister was on board and John was elated.
You all know the old saying, “Knowledge is power.”
More on John in a future post… – Jessica Stover