We are excited to host a guest blog from Esther Gerstel, a former JVS Toronto client who is now training as an Employment and Career Counsellor. She will share her unique perspective as a stay-at-home mom re-entering the workforce after a long absence. Welcome, and thank you, Esther.
There are many reasons for long absences from the work force. These can include illness, parental responsibilities, inadequate job search skills, and even the lack of a need to work (believe it or not, that possibility does exist and is not necessarily enviable!)
As a stay-at-home-mom with a large family, I have been officially unemployed for the last thirty-two years. I would venture a guess that even if you’ve been unemployed for a while, it’s probably been for less than thirty-two years! But, yikes! All of a sudden I need a job. What do I do? Where do I look? How do I look? I have no skills!Or do I?
So what do I know how to do? Initially I said to myself, “not much” – I know how to do carpool – big deal. But guess what: when I join a carpool, I’m a team player; if someone needs a hand, I’m happy to help. I’m always on time and the kids are all wearing seat belts and behaving – so, you can say — I have leadership qualities. I know how to listen; how many times have my kids and their friends confided in me, knowing that I would give them my full attention, empathy, and — if they want — good advice; that means I have interpersonal skills.
I’ve organized five Bar Mitzvas and four weddings, which were attended by hundreds of people, taking care of every detail (believe me, I have thick binders to show for it!). Not to mention the countless trips, parties and community events that I’ve arranged. Unbelievable: I have organizational skills too!
So what’s my next step? I sit down and make a list of my strengths, skills and abilities. Would you like to join me on my journey? Write down everything you know how to do, even if you think it’s not important. See you here, when I write my next post, or as they say TTYL8R (that’s “Talk To You Later”, FYI – gotta speak the lingo! LOL)
Esther Gerstel is a full-time student in the George Brown Career and Work Counsellor Program, currently doing her placement at JVS Toronto. She describes herself as having “officially have been unemployed for the last 32 years having stayed at home to raise a family of 7 children and one husband (no dogs!)”, though “unofficially”, she says she has volunteered, helped her husband start, run, and market a family business, networked, counselled and “altogether worn many different hats”. Having completed the Career Exploration workshop at JVS Toronto, she chose to pursue training as a Career and Work Counsellor. We have asked her to contribute her perspective to our blog, as a former client and current student.