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Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide By John J. Liptak, Ed.D. ® America’s Career Publisher Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide © 2009 by John J. Liptak Published by JIST Works, an imprint of JIST Publishing 7321 Shadeland Station, Suite 200 Indianapolis, IN 46256-3923 Phone: 800-648-JIST Fax: 877-454-7839 E-mail: Web site: Note to Instructors This instructor’s guide correlates with the workbook Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success (ISBN 978-1-59357-615-8). It contains chapter overviews with activities, discussion questions, and homework assignments. An accompanying PowerPoint presentation is available for each chapter of the workbook as well from Quantity discounts are available for JIST books. Have future editions of JIST books automatically delivered to you on publication through our convenient standing order program. Please call our Sales Department at 800-648-5478 for a free catalog and more information. Visit for information on JIST, free job search information, tables of contents, sample pages, and ordering information on our many products. Development and Production Editor: Dave Anderson Proofreader: Jeanne Clark All rights reserved. No part of this guide may be sold or distributed in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the publisher. Making copies of any part of this guide for any purpose other than use within the classroom is a violation of United States copyright laws. For permission requests, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at or (978) 750-8400. We have been careful to provide accurate information in this guide, but it is possible that errors and omissions have been introduced. Please consider this in using the contents of the guide. Trust your own judgment above all else and in all things. Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide Contents About This Guide 4 Part 4 Objectives 29 Part 1 Summary 29 Objectives 6 Understanding the 30 Summary 6 Job Market Personal Barriers 6 Resumes, Cover Letters, 31 Financial Barriers 10 and Job Applications Discussion Questions 12 Conducting a Successful 33 Job Interview Homework 12 Discussion Questions 35 Part 2 Homework 35 Objectives 14 Summary 14 Part 5 Emotional Barriers 14 Objectives 36 Physical Barriers 19 Summary 36 Discussion Questions 20 The Value of Additional 36 Education Homework 21 Choosing the Best 37 Educational Program Part 3 Overcoming Barriers to 37 Objectives 22 Education and Training Summary 22 The Importance of Lifelong 40 Learning I Don’t Know What I 22 Want Make an Educational Plan 41 I Don’t Know What’s 24 Discussion Questions 41 Out There Homework 41 I Don’t Know How to 26 Get There Discussion Questions 28 Homework 28 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide About This Guide Achieving employment success can be challenging for anyone, regardless of what they are up against. There are many different types of barriers that may be keeping your students from reaching their goals. Your job is to help them identify their most potent barriers and then help them devise and implement a plan for overcoming those barriers. The most prominent barriers to employment success can be placed into the following five categories, which also correspond to the five sections of the workbook: • Personal and Financial Barriers: Needing the basic resources that enable individuals to survive while looking for employment and to stay employed once they are hired, as well as being effective in financial planning and money management. • Emotional and Physical Barriers: Potentially debilitating emotions related to and perpetuating unemployment or physical health problems, addictions, and disabilities that may prevent an individual from looking for work. • Career Decision-Making and Planning Barriers: Needing effective skills and knowledge for making good career decisions, identifying occupations of interest, and then developing a career plan for achieving success in the world of work. • Job Seeking Knowledge Barriers: Lacking knowledge about how to effectively look for employment in today’s marketplace, how to demonstrate one’s knowledge and skills with resumes and other documents, and how to effectively interview for jobs. • Education and Training Barriers: Needing to understand the importance of lifelong learning and getting additional training and education to keep pace with the changes in the workplace. Whether the barriers to your students’ success arise from changes in the workplace or changes at home, from the outside world or from within themselves, from short-term difficulties or long-term conditions, you must help your students to take charge of their lives and their careers and make a plan for their own success. The most critical intervention that you can use to help your students to be more successful is to help them identify their specific barriers and set goals to overcome them. This instructor’s guide is designed to help you conduct a class or group workshop on how to overcome barriers to employment success. Each section contains valuable information related to each barrier, teaching tips to help make instruction easier, journaling exercises that will ensure that students understand the material presented, group classroom activities, and optional homework assignments. Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success is designed to be used as either a supplement to the Barriers to Employment Success Inventory (BESI) or as a stand-alone workbook. If you are planning to administer the Barriers to Employment Success Inventory, you should do so prior to having students start the workbook. Once you have administered the BESI, students can proceed through the workbook activities based on their most pressing barriers. If you are planning to use the workbook by itself (without administering the BESI assessment), you should have the students proceed through the barriers sections as a group, starting with the first chapter. Have students read each © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 4 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide section thoroughly and complete any assignments. You can then spend class time reviewing the material and the work they’ve completed and reinforcing it with class activities suggested in this guide or ones of your own design. Bear in mind that the hints and activities contained in this guide may not apply to all students or to all class or workshop situations. I encourage you to adapt anything you find to fit the needs of your students and the specific barriers they are facing. With your help, I’m certain they will overcome the obstacles preventing them from a successful life and career. © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 5 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide Part 1: Personal and Financial Barriers Objectives • Help readers identify their most pressing personal and financial barriers. • Help readers meet their basic needs for transportation, childcare, housing, and food. • Help readers understand and research the outside resources available to them. • Help readers learn more-effective ways to manage their money and overcome financial barriers. • Help readers understand the value of financial planning. Summary Personal and financial barriers are among the most difficult to overcome because they often prevent individuals from making choices or taking positive action. For example, it may be difficult for an individual to return to school if he or she cannot find childcare; or it may be difficult to search for jobs if that person has no reliable transportation. Therefore, it is often most important for people to overcome these personal and financial barriers before they can move on to identifying and eliminating other barriers. Research has confirmed that people have to overcome their most basic barriers in order to be successful in life and in their career. Abraham Maslow was one of the first researchers to identify a hierarchy of needs that also can act as a hierarchy of barriers. At the lowest, most deficient level are many survival needs that correspond to the personal and financial barriers that this section of the workbook addresses. In order to reach higher levels of success, happiness, and self-actualization, those basic survival needs must first be met. Thus, it is critical that you provide your students with as much information and guidance as possible in order to help them overcome their personal and financial barriers. Personal Barriers This section explores readers’ most basic barriers. Some of these barriers include the need for food, clothing, childcare services, transportation, medical and dental care, and assisting family members with special needs or health concerns. Of course many of these barriers or concerns can be quite extensive and may require a great deal of time and resources to overcome. The key for your students is to address each individual’s most pressing barriers as it relates to their job search and job success. For most unemployed people, finding work is their top priority. Once they find work, it often (though not always) becomes easier to overcome other recurring life barriers. This section of the book is very direct and solution-focused to help people overcome their most basic barriers. Because all people will bring different types of barriers to their search for employment, some of the topics in this section may be more applicable than © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 6 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide others. In this section, you should help students to identify their unique situation and develop a plan that is effective for them in their specific situation. After completing the assessments and exercises in this section, students should have a plan for overcoming their personal barriers and should be prepared to implement their plan. Teacher Tip: Remember that personal barriers may be difficult or even embarrassing to talk about in a class or group setting. Therefore, you should be cognizant of some people’s unwillingness to talk about some of these topics. Encourage people to participate openly, but don’t make people participate if they choose not to. Class Activity: Cause and Effect Consider doing this activity as a journaling exercise. Ask students to choose which of the following best describes their situation: I can’t seem to get a job. I can’t seem to keep a job. Now have them write down all of the possible reasons or causes for the problem they chose. Encourage them to list both external forces (no jobs available, poor economy, corporate downsizing, kids to take care of at home) and internal forces (no motivation, no confidence, don’t have any skills). Once they have their lists, tell students that these reasons actually constitute barriers that need to be overcome. Then have students rank these barriers from most critical (those barriers that need to be overcome now) to least critical (those barriers that aren’t much of a hindrance). When you are finished, consider having students discuss which of their barriers are the most critical and why. Have students share any strategies they’ve learned for overcoming these most critical barriers. Food and Clothing It can be easy to overlook whether your students have food to survive or the right clothing to conduct an effective job search. However, you should keep in mind that your students may be unemployed for an extended period of time or may be receiving public assistance. More importantly, they may not be aware of the impact that good eating habits and professional attire can have on a job search and on job success. For that reason, you should spend time talking about the importance of good nutrition and professional clothing in class. Teacher Tip: As far as clothing is concerned, it is important to discuss the need for appropriate, professional attire for job interviews. For that reason, you may want to discuss what constitutes good dress and grooming for interviews now rather than waiting until Part 4 of the workbook. © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 7 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide Class Activity: Whatever Shall I Wear? Have your students identify three or four potential jobs that they would be interested in doing. Examples might include welder, computer operator, or nurse. Ask the students to describe what people working in each of these occupations might wear on a daily basis. Then ask them to describe how they might dress in going on an interview for each of these jobs. Have them compare and contrast their answers, and discuss the need to dress appropriately for the industry in which they are interviewing. Housing Odds are quite good that your students are living somewhere. The immediate question is whether or not their living situation is safe, clean, and adequate. Still another important concern has to do with the job search and employment itself. Are students located conveniently near places of possible employment? Do they need access to public transportation, and if so, are their stations nearby? Do they have phone service or Internet service? Are they close to a public library? While such questions are not the most important, they do factor into housing considerations. For example, an individual may choose to pay an extra 50.00 a month in rent for an apartment that is located next to a bus station if it means not having to own a car. Class Activity: Housing Options Have students research possible housing options for which they may be eligible. These options could include buying a house, living with friends, Habitat for Humanity, Low- Income Housing Tax Credit programs, Section-8 housing, the Salvation Army, and shelters in the community. After they have developed an extensive list, ask students to rank (from most realistic to unrealistic option) the options that are best for each of them. Transportation Jobs are only useful if you have a way to get to them. For your students, a lack of transportation may be keeping them from enrolling in school or being able to get to job interviews. Your students should take time to explore the transportation resources available in your community. These will vary, of course. Someone living in New York City will have more options than someone in a rural town in the Midwest. Spend some time in class comparing transportation options in terms of cost, ease, and viability so that students can come up with a transportation plan that suits them best. Teacher Tip: The workbook primarily lists national organizations or those that can be found in the majority of states. Of course, each state, city, and community has its own resources. Be sure to provide your students with the names, numbers, and addresses of any organizations that could help them in your specific community. © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 8 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide Family Concerns Taking care of their family is probably foremost in the minds of your students. You need to help them to understand that there are many resources available that they can take advantage of so that they can effectively look for a job and work at a job. Of course, you also should emphasize that one of the best ways to provide for one’s family is to find stable employment as soon as possible. That may mean making short-term sacrifices in order to speed the job-search process along. Class Activity: Family Barrier Brainstorm Have students brainstorm family issues that can affect a person’s search for employment. Write these ideas on the board. Have students break into smaller groups and assign each group a family barrier. Then assign them the task of identifying as many solutions to that barrier as possible. Come back together as a whole class to discuss. Criminal Record A criminal record can be a difficult barrier to overcome, but not an impossible one. Your students need to be prepared to discuss their incarceration and show how that experience has had a positive impact on their lifestyle, work ethic, and career goals. Teacher Tip: Except in programs designed to help ex-offenders, many of your students will not face the barriers specific to individuals with a criminal record. And some students who do have a criminal record will be reluctant to discuss such barriers in class. Feel free to skip this section of the workbook, but extend an open invitation that any student with a past conviction is welcome to discuss this barrier with you outside of class. One of the best ways to have students with a criminal record think about its effect on their job search and job success is to have them brainstorm answers to interview questions that specifically address their incarceration and rehabilitation. Feel free to use the following questions as part of a discussion, journaling exercise, role-play, or one-on- one conference: • What have you learned about yourself from your time spent in prison? • Are you rehabilitated? How do you know? • Why should I hire you, given your personal history? • How is your life different now than it was when you committed the crime? • What did you do to better yourself or your situation while in prison? Make a Plan Students need to have a concrete plan for overcoming their personal barriers. Have students complete the exercise contained in the workbook. This will allow them to specify concrete barriers they are facing, develop ideas to overcome them, and identify resources in their community to help them succeed. © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 9 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide You may want to put a sample plan on the board for students to see the importance of this process. An example is provided at the end of this chapter. You may also want people to share some of their most pressing barriers with others in class. This will allow your students to see that they are not alone in their efforts to overcome their barriers. Financial Barriers Financial barriers constitute a kind of “catch 22” for most job seekers. The perception is that financial barriers can only be overcome once you’ve found a job. However, financial barriers can actually keep you from finding a job, preventing you from ever overcoming those barriers. While this is true to some extent, it is also true that there are strategies and resources your students can use to manage their finances. Doing so will allow them to better allocate their resources so that they can find a job quickly and escape the circle. Your students need to find ways to save and invest their money. Money management is a basic life skill that most people are not taught growing up. The purpose of this section of the workbook is to introduce some basic concepts and to get students thinking about the role money management plays in their job search and employment success. Managing Your Money Managing money is hard to do. One look at the average credit debt for American families is enough to convince anyone of the difficulty of money management. The purpose of this section is to help students explore their own spending and savings habits and then encourage them to rethink those habits. Keep in mind that some students may have financial burdens (such as medical bills or massive debt) that are beyond the scope of basic money management. Consider referring students with severe money management issues to other outside resources. Class Activity: What Kind of Manager Are You? Write the following words and definitions on the board: Squirrels: They stash money in no or very low income-producing investments (such as cookie jars or savings accounts) so that they always have it available. Overspenders: They spend all of their money before they can save or invest it. Risk-Takers: They put their money in potentially high-income-producing investments that are riskier (such as stocks). Calculators: They work hard for their money and they plan their financial future by making careful and balanced investments. Ostriches: They stick their head in the sand and let others handle their money for them. Squeakers: They only make enough to cover their basic expenses, just squeaking by from paycheck to paycheck. © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 10 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide Ask your students to further define these money management types and list the advantages and disadvantages of each. Then have them pick the one that describes them the most. Is that the one they want to be? If not, what kind of manager do they aspire to be? And what can they do to get there? Needs Versus Wants Needs are those things you must have in order to survive; wants are things you desire but that are not essential. It is important for your students to understand the difference between these two. Consider putting several examples on the board or overhead, either yourself or as a class exercise. Class Exercise: A Penny Saved Have students brainstorm as many different ways to save money (by cutting down on expenses) as possible. Some ideas might include joining a food co-op, carpooling, and waiting 24 hours before making any purchase to avoid impulse buying. Have a contest to see which student can come up with most ways to save. When the class if finished, have each student identify three or four strategies they would like to implement. Financial Barriers and the Job Search Financial barriers are at the heart of any job search. It is difficult for your students to think about employment when their family is hungry, when their pants have holes in them, or when they are living in their car. Therefore, you need to address the fact that finding ways to survive while looking for a job is critical. Ask students to think of as many ways as possible that a lack of money can affect their search for employment. Consider putting this list on the board or overhead. Teacher Tip: The purpose of this workbook is to help individuals overcome their most pressing barriers so that they can get and be successful at a job. For that reason, it is crucial to tie everything—including money-management—back to its impact on the job search process. Stress to your students that managing their money better now may free up time and resources they can use to expand and energize their job search. Planning Your Financial Future If your students are unemployed or struggling to stay employed, then they may not be concerned about their long-term financial future. But that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be. Financial goals should be at the heart of the career research and job search. It should factor into all of their career planning and job acceptance decisions. Though it may not seem like a pressing need, having a long-term financial plan can positively impact your students’ job search success. Long-term financial success does not happen automatically. Your students need to make it happen for them. It is important for them to have a dream and work toward that dream. © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 11 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide Class Exercise: My Dream Life Provide students in class with large sheets of paper and different color markers. Ask students to think about living their ultimate dream. Ask them to take a minute, close their eyes, and visualize what their dream life is like. What are they doing, where are they, and how are they living? Then ask students to draw a picture that represents them living their dream life. Though they may be personal, consider asking students to share their pictures with the class. When you have finished, ask each student to come up with five things they can do to bring them closer to the life they’ve envisioned. Discussion Questions The following questions are provided for you to use as group discussion questions. Keep in mind that many, if not most, of the barriers discussed in this section of the workbook are personal in nature, and that students may be reluctant to discuss these issues with others. You can also ask students to answer these questions as part of a journal. Journaling is an extremely powerful tool for enhancing self-discovery, transcending problems, and breaking ineffective life and career habits. 1. What role does your family play in your job search? What contributions do they make, both positive and negative? 2. How can finances help or hinder your search for a job? 3. What are the best ways to overcome childcare barriers? 4. What is your long-term dream and what steps can you take to achieve this dream? 5. What transportation options are available in your community? 6. What types of survival jobs could you take to make money while you search for your dream job? 7. What are the best ways to manage money? 8. Why are budgets so difficult to stick to, and what can be done to make it easier to stick to a budget? 9. How can a criminal record be turned into a positive experience in an employment interview? 10. What are the most important barriers for you to overcome? What are the least important? Why? Homework Assignment For homework, have students think about a person in history who was able to overcome personal barriers to find success. Examples might include George Washington Carver or Helen Keller. Ask them to do some research on how this person was able to overcome his or her barriers. In their research, encourage students to write about the type of barriers the person experienced, how he or she overcame the barriers, and how it affected the person and his or her family. © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 12 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide Basic Needs Sample Plan Strategies for My Basic Needs Agencies and Resources Overcoming This Barrier That Can Help Barrier I will go to the bus station and see what routes the bus takes…I Identify a way to get to the think it goes right past the Transportation community college on the college. I will also try and make other side of town. friends with other people in my area who are students there. I will enroll in the public Find ways to supplement assistance program for food Food my food resources or cut stamps. I will also contact down on my grocery costs. churches in my area to see if they can help me. I will go to the clothing bank in my Find cheap but town. If I get desperate, I will professional-looking Clothing borrow clothes from my aunt to clothes to wear on wear to interviews (though they interviews. may be a little large). © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 13 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide Part 2: Emotional and Physical Barriers Objectives • Help readers identify their most pressing emotional and physical barriers. • Help readers understand the importance of self-confidence and self-esteem in a job search. • Help readers deal effectively with the emotions that accompany unemployment and a job search. • Help readers think about and begin using a system of support. • Help readers discover ways to overcome disabilities in searching for and maintaining employment. Summary Emotional and physical barriers can be difficult to overcome because they affect a person’s motivation to search for employment. They have a direct impact on self- confidence and self-esteem, and can contribute to feelings of stress, anger, depression, and helplessness. Some examples of common emotional and physical barriers include the following: • Lacking the energy and motivation to look for a job. • Feelings of anger and frustration that come from unemployment. • Physical health problems that prevent one from looking for a job. • Physical disabilities that can alter an individual’s perception of their employability. Most emotional and physical barriers keep job seekers from staying positive about looking for a job, often leading to a longer period of unemployment. This, in turn, leads to more negative feelings in a self-perpetuating cycle. Therefore, these barriers must be addressed if people are going to stay motivated and upbeat in their quest for employment success. Emotional Barriers In this section of the book, students should learn more about how their emotions affect their job search and job success. Emotions are more intense during times of stress, and researchers have found that unemployment is one of the most stressful situations a person can live through. Therefore, you should spend considerable time helping students explore their emotions in a constructive manner. Remember, however, that many individuals may be reluctant to discuss their emotions openly with others. Stay focused on how their emotions directly impact their job search © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 14 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide or their ability to keep and succeed on a job. Your class is not a therapy session (most likely); so feel free to recommend professional resources to individuals who ask. Class Activity: Cause and Effect Have each student complete the following statements on a separate sheet of paper. This may give them some insight into the causes of their emotional barriers. “I get angry when…” “I am sad when…” “I hate my work because…” “I have no energy because…” “I get frustrated when…” “I feel stressed when…” Because of the personal nature of this exercise, it is probably best if it is not shared in a group. However, encourage students to stay aware of the causes of their emotions as they work through this section of the workbook. Need for Support All people need a strong support system if they are going to achieve employment success. Their support system can provide them with valuable information, job search assistance, job leads, and suggestions for self-improvement. People who are successful in their careers are able to identify others who were positive role models and mentors. More than likely there are people—both personal and professional—willing to help each of your students succeed. You should also remind students that there may be people in their community and even their own families who do not want to see them succeed. You should stress to your students that these negative influences can have a detrimental effect on their employment success. Class Exercise: Who Has Your Back? Put two columns on the board labeled “Positive Characteristics” and “Negative Characteristics.” Then ask students to list the characteristics of people who would provide or have provided positive support to them. Also have students list the characteristics of people who were not supportive. This exercise can be useful as they go on to develop their support network later in this section. Teacher Tip: One branch of the support system might be called the “Professional Branch.” These are people who are paid to help others cope with their barriers and find jobs. Odds are you, as their instructor, belong in this category. As their instructor, you are also probably best equipped to provide them with names and contact information of other professional resources in the community that can help them. © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 15 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide Taking Responsibility In a landmark study conducted by Andy Helwig in the 1980s, he found that personal motivation and effective job search attitudes are as important or more important than job search skills and techniques. He concluded that taking personal responsibility in finding a job is probably the most important factor in finding employment. People who take responsibility for their job search do not rely on luck, fate, or others to find them a job. Instead, they are active, involved, and motivated to find work or go to work. They are self-determined, in control of their own destiny, and believe that they have the right to live their own lives—lives not controlled by circumstances outside of them. Naturally, these are the people who tend to find jobs more quickly. You need to provide support for your students, help them identify solutions to the barriers to employment success, and push them to take the calculated risks necessary to be successful. Make sure that they understand that by knowing what they want, setting goals to get there, and taking action they can achieve their career dreams. It is in this stage that you must be more of a cheerleader to your students than a coach. Help them to see risks as opportunities and have them trust the outcomes they will receive. Class Activity: The Blame Game Have students develop a list of all of the people or organizations they blame for what has happened in their lives. Encourage them to be specific about the circumstances. Then ask your students what responsibility they (the students) had in each circum- stance. What might they have done differently? What have they done to make up for it since? Low Self-Esteem Your students’ overall evaluation of themselves and appraisal of their worth is their self- esteem. Self-esteem is a combination of beliefs (such as, “I am good at what I do”), emotions (such as feeling proud or sad), and behaviors (such as being assertive or acting confident). Low self-esteem keeps people from enjoying life. It also keeps people from projecting a strong, confident sense of self to employers. Of course it can be difficult for your students to feel good about themselves in the face of unemployment and a difficult job search. Low self-esteem is not something that can be overcome overnight. Often it becomes hard-wired into an individual’s consciousness. However, it is important to begin gaining some measure of self-worth if one is to muster the energy and confidence to succeed on the job search. It may sound cliché, but you should encourage your students to “accentuate the positives,” both within themselves and when they interact with others. Class Exercise: Why I Matter © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 16 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide As a journaling exercise, have students develop a list of reasons why they are unique and matter to those around them. Examples might include “my family counts on me,” “I am a good neighbor,” or “I take an active part in my community.” Suggest that students list everything they can think of rather than eliminating items prematurely. Now have students develop a similar list of reasons why they might matter to prospective employers. These reasons could include such things as “I am dependable” or “I write well.” Then have students rank their list based on what they believe to be the most important characteristics that prospective employers desire. Teacher Tip: All people fail from time to time, but successful people learn from their failures. Your students are apt to focus on their failures and assume that just because they failed in the past, they can never succeed. Encourage them not to get trapped in the past, but simply to learn from it and move on. Managing Stress A little bit of stress can be stimulating and can help your students to meet challenges. However, too much stress can hurt their emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioral wellness. Stress is unavoidable, especially during a job search; thus, stress management is a critical life skill. Some people are able to stay relatively stress-free during periods of personal change. This ability is referred to as resiliency. Resiliency is a pattern of qualities that determine who will be most successful in dealing with change. Resiliency includes such characteristics as creativity, flexibility, and tolerance for ambiguity. All of these characteristics combine to determine how well your students will cope with the stress of unemployment and a job search. To help your students explore their current coping skills, ask them to complete the stress management exercise that follows. Class Exercise: Coping with Stress Break students into smaller groups. Have students discuss the various ways stress can affect them personally and in their job search. Have students in each of the groups describe the positive things they do when they feel stressed, as well as the negative things they do. Then ask the groups to get back together and create an overall list of positive and negative ways of coping with stress. Feel free to start with the list outlined in the workbook. Dealing with Depression Your students need to understand that when they are depressed, both happiness and jobs will elude them. Depression often comes with irrational and unrealistic thinking, which can negatively impact the job search. An event such as loss of a job can start the cycle of depression. However, preoccupation with anxiety, unrealistic expectations, feelings of failure, perfectionism, and lack of assertiveness can keep depression alive long after the loss of employment. © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 17 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide Of course, clinical depression is not the same thing as “having the blues.” Everyone gets the blues, especially in times of personal hardship or stress. In such cases the key is to try and stay positive and to focus on small improvements and successes that can be built on. Remind students that if they think they are depressed to the point where it is severely affecting their lives, they should consult a physician for treatment. Teacher Tip: Emotional barriers can be deep-seated and complex. Be sure to offer as many resources as possible for students to learn more about overcoming their barriers. For students battling depression, one place to start might be Managing Anger It is normal for your students to lose their composure and get angry from time to time. Anger is a normal, often healthy human emotion. However, it all too frequently turns into verbal and physical aggression or is suppressed. Anger can interfere with an individual’s role as a parent, a partner, a worker, and a friend. Therefore, it is very important for individuals to learn how to manage their anger if it is a problem—especially if it is interfering or has interfered with their employability. Some of your students may not know how to control their anger. Anger management is much more than learning a few tools and techniques that they can use when they get mad. It involves getting to know oneself: learning what triggers an angry response, evaluating the ways anger is expressed, and understanding the consequences of those responses. Anger management is important in all aspects of life, but it can have a direct and profound impact on both the job search and job success. Interviews are naturally stressful situations, and prospective employers are looking for people who can stay calm and collected under pressure. Likewise, situations at work are apt to cause an angry response. Learning to manage that response may be a key to ongoing job success. Class Exercise: Let Your Body Do the Talking You should explain to your students that they can learn to monitor the changes in their emotions by simply becoming more aware of physical changes that accompany various emotions. Break students into smaller groups. Have them describe various emotions such as happy, mad, depressed, scared, and anxious. After they describe these emotions, have them take turns role playing people exhibiting these emotions. Tell them to pay attention to the body language associated with each of the emotions. Have them come back to the large group and describe what they’ve seen. What can they do when they start to see these physical responses in others? What can they do when they start to notice these responses in themselves? Teacher Tip: Anger management experts believe that anger and aggression are primarily learned from people and events in one’s environment. Since people learn to feel angry, they can also learn other ways to feel instead of angry. © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 18 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide Physical Barriers Physical barriers are those barriers that result from physical problems or limitations. These problems or limitations may be beyond the control of students in your group. These barriers might include learning disabilities, physical impairments, mental illnesses, sensory impairments, and some types of chronic disease. While there is little you can do to remove these barriers, you can encourage your students to find ways to cope with them and to not let them interfere with finding employment success. You need to stress to your students that they need to move beyond blaming others and feeling sorry for themselves and begin thinking about how they can overcome their physical barriers and achieve success despite being disabled. Teacher Tip: If you have students in class with physical disabilities, it is important that they do not feel like they are being discriminated against or stereotyped. Do not force anyone to participate in a discussion or activity they don’t feel comfortable with. Dealing with a Physical Disability Some of your students may have physical disabilities that could be a barrier to searching for employment. It’s important for those students to accept the fact that a disability exists, but also to believe that the disability can be overcome. You need to talk to your students about various types of assistive technology that is available both in finding and succeeding on a job, and help them to become aware of their rights in searching for employment. Class Exercise: Starting a Discussion About Disabilities Use the following True-False quiz to promote discussions among your students: 1. If a person has not documented his or her disability, it does not exist. (F) 2. A disability can affect a person’s ability to perform some work tasks. (T) 3. ADA stands for the American Documentation Act. (F) 4. Mental illnesses are considered disabilities. (T) 5. People with disabilities cannot be promoted on the job. (F) 6. Employers can ask applicants if they are disabled. (F) 7. Employers need to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled employees. (T) 8. Disabled job applicants must tell employers they are disabled on their resumes. (F) Dealing with Addictions © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 19 Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success Instructor’s Guide Addictions begin with voluntary activity, but they become compulsions. It is important for students who struggle with addictions of any kind to learn more about what they are addicted to and develop a plan for overcoming their addiction. It is important to understand the impact that addictions can have on one’s work life. Substance abuse can negatively affect your students’ search for a job and then their performance on the job. People who abuse substances often lack the necessary energy and focus to conduct an effective job search campaign. They may have trouble interviewing and maintaining a positive attitude while they search. The stress of a job search can also increase their dependence and abuse. On the job, it has been found that substance abusers tend to be absent from work a lot, have trouble getting to work on time and completing projects, and have episodes of anger and rage. They often have difficulty thinking and performing their required job tasks. It is critical that you stress to your students the negative effects that the abuse of substances can have in a job search and in finding employment success. Class Exercise: The Root of Many Problems As a journaling exercise, have your students think and write about how substance abuse has caused them problems. Write the words “With My Family,” “With My Friends,” “In My Social Life,” “At Work,” and “At School” on the board. Then have the students describe how the abuse of substances has caused problems for them in each of the areas described. When they’ve finished, have them pick one of these categories. Then have them write a paragraph about how this aspect of their life can improve if they are willing and able to end their addiction. Discussion Questions The following questions are provided for you to use as group discussion questions. Keep in mind that many, if not most, of the barriers discussed in this section of the workbook are personal in nature and that students may be reluctant to discuss them with others. You can also ask students to answer them as part of a journal. 1. How can emotional barriers hinder your job search efforts? 2. How can a good support system help your job search efforts? 3. Who should be part of your support system and why? 4. How often do you blame others for problems or challenges in your life? What does blaming others do for you? 5. What is your self-image and how does it affect your self-esteem? 6. What can you do to manage stress while searching for employment? 7. When has anger caused problems on a job or while looking for one? 8. How can a physical disability affect your job search? © JIST Works. Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited 20

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