Obstacles Are No Match For a Winning Smile - Fighting Barriers to Employment

Let’s face it: finding work is no picnic. It’s tough out there. I know. I’ve been there.

    I’ve stood at a new junction in life, facing an uncertain future with little but my pride and determination to rely on.

    I’ll be honest: it’s not a very comfortable feeling. In fact, it can be downright terrifying. After all, you’re stepping forward without knowing where you’ll end up. Even the most self-assured individual must confess that this notion is a little scary.

    The truth is, starting a new career isn’t easy for anyone.

    We each have our own obstacles to employment. Some are physical: perhaps you can’t work long hours because of a leg disability, for example, or can’t make a decent living because you happen to live in the northernmost fringes of Saskatchewan. Others are circumstantial: you have to support a child on a single income, or have chosen to uproot to a new and unfamiliar community. Others still are experiential: maybe you can’t speak French or English very well, or you haven’t finished high school, or your credentials are no longer relevant. Perhaps you clam up in an interview setting; maybe the idea of calling a stranger is terrifying to you.

Finding opportunities where you don’t expect them

    Thankfully, we live in an environment that encourages diversity in the workforce. Most Canadians understand the aforementioned barriers, and make efforts to accommodate them as much as possible. The nation boasts hundreds of organizations – both public and private – dedicated solely to helping Canadians of all stripes find productive and meaningful work. Across the country, people and services are working to make the seemingly impossible… well, possible.

    In this environment, there are opportunities for any Canadian with the right attitude to succeed. Barriers and obstacles are no match for a winning smile, confident handshake, and sheer determination. Even in my darkest hours of unemployment, I knew I’d eventually find something that worked for me. I tried to face each day with as positive an outlook as possible – and I am confident my attitude has helped me get where I am today.

  Obstacles Are No Match For a Winning Smile - Fighting Barriers to Employment

  In order to achieve success, you have to envision it – to pinpoint your goal, plan how to get there, and persevere. You must ask questions, do research, and take advantage of those willing to help you along the way. Moreover, you must stick with it. Sheer resolve has ignited many a fine career; there’s no reason it can’t do the same for you.

    Our country is one that encourages plurality, variety, and multiculturalism – something we, as Canadians, should truly pride ourselves on. Such diversity has spread to the workforce, strengthening our economy and improving our reputation as a nation. So stay positive: employers are waiting to hire you. There are opportunities out there in which you will thrive.

    If you keep the right attitude, it’s only a matter of time.

Toronto-based journalist Deborah Aarts was the main writer on this handbook project.

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