Started with a round of introductions of all five of us in the room, plus the speaker and another member of staff sitting in "participant" situ as she hadn't seen the course before. We each had to give our names, how long we had been in contact with the provider, what we had done as work before our current situations, our job goals, how long it would be before we were "work ready." Well in my case I explained that I was work ready, apart from needing a position where I wouldn't have to have contact with customers and suppliers, when so many employers wanted me to have this and would choose someone else instead of me.
There was then discussion of how "success" is portrayed in the media. Two sides of the coin discussed, most of us saying typical celebrities were "overrated" but one participant was more positive about them saying she thought they had "set their goals, communicated and achieved them well." I still err on thinking they are overrated but can see what she means, looking at how many of them (especially professional footballers) get in the news for the wrong reasons, are those really their goals?
We were then asked to say what success was to each of us personally in terms of our own job goals, I said a job making good use of my skills but in the background, putting that above money, for which I said enough to be comfortable but where I would have a work-life balance and not work excessive overtime to earn loads of bonusses, my life outside work is important to me.
There was then the discussion of self esteem with the initials IALAC
does the person feel "loveable / likeable" from their relationships with family and friends going well, and "capable" in doing day to day activities? I often feel vulnerable in this respect. From the book "Self esteem is the belief that you can handle whatever life dishes up", well listening to this is all very well but I don't always feel able to handle whatever life dishes up. There was a page to write about the things that raise and lower self esteem, mine's raised by an achievement of a task, enjoyment of time with friends or a specific activity, and praise and thanks. It is particularly lowered by criticism, people around me in a bad mood, disruption of routine and excessive pressure and expectation.
There was then a "personal success sheet" with the suggestion to divide our lives into thirds or similar and write 3 achievements.
First third 0-18
(1) Passed O and A level exams
(2) Rode bike
(3) Learned simple computing with my 1980s Spectrum
Second third 18-28
(1) Leaving home for university
(2) Relocations for jobs in the IT field
(3) Establishing a new social life with a particular local club in a national network
Final third 28-38
(1) Bought house
(2) Establishing social life at the dance nights for a favourite soul music genre
(3) Studied accounting courses and temporary jobs in this field
There was also the suggestion to start a "victory log", this blog is of course an ideal place for that, this is one suggestion I really do like, to write down particular successes in this journal when they happen.
What I wasn't so keen on was the "mirror exercise" a few pages further on. "Look into your eyes in the mirror for two minutes and pat yourself on the back": I'm sceptical as no amount of doing this would, for instance, would have made the contact with suppliers in the job in January 08 any better, or improved the flow of opportunities while I was unemployed. This is the whole "coaching" thing, and I'm still sceptical!