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On to the second episode of Opportunity Knock$!
If you are new to this blog, I provided career services to one of the families participating and will be featured in a later episode. I’m not privy to any additional information, so I’m watching the show as a fan and sharing my thoughts as a career strategist.
I just now noticed that they are making sure that every episode title has a capital “S” so they can turn it into a dollar sign. Huzzah for creative branding!
This episode deals with both actual and metaphorical storms as our coaches dig more into the finances of three of the families, starting with the family that lived through both kinds of storms. Pastors Charles and Tiffany’s community got hit by two huge hurricanes in one year, then came COVID. But before that, Tiffany gave birth to an infant without kidneys(!) which ended in not only the infant’s death, but the loss of jobs and property in the struggle to keep up with medical bills.
I want our financial justice host, Reynaldo, to step in with some commentary on universal health care and structural racism because a black who have go bankrupt twice because of a lack of governmental (and community) support is just the kind of story that can highlight how good, caring, hard-working, generous people get into financial straits. And when their coach, Patricia, shared about her financial struggles due to an accident while pregnant… wow. It’s important to recognize that this country has the wealth and ability to provide universal health care, which would save lives and cost less overall, but we don’t. And we have a political system that makes major changes to the economy very, very difficult.
This story ended with Patricia asking about Charles’ salary from the church he runs. It’s… non-existent. He said that he was more focused on giving salaries than getting one and Patricia looked “politely troubled.” As she should!
This is one reason why I started Be the Change Career Consulting, to change the mentality that being in a helping profession means always being self-sacrificing. We are able to give our best when we ourselves are healthy and happy, not stressed and struggling. This is a tricky balance, to be sure, but there are ways to do good in society, to reach and support people who have slipped through the cracks, and also have financial stability. I hope that Patricia is able to help here.
There are some career conundrums in the other two families as well. Lauren and Jarred have been living with Lauren’s parents since having their second child so Lauren could stay at home while they save for a home of their own. Patricia is recently divorced and makes a living as a visual artist, even though she doesn’t have a gallery space to sell her amazing paintings.
There are several things I want to say to Lauren and Jarred. First of all, there is no shame in a multi-generational household. Most of the world lives this way. This was common in the United States until recently. It’s time to admit that the house with the white picket fence can be a harmful goal that often leads to debt, isolation, and over-work, to name just a few effects. Is the solution that everyone should work harder to achieve something that is going to make everyone less happy? I would focus on the big picture to find a way for Lauren to be the kind of mother she wants to be, giving her children the opportunity to have a stable, secure foundation filled with love instead of exhaustion and sadness that she’s not doing what she wants to do. This is not to say that every mother should be stay-at-home. Not at all! But if a parent wants to stay at home, how can we make this happen? I’m curious how this will resolve and suspect that I will have something to say about it…
Finally, I appreciated how Louis interacted with Patricia. He asked about her artistic process and learned a lot about her through her response. He did tell her that his process would require her to change, (start with the end in mind instead of just doing whatever inspiration suggests) but hopefully they will both be able to see how her creativity can be an asset to getting financial security while also recognizing that sometimes you just have to do things that you don’t want to do. (I’m looking at you, email!)
Louis then asked Patricia where she wanted to be in five years. This is a question I ask my clients a lot so I loved that Louis can tap into Patricia’s vision for herself. I actually see the job search as a creative process and refer to it as career design. I guide my clients to think about their lives as an epic masterpiece and to work with the resources they already have to create the lives they want to live. It looks like the families in Opportunity Knock$ will be going through something similar but with an emphasis on expanding their resources first.
Is anybody else watching this show? Who do you think has the biggest career hurdle to overcome?
Interested in watching it? Check it out on PBS.com. My episode is still to come but as you can tell, I have lots of career advice to give to all the families!