The Threads that Make a Thriving Life
By Lian Conrad, Case Management Intern
Daily Work’s mission of supporting self-sufficiency goes beyond employment mentoring. In life, employment is just one of many “threads” stitched together to create a thriving life. Our quality of life is strongest when all threads, such as housing, education, transportation, health, family, and social support, are adequate and supported.
Sometimes a thread frays over time, and it can feel like life is unraveling. For example, in assisting job seekers who live in public housing, I learned how its challenges impact their lives. Experts agree that households should not pay more than 30 percent of their income to housing, but many of Daily Work’s job seekers pay 50 percent or more. Even when working two to three jobs, many job seekers confide in me that they have no money left over for savings, childcare, health insurance, or car insurance.
At Daily Work, I help job seekers find better paying full-time jobs with benefits. In the winter, some job seekers lacked hot water and heat from landlords that did not maintain buildings. They came to Daily Work feeling cold, sick, or tired. Homelessness can also make finding and keeping a job difficult or impossible. I help job seekers better advocate for themselves with landlords or other people in their housing situation. Sometimes, I help them find different housing; addressing housing needs helps repair worn out threads.
Other times it is better to replace threads than repair them. Many of the job seekers at Daily Work are immigrants from African countries. I have worked with job seekers who were former nurses, carpenters, or teachers in their home countries who now work in unrelated jobs.
A key way I help job seekers through these transitions is to remind them of the many strengths I see in them. I help them build skills and find certifications to broaden their opportunities. For example, I helped a job seeker who was a custodian discover a child development program at the Hubbs Learning Center.
This job seeker, “Bisrat” is currently working overnight shifts in a large office, but she finds the work too isolating. She expressed a desire to care for children and interact with others. The Hubbs program would give her skills to work in a daycare—the idea of which makes her eyes light up and makes her talk with excitement and enthusiasm. Through education and training, Daily Work helps job seekers replace unsatisfying employment threads by introducing ones that are more appealing and fulfilling.
Recognizing and valuing job seekers lives’ as diverse tapestries are one of the many ways that Daily Work meets job seekers where they are. Throughout my roles as a social work student and case manager, I have come to see how repairing and replacing life’s threads help jobs seekers live resilient, meaningful and thriving lives.
If you’d like to hear more about how Daily Work helps job seekers stitch together the many threads in their lives, please join us at our annual Steps to Success Luncheon on Wednesday, May 2 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. The event will be held at 415 Pascal Street North, just north of 1-94 between Snelling and Hamline. To register, visit https://dwluncheon.eventbrite.com