Allowing space to grow

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Jessica Martin, The Employment Connection’s Community Employment Specialist, supports people’s journey into community employment.

In her role, she is a combination of a job agent, coach and personal cheerleader, urging the people she supports to overcome hurdles to achieve their goals. Sometimes, that  may mean going with changes she doesn’t think are best for the person. But, Jessica feels her work as a Direct Support Professional is to encourage the person to make choices and learn from them. Sometimes they work out, sometimes not.  In this case, it worked out.

“If a job is what they want, I say, ‘Great, let’s get started.’ But, if they want to move on from the job, it’s all about what they want, and I just say, ‘Ok, let’s look for something else,” she said, adding about one particular case in which someone she helped get a job, wanted to leave and work elsewhere, a choice Jessica didn’t favor, but went with it anyway.

“Sometimes it’s tougher to go along with it,” she said. “It’s easy to think we know what’s best, but then they have to make their own choices and learn from them. In this case it turned out fine.”

As a good parent has to let their child experience the consequences of their choices, that’s also true for the people she supports.

She feels it’s important for a person’s self esteem and empowerment to grow from mistakes and learn to overcome their own challenges. Each one gives them the confidence to embrace another hurdle and with each success comes greater self-esteem.