Achieving Employment Goals


What if my family member and I disagree about work goals?

Consumer choice is of the utmost importance. If the family believes the choice is too ambitious or unrealistic, they might communicate that the family member is not capable or “less than” without giving the individual opportunity to work though the goal. If the goal truly is too lofty or out of reach, it will become obvious as s/he takes the necessary steps. If a change is needed, the person can step back and start over. Families may prefer to spare loved ones any feelings of failure from taking a job that is too difficult. Only by getting out into the workforce does the awareness of what someone can do really develop. The most common error happens on the side of underestimating rather than overestimating potential.
The family may have concerns that by starting at a low-skill entry-level job, the person will be bored and frustrated, that s/he may not be using their intelligence or good education. As with the “too high” expectations, family members must be careful not to become the decision makers. Information-giving is often a helpful role while advice-giving is not always appreciated. With support, the job seeker can find a good match in which s/he feels challenged enough and feels the work is meaningful. Family members can rejoice in the fact that their loved one is working while helping them continue to dream and by supporting their overall wellness. (Lesley Univ)
Family members need to appreciate how difficult it is for someone with a mental health condition to obtain and sustain employment. They can not always enter or pick up at the highest level of employment due to the many barriers to employment that exist in the community and in the individual struggling with mental health problems.The best solution is for the job seeker to work towards a good match especially if the Employment Specialist and the job seeker can develop that match together. If the family member has dreams beyond his/her current vocational level, that is excellent and those dreams should be supported and revived when the timing is right. As always, personal and professional networks (friends &, family) of everyone who cares about the job seeker are players in the search! (MHA) The job seeker and the family (who keep their dreams alive) will do well to continuously update their knowledge about the job market and opportunities in the community.

Return to List of Questions


How can I help my family member…