We Learn By Helping Others

I don’t really like speaking in front of large groups of people. Or small groups of people. I’ve had to do this a lot growing up and throughout school and work, etc. so I’m used to it and fairly okay at it, I just never jump up to immediately do it. I’m an introvert so it’s out of my comfort zone. At the same time, sometimes it’s just necessary.

                I joined a professional group at my job that helps the community. I thought this is a good thing. I work better behind the scenes though. Everyone was super cooperative so it was an easy group to work with. An email went out asking if someone would like to volunteer to hold a resume writing workshop at a local high school.

                Now, resumes are my thing. It’s what I do, quite well I might add. In fact, I used to specialize in writing resumes for people who had a difficult time finding a job. Whether there was a lack of experience, too much experience, experience that is all over the place, a resume that’s not getting results – those are the resumes I chose to work on because they presented a fun challenge for me. There is an art to designing a resume for people who have special needs. In fact, I called it a ‘resume design’. There is far more that goes into a resume design than just typing up whatever someone gives you. Anyone can do that. But creating a work of art from seemingly nothing? That takes skill. Anyway, not to bore you with the details because this is not about creating resumes.

                When the initial email went out it was to host a resume writing workshop for high school kids in a school-based youth services program. I was a high school kid who participated in the school based youth services program at my school many years ago. They still have that? I knew the unique challenges high school kids possessed when it came to getting a job and I thought I would be perfect for this assignment. Since I also had a home-based business at the time doing resumes I seemed like the obvious choice. However, I thought “…but I don’t like speaking in front of a crowd of people” so I deleted the email knowing full well that someone else would step up to the task. After all, anyone can write up a resume and teach someone the basics so I was sure someone else would volunteer. But could they guide them in the same ways I could? Probably not, but oh well. Delete.

                A second email went out with the same request. Not typical. No one volunteered? Was I supposed to volunteer? I was perfect for this assignment. I already had a resume writing business at home. Back in the day I was a broke teenager who needed to work. I was in the school-based youth services program at my high school. I understood the unique needs of teenage students looking for work. I was the best person for the job. But…ok. you know what? I don’t want to do this, but I know I’m the best person for the job. So I’ll leave it in God’s hands. If I am meant to do this workshop a third email (which never happened) will be sent out. Delete.

                A third email came. Phhht <sucks top lip>.

                I volunteered. It went great. I did that workshop for several years. I compiled a whole lesson plan consisting of two parts: how to write a resume and how to interview for a job – TEEN EDITION. The students were very appreciative and I was very glad I could help. I also realized the last time I went that I was very good at this. Not that I wanted to do it, but I wanted to fill a need. And sometimes the need to help and the Ability to Help is Far More Important than any shyness or discomfort you may feel in the process.

Another lesson learned.