I think I have mentioned before that the number one challenge for this country’s government and the Church is the unemployment of the people here. Hence, the Church is constantly reviewing methods and holding training seminars on how to address this problem. This past week we were asked to travel to Johannesburg to attend such a seminar that lasted from Monday through Friday. The seminar was enlightening and educational. However, in many ways, it pointed out that the only ones that can help the unemployed are themselves. By that I mean that if the individuals are determined and willing to put forth the effort to be self-reliant, the resources are available for them to do so.
There is a principle called “The Cycle of Self-Defeat” that is prevalent among the chronically unemployed. Contained in this principle is the “Perception of Limited Resources”, the “Perception of Limited Education”, the “Perception of Limited Skills”, and the “Perception of Limited Employment”. However, these perceptions are all false; none of them are true for the individual who knows who they are and has the determination to succeed. The indoctrination of these precepts has been handed down from parent to child for generations – they are perpetual. Therefore, to breakout of this mind-set requires a total retooling of the way an individual thinks. In the workshops, we begin by helping them to understand who they really are – that they are a child of God and as such they have all the resources that are required to succeed. All they have to is to exercise the freedom to choose that He has given them to utilize the resources, talents and skills He has given them.
As an example of this reality, 8 unemployed individuals (men and women) were asked to participate in an exercise to search for employment. They all had to sign an agreement to preform daily assignments or they were not allowed to participate. The agreement required that they begin each day by dressing as if they were ready for an interview and attending a meeting that began at 8:00. At that meeting they are required to report on what they accomplished on their previous day’s assignments which where to 1) identify 15 new resources (people or places to contact), 2) make 10 contacts (from their list of resources), and 3) set up at least 2 face-to-face meetings or interviews. The group then discussed together any obstacles they encountered and what they could do to overcome them.
So the first day they met with their group facilitator and went through their agreement and assignments for that day. The next day they came back to report back on what they accomplished and we were are all amazed. Out of the eight people participating in the exercise, 1 of them came back with a job offer and 2 of them reported that they had job interviews lined up. The remaining 5 had all identified numerous contacts who they would contact to try to solicit an interview.
Statistically, it takes an individual approximately 230 days to get a job in Johannesburg. However, those that participate in the Career Workshop will get a job in an average of 90 to 100 days. But the big surprise was to learn that those who participated in the exercise described above secure a job in 30-35 days which emphasizes the point that if an individual is determined and prepared he or she can become self-reliant.
The key then to success, is determination, preparedness, and the utilization of the resources the Lord has given each of us. However, generations of unemployment breeds laziness, apathy, complacency and indifference. The government, in an attempt to take care of the poor and needy and the unemployed (not necessarily the same people), introduces them to a dole system which provides them the necessities of life (and in many cases, more than the necessities) without requiring them to do anything to earn it. The dole system then becomes an entitlement, both in the eyes of the giver and receiver. As a result, those who lack vision of the Lord’s resources and His desire for them, become content with life as they know it. On the other hand, those who have a brighter light, or in whom it can be illuminated, begin reaching beyond their circumstances and environment to grasp a far better life. We have included a couple of short videos that demonstrate how people have recognized their resources and become self-reliant; hope you enjoy them.