OPINION

I can't do everything - as much as I would like

HOURS IN THE DAY: Cloning hasn't been mainstreamed yet, making coming up with new ideas somewhat of a curse.
HOURS IN THE DAY: Cloning hasn't been mainstreamed yet, making coming up with new ideas somewhat of a curse.

Constantly having ideas is a burden. The alternative - never having ideas - is untenable, but the experience of always thinking, always having new projects to chase, new solutions to age-old problems, new books to write, new apps to design, new websites to put together ... frankly, it's exhausting.

I live with the frustration of wishing I could clone myself so I could do everything I want to do.

Life is too short and my goals take too much time. Time is my enemy. Or maybe it's mortality.

Either way, I simply don't have enough time to do everything I want to do. And sometimes that can be a frustration that really burns into my soul.

Let me give you an example.

I see a need right now to improve people's access to career development support.

Even those in government assisted programs find that the services provided cannot be tailored to meet individual client needs because of how the system is set up.

People often don't have competitive resumes, receive meaningful skill development or have access to jobs that are skill-appropriate. Instead, we are hell-bent on trying to force square pegs, triangle pegs, diamond pegs, hexagonal pegs in round holes, because there are round holes that need filling.

This isn't the only group of people who need access to quality career development support.

Parents returning to work after raising their children are a cohort who experience unique challenges. Perhaps they are lacking in confidence, having been out of the workforce for a period of time, or their availability for work is less because of childcare places or costs. Or perhaps, their registrations and certifications have lapsed while they have been raising the next generation of humans.

People don't often think about people returning to work after injury or illness and the challenges this brings either. If you have survived cancer, or a back or brain injury for example, returning to work can be daunting and overwhelming. The type of work you can do might have significantly changed, how you feel about work might have altered, your values may have shifted. Mental health challenges can also be confronting, especially if work was a trigger for you.

Additionally, finding your way back to work after family violence or a marriage breakdown can bring highly unique challenges that require gentle and supportive assistance and guidance.

I live with the frustration of wishing I could clone myself so I could do everything I want to do.

How you feel about work matters. And there are so many reasons for people needing help to get back into work that a one-size-fits-all approach just doesn't work.

I work with many people in situations like this, and the need is palpable. So, I started to build a plan to address the issue on a broader community scale. I undertook market research, investigating people's experiences and goals, seeking to understand the employment landscape of my regional area and putting together a picture of what the needs vs the services available looked like.

But the problem is, I'm just one person. Cloning hasn't been mainstreamed yet and without funding, programs like this can't get off the ground. So, I sought advice.

I talked to several people with significant experience in government, business, employment and career development. I found that people who shared my professional background were quick to agree that the program was a great idea and that we needed such a thing in our communities. But the people in business and government had the experience to look beyond the ideal "wouldn't it be nice" that the needle of my record player was stuck on and really asked me the hard questions.

"Why are you doing this?"

"Is this the only way you can serve your community?"

The reality, of course, is that you can't just develop a program and go and look for someone to fund it for you.

It doesn't work like that. Even in social enterprise, you have to address the problem with a business head.

The value of having a hard conversation that burst some idealistic bubbles is that it saved me precious time in realising that despite my passion and my drive, I can't do everything.

If I focus on what I am doing now, and continue to do it really well, I'll find my service in what I do and perhaps, I will be able to fund such programs myself. In time.

Zoë Wundenberg is a careers consultant and un/employment advocateat impressability.com.au