In Pursuit of the American Dream Part One

LilacsThe tulips have come and gone, replaced by lilacs, trees in full foliage and climbing temperatures.  Like the seasons of the year, we have come to know the nature of cycles in Mikelle’s life. It’s that time again; time to reach into the universal void and search for the perfect people to support Mikelle in her pursuit of the American dream.

My job is to assist Mikelle.  We have rifled through our inbox, carefully evaluating the responses to our Craigslist ad.  We toss most of them in the virtual trash can, unimpressed when the respondents have failed to include a picture and a resume.  We respond with interest to a select few.  Some are not available when we need them, others discover they are not a good fit.  Finally, we settle on a short list of potential women.

For a few months now we have felt the void rising like the moon on our horizon.  Taylor is leaving our team to pursue her nursing degree and begin her new career as a Hospice CNA.  We have enjoyed the sunshine she brought into our lives and celebrate her next steps.

Our experience tells us there are certain people who come into Mikelle’s life who are not replaceable.  However, we know another treasure is on its way.  This is evident when Mikelle lights up, shares her photos, asks for a phone number and laughs as she prepares the list of questions she has pulled up on her iPad.

Clearly, we appreciate a well-prepared resume.  Mikelle and I will nod our heads yes to a thoughtful response to an interview question. And while the questions are important, we follow a well-known business axiom: Hire for attitude, train for skill.

The pressure to find a new team to replace Taylor’s full-time commitment to us grows as I commit to an expensive airline ticket and plan for a vacation that will be here soon. It begins to feel like we are scrambling to find, hire and train the right people.  We know from experience that accepting less than the best is unsuitable and unsafe.

The interviews begin. Mikelle asks the candidates questions like:

  • Do you have a boyfriend?
  • Will you go have coffee with me?
  • Do you have issues?
  • Will you have any problems taking me to the bathroom?

These are important questions.  I have a few of my own—when Mikelle permits me to ask. Confident, she takes the lead.

Still, I have learned Mikelle benefits from “supported decision-making”.  We also must keep in mind that I live here, too.  I look for cleanliness, flexibility, intelligence and a commitment to life-long learning.  A compassionate heart is critical.

As the lady of the house, Mikelle makes every effort to make applicants feel comfortable as she gives them the tour of her home. With only 1200 SQ FT, the tour shouldn’t take long, but it does. Mikelle points out the pictures on her wall expressing her love for the Denver Broncos football team. Keen attention is given to the bedside poster of Peyton Manning.  She doesn’t tell them they get bonus points for being a Bronco’s fan.

The interviews go well. We are in luck this time. With so many qualified candidates, this could be a game changer.  I think she may drop me off at the curb once again. She’s got her girls.  Will keep you posted.

 

 

 

 

About Katherine Carol

Special needs & community expert, speaker, co-author of The Tango of Publishing and Shining Beautiful, with Mikelle Learned, book coach, mom, and community builder.

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