The late Minnesotan comedian Mitch Hedberg once said, “I’m sick of following my dreams. I’m just going to ask where they’re going and hook up with them later.” Dream jobs do not just fall into laps…in fact, the target of a dream job is so narrow that most of us tend to broaden the field in our search for employment. At Community Involvement Programs, we focus more on finding jobs that are a good fit for each job seeker. But finding a good job match can still take a volume of hard work, persistence, and in Russell’s case, patience. Russell’s background in the printing industry dates back to him receiving a Printing Certificate from Hennepin Technical College. Russell and Craig, his Employment Representative from CIP’s Supported Employment Team, went on several informational interviews; in fact, he even landed a couple temporary positions at printing shops, but unfortunately these opportunities were not the best fit and always fell through.
After many months of applying, scheduling meetings, following up, interviewing, and being rejected from printing positions, Russell decided that he wanted to open up his options and pursue any paying position, just so he could make some money and gain some work experience. He started close to his home in Eden Prairie, where he ultimately landed a position as a morning stock person at Michael’s. Russell gained valuable experience in this retail setting, where he learned how to stock and organize product on a sales floor. He learned categorical organization and how to manage his time in relation to his (very early!) shift. Overall, Russell enjoyed his job and his co-workers and supervisor enjoyed him. After eight months of working 4:00 a.m. shifts and 20+ hours a week at Michael’s, his Employment Representative received a phone call that changed everything. Ten dollars an hour, forty hours a week, and full company benefits…how does that sound?
A little over a year ago, Russell applied to an available position in the bindery department at Daily Printing Inc. in Plymouth. He spoke to a gentleman named Don Bergeron, who asked him to come in for an interview and a tour of the warehouse. With Russell’s lack of professional work experience in the printing industry, Don ultimately decided that he did not feel comfortable offering Russell an independent bindery and finishing position in his warehouse, mostly because Don felt he did not have the proper staff to train and support Russell to be successful at the time. However, Russell left a lasting impression. In fact, Russell’s resume and application did not leave Don’s desk for twelve straight months. How about that for a lasting impression? When Craig received Don’s phone call regarding a possible available opportunity in his warehouse, he knew immediately that Russell had hit the employment jackpot. Everything about Russell’s position turned out perfectly: from his immediate supervisor being a twenty five-year employee of Daily Printing and a fifteen-year Scout Leader, to the average ten-year tenure of a Daily Printing Inc. employee. Needless to say, Russell accepted the offer and could not be happier to finally be starting his career in the printing industry.
Most would agree that in the tight job market that exists today, this is an incredible job offer for anyone. Opportunities like this are few and very far between for most people that we support here at Community Involvement Programs, but Russell’s new position as an Ink Jet Assistant at Daily Printing Inc., just might fall into that hard-to-find dream job category for him. Russell’s story drives Employment Advocates to set the bar high and to continue foraging for those great job matches on behalf of the individuals that we support.