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What we can all learn from the Paralympics….

What we can all learn from the Paralympics….The Diary of an Employable Blogaholic returns…

Over the weekend I had gone out for a few well earned beers. It has been a busy few weeks for both TheEmployable and Startacus and having attended (as much as possible) the CultureTECH festival in Derry, the thought of writing new articles for both websites, was a tough call.

A dodgy ankle and not too much exercise, means that over the last few weeks, I have put on a few pounds! I bemoaned my shirts – either they had all shrunk or I had (99% probably) grown. Looks, however much we try to ignore them, do matter to us all. It’s not helped by glorifying looks over content, and in a celebrity celebrated world, it is understandable that we cherish our appearance so much.

The next morning and struggling to know what to write, I turned on C4 and started to watch the Paralympics. As I had been rather busy, and also faced with a slight Olympics overload, I had not really fully gotten into the Paralympics thus far. 20 seconds later, I was transfixed and also rather embarrassed.

Ellie Simmonds, one of Britain’s leading swimmers, was currently leading her swimming heat. Ellie aged 17, has an MBE. Ellie was also born with a form of Dwarfism, and she swims as if she was born to swim. I was immediately proud of Ellie’s achievements, leading from the front, and it also gave me a sudden kick up the ass. Me with a slightly dodgy ankle complaining of how my shirt was too tight, the obvious answer is to do something about it! Ellie, and I would guess most of the Olympians, don’t look at any disability (I apologise if this is the wrong term) as a barrier to achieving greatness.

What has this to do with TheEmployable you may ask. Well… all of us bemoan at some point our career prospects, and our job opportunities. We blame others; the economy, the government, the school, the career advisor, the interview questions, the recruitment consultant…

How often do we look at ourselves? What can we do to better ourselves and perhaps our career prospects. Ellie spends nine, two hour swimming sessions a week, training to achieve her goals, which is to be (I hope) a Paralympic champion (again). How long do you spend, training yourself to become as employable as possible?

There is also a lesson, I believe in this post for career advisors, recruitment managers, and interview panels. How often do we, and unintentionally I would suggest, look at the cosmetics of an interview or even a job application. We look for words, style, appearance, a smile, an image – we call it ‘company fit’ but in reality it could be perceived as measuring style and image, over content.

Ellie, like all athletes, is an ambassador to all of us. It is not a lesson of what is possible – it is a lesson of what we all need to still do, to achieve our goals. Whether this is to lose a few pounds or find a new job, don’t let yourself or your own expectations down.

Oh by the way, If everyone could spend 1 minute voting for TheEmployable Blog post ‘Wayne Hemingway – A Master of Class in Career Advice’ – we are in the mix for the ‘Best Blog Post – People’s Choice’ award for the Blog Awards Ireland 2012… that would be fab…



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