Armchair Actions

Armchair Actions

Have you noticed our collective resistance to analog? To real life experiences? To face to face connection?

As we become more comfortable with digital devices and processes in our lives, we get used to the convenience they bring. On the flip side, we can become uncomfortable, and even annoyed, with things that take more than a few clicks to accomplish.

We sometimes hear about armchair activism. Instead of marching for our rights, we retweet a hashtag and call it a day. This gets flagged - it simply isn’t enough to incite change in our communities.

It’s not enough for a job search either.

I use the OneLifeTools web application, Online Storyteller, to help my clients create exploration plans. Once they’ve gone through a clarification process, based on a narrative approach, they begin to explore and take baby steps towards possibilities.

Built into the tool are three options for taking inspired action on a plan. The first is ‘On Your Own’. This option is performed solo and can involve lots of digital actions. Clients can do research, from their armchairs and laptops, into a particular occupation, for example. They can find some meet-ups in a field they are curious about. They can connect with potential mentors on LinkedIn.

The other two options encourage clients to get out from behind their screens. ‘Field Research’ refers to things like informational interviews or getting coffee with a trusted ally.

It’s right there in the name, we ask clients to get out in the field.

The third option, ‘In The Community’, refers to actions like volunteering, job shadowing and attending social and networking events. The goal is immersion. Both of these options typically lead to in-person interactions.

This is where you hear from real people about what their jobs are really like. This is where you get a taste for a particular role, or realize you are completely not willing to pursue it. This is where clients often hesitate to venture. Sometimes even picking up the phone to call and ask for the right person to address a cover letter to is tough for some clients.

We are so used to getting what we need with a few clicks.

This often gets overlooked. Especially if we’re in a job loss situation where our normal, daily routine is gone, and we literally see less humans in the run of our day. We don’t notice how isolated we are because we have Instagram at our fingertips.

This is why I love this small but mighty part of the Online Storyteller tool. In one snapshot, I can point out that a client only has 'On Your Own' actions on their plan, and invite them to add more steps that fit under the Field Research and Community options too. This tool amplifies my voice of support as a helping professional, and it supports the client to make informed choices about which actions will be the most impactful.

How do you encourage clients to take more than armchair actions? I’d love to learn more in the comments below!

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