Sunday, July 29, 2007

No plan, no progress

So there you are: middle aged, maybe a couple of kids, unemployed, no solid work history, and no real prospects. You need a job that will pay enough to support your family - pay the rent, electric, gas, phone, clothes, transporation. Standing in your way is the application, the interview, and the structure to keep getting to work, day after day, to keep that job. What you need is a plan. But you you've never been able to figure that part out. You can make it up, but you've tried that before. You can talk to your friends, but many of them are in the same position - needing to get ahead but not sure how.

Metropolitan Career Center gives people the tools to create a plan. At MCC, training is not just about job skills. Instructors, employment advisors, and case managers help students understand how to plan for normal days: getting the kids off to school or day care, catching the bus that gets to work before the start of a shift, having a clean uniform. MCC also trains people to plan for the un-normal days: when school is closed, SEPTA is on strike or the bus is late, or when you just don't feel like going in on a rainy day.

Without a plan - for normal days and challenging days - people who have struggled with staying on the job may fall back to familiar habits. Meaning: stay home, knowing the next step is to look for a new job. Of course, no plan is fool-proof, and the most important element is always the implementation. So when a former student finds him/herself falling away from the plan, he or she can call the coach - at MCC - for some one-to-one work to get back on track with the plan.

Your donation will help MCC's coaches keep students and graduates on the plan and on the job.

Sunday, July 29 is exactly 16 weeks before November 18 and the Philadelphia Marathon. Monday, I begin a 16-week training program from my virtual friends at Runner's World Magazine. The folks at the magazine worked with ten top marathon training coaches to create rookie training plans that include the common and best elements of each coach's individual plans. For an overall view of the approach to marathon training, try this article.

Although I have had a general "plan" for the marathon, based on reading and my short experience in triathlons, I know I need a structured, specific plan to make sure I get to the starting line, ready and confident, November 18.

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