A Journey Rather Than a Miracle
Through the accompaniment of her friends in Ergon, Ellynore has come to "see as the other sees." It has changed her approach to her boss, her work, and the value of engaging her circumstances.
Last year I started participating in calls about work which I found very interesting. Eventually there was a presentation on the calls regarding the Ergon Professional Hub. It sounded incredible that at a time when people were getting laid off left and right, there was a group of people in the charism of Communion and Liberation that would walk with people. That at such a crucial juncture, while the majority of the country’s unemployed face isolation, the people at Ergon would be accompanied on a personal level by managers, directors, and leaders in their field seemed like a Godsend.
There is a respect for a person’s "I" and their freedom in this group. One of the things that is said within the group is that the initiative comes from the mentee and the mentor supports them. It’s not about saving people from themselves and their lives, but rather about journeying with them to face a challenging time in life. There is an emphasis on work and the person.
I volunteered for this perhaps a little too idealistically, which I’m prone to. I even created a little powerpoint full of my idealism/faith/religiosity (however you want to put it)--well meant and put together with prayer--which I presented to the Ergon founders in a small meeting that they held.
My first attempt to volunteer in skills development didn’t work because the senior person who was leading moved out of the country and I declined to lead because I was too junior in the field. In that area, I was prepared to follow, not lead. I was then asked by the core team to follow the mentors and mentees along with three other volunteers, and I realized this was something that I really wanted to do. Following isn’t managing, but a desire to see as the other sees and help provide what I can. Surprisingly, the skillset that I have acquired working in a coordinating site/operations center for clinical trials helps with following mentors and mentees.
The first fruit I have seen in my life is that when I find myself in a difficult situation at work, I know immediately where I can turn for help, which is this community. It lessens fear as well as brings gratitude.
I have learned that criticisms at work I don’t want to hear may be the most valuable moments in my working life to listen and grow. At the same time, I am learning not to underestimate myself in the job market because others sometimes see something that I can’t see and are even willing to bet on it with an introduction, for which I’m grateful. I discover who I am in relation to my boss, my colleagues, the mentors, and my community and what it takes to build something both in Ergon and in my employment.
Another fruit is in the growing knowledge of who I am as a worker. Fr. José put it well at a volunteer meeting: work is about growing in knowledge and building. I have become aware of the value of choosing a journey instead of wishing for a miracle--what would happen if the perfect job were just handed to me, sparing me any struggle. In choosing a journey, I may or may not get the perfect job, but I grow in honest awareness of my identity and live the difference between being accompanied and facing work alone. Through this accompaniment at Ergon, I am choosing this journey. I trust that this whole set of circumstances is in the hands of Another and that whatever struggles I have by choosing a journey instead of a miracle I can offer for those I love.
Ellynore, Los Angeles, California
Editor's Note: Ergon will host its next online seminar on the topic "The Job Prospects for New Graduates in Social and Biomedical Sciences" on Thursday, October 15 at 8 p.m. You may register here.