As I near the end of my practicum, one of my many worries is that I won’t be able to find a job in mediation. After all, things are stacked up against me in a way. Being 24 years old, without a law degree, very little mediation experience, I feel that I am a little behind the eight ball. As I search for hints and suggestions to get in field, I am bombarded with this lack luster advice, “Don’t quit your day job.” You mean to tell me after I have experienced the power of mediation, and chomping at the bit to get out and bring the power to the people I won’t have a line of people waiting for me to change their life? It was quite a sobering feeling, one I’m sure many of you have felt.
With the amount of people looking for advice, it seems many people are in the same spot. The call to mediate is a noble one. I can see why it is attractive to many people. Lets face it, everyone here wants it to be the guy (or girl) that their friends turn to for help, and help solve their problems. This could be a reason mediation has not taken off like many would like. With the influx of trainees, many don’t take the next step, or don’t enter into a mediation whole-heartedly. Others may not monitor the performance and think of ways to improve. When a mediocre product is put out it shows, and unfortunately it negatively effects the entire field.
Thankfully the training I have received in the last year and a half has already reaped some benefits. Once graduation comes around in December, I will be on a hunt to get into the business. (Any pointers or tips will greatly be appreciated) I am excited to gain experience, and find my place in the field. One of the greatest part of ADR is that it not limited to mediations, but many other fields. There are many unfulfilled niches ready to be served. This is where my journey is taking me.
Feel free to reply with any stories about your start into mediation
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You are in an excellent position from my perspective. As opposed to being behind the 8 ball, you are actually out in front on the table with more options than you probably realize. This is a great place to be since you can make decisions that will move you forward. Even if you experience temporary setbacks, you can recover quickly and try new ideas.
Your assets are numerous including your lovely wife as your partner, your age, your personality, the MS degree and your life and work experience. The journey ahead may seem long;however, it can be navigable and enjoyable with a career and financial plan in hand. Set career, financial and long term family goals, and you will find that the road ahead is full of fun, adventure and notable experiences. I empathize that there is always uncertainty when dealing with the unknown;however, every obstacle can be overcome if you set your mind to it.
Finally, I would say that jumping in with both feet in whatever you pursue will change your perspective and present different opportunities and challenges to you. Before you know it, you will look back and realize with joy and humility what you have accomplished.
I think keeping this in mind will help you as you start your journey. As Bernie Meyer states in his titled book, we need to move "Beyond Neutrality." We don't have to abandon our mediator roles, but there is no reason to limit ourselves either. I think John's recent blog post illustrates this wonderfully.
Best of luck!