CompassPoint Mentorship - Module on Life Lessons


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Hamza Jaka, co-founder of Global Connections, shares his insights growing up as a disabled individual in this module about personal growth, life lessons and working hard.

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CompassPoint Mentorship - Module on Life Lessons

  1. 1.       Guest Module – Hamza Jaka on Life Lessons Guest writer – Hamza Jaka
  2. 2. Background and Biography <ul><li>American Association of People with Disabilities Summer Intern - Dept of Labor. I wrote policy, helped organize a conference on small business, minorities and disability. </li></ul><ul><li>Global Connection - I founded my own non-profit (soon to be incorporated), that provides leadership training and resources to young people with disabilities in Pakistan. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Background and Biography cont. <ul><li>Adaptive Community Approach Program : from 2006 to 2010, I served as an actor, writer, costume designer, set designer, and recruiter. </li></ul><ul><li>Kids as Self Advocates - I ’m a member of KASA’s advisory Board, and write tipsheets, and articles for young people with disabilities, and speak across the country on behalf of KASA. </li></ul><ul><li>I was also a participant in the 2010 Youth Ability Summit , where I helped create the concept for “The Silver Scorpion” a comic book character with a disability. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Hey guys, as I’m not a regular member of CompassPoint, I feel I owe you an introduction. My name is Hamza Jaka, and I’m a sophomore at UC Berkeley. I’m a person with a disability who uses a wheelchair, and I was Carl and Varun’s floormate this past year. I’ve done a lot of work in the non profit sector, primarily under disability and have now started work on some environmental stuff. I’m co-chair of the advisory board of Kids As Self Advocates, the nation’s largest youth run disability rights groups, and have served as a US Dept. of Labor intern, and currently work as Board Member of the Berkeley Student Cooperative. Carl asked me to give ya’ll some of the life lessons I’ve learned as a person with a disability, in hopes that these would help you guys succeed. I’ll do my best. </li></ul>      Module # Introduction
  5. 5.   Tip 1: Every Action You Make is Being Observed   
  6. 6. <ul><li>This is not Intended to scare you! </li></ul><ul><li>Big Brother is not (well, excepting Google) watching you. </li></ul><ul><li>I’ve always gotten stared at and looked at oddly since my birth, but I’ve begun to notice in the work world that everyone always observes what you ’re doing. </li></ul><ul><li>This isn’t to say that people always going to breathe down your neck, and judge you on every little action you make, but be aware that public places are, just that, public places. </li></ul><ul><li>I’ve had friends get fired because of comments they made in bathrooms or on trains. Key lesson: If you feel like you shouldn’t do something, don’t (at least in public). </li></ul>      Module # Tip 1: Every Action you Make is Being Watched
  7. 7. <ul><li>Well, that’s not true, a resume, grades and extracurriculars will always matter, as they show people what you’ve done and frame you as a professional or as a student </li></ul><ul><li>But what really matters is who you are. Most employers and interviewers judge you , not based on your resume, or in the case of admissions to college, your transcripts, but the part of you that makes you unique. </li></ul><ul><li>Now for me, I’ve always faced an obstacle in that I have a very visible disability, something that scares many employers and people away from getting to know me , and I’m sure you all have skeleton’s in the closet, and often feel like sticking to an image is best, but if I stuck to an image, I wouldn’t have gotten into Cal or gotten a Washington placement. I didn’t let my disability scare people, in fact, I was frank about it, and my life . I showed positivity and humor, both huge pluses </li></ul><ul><li>Here’s the truth : You make your own image, it’s why colleges have personal statements, and why there ’s an interview before every job hiring takes place. </li></ul><ul><li>People want to see whether you have the drive, the skills and the genuine heart to do a job or study at certain school. </li></ul><ul><li>Never underestimate yourself : Be real, honest and professional. You are the best! </li></ul>      Tip 2: What Matters is you,, not your resume
  8. 8.     Tip 3: Humility, It’s important, But Not What You Think 
  9. 9. <ul><li>Ah, Humility. It and I have such a checkered past. As a kid with a disability, I was always told to keep my mouth shut and be humble, always downplaying everything I did. As a consequence, I rebelled against anything and everything that had to do with humility. I constantly ran my mouth, had an answer for everything, and truly believed I was the greatest thing since sliced bread. </li></ul><ul><li>When I showed up for work in Washington, however, I started to realize that I didn’t have the answer for everything, and often was at a loss on how to do my work. When this happened, I clammed up, and basically made excuses when asked about my lack of progress . After about the second week of this, I was pulled aside by my boss and colleagues, who explained to me gently, and firmly that my actions would hurt me later in life . </li></ul><ul><li>I ’ve always been a pretty blue collar guy, doing what I say I’d do, in spite of my tendencies to shoot my mouth off, and they encouraged me to show that side of myself. </li></ul><ul><li>Through this, I began to realize something, the humility that I ’d hated so much wasn ’ t clamming up, and it wasn’t right to shoot my mouth off every five seconds. Humility meant taking pride in my accomplishments, speaking when I could, but also recognizing a chain of command and opportunities to learn in the workplace, and also realizing that not having the answers was okay. </li></ul><ul><li>After all, no one knows everything. </li></ul>    Humility: It’s Important, But it’s Not What You Think  
  10. 10. <ul><li>On Opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Take any opportunity you feel like you could benefit from. It really does make a difference. </li></ul><ul><li>My journey began like this: actor, community advocate, national advocate, random coincidence in Pakistan (my family asked me to visit a school, and I got involved on an international level), Syria (with a comic book), Berkeley and then DC. </li></ul><ul><li>Hell, I wasn ’t even sure why I picked each of those opportunities, but I did, and they led to a lot of things happening for me. </li></ul><ul><li>On Homework: </li></ul><ul><li>No! Not Homework, no one likes it! </li></ul><ul><li>Relax, I mean research every opportunity you choose to take, especially those you ’re serious about. People at high levels will ask and expect answers (I’ve messed up many an interview by being unprepared) </li></ul><ul><li>Don ’t research obsessively, but have an approach for meetings and even casual conversation. Being prepared makes a difference. </li></ul>    Seize any Opportunity & Do Your Homework! 
  11. 11. The End! <ul><li>Thanks for listening, I hope these tips help you ( I know my tips may not work for everyone). </li></ul><ul><li>My email is [email_address] </li></ul>