To Help Or to Refrain?
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05-05-2014, 03:03 AM
To Help Or to Refrain?
I've kind of already got the plan worked out in my head, but even so, I feel that maybe I should get some outside advice on this one, because it's still bothering me.

I recently took a "refresher" course for my personal training certification. Basically, every 2 years, I need to take a class that ensures I still know how to train a person properly and keep my certification active. Anyway, during this class, I met two people who are just trying to be personal trainers for the first time. Being experienced in this field, I've offered my help to both so that they could pass their exams and begin their careers. The guy passed his exams with flying colors and he and I have become the best of friends as a result. The woman, though…she's a different story.

Please keep in mind that this woman is autistic. I've not only deduced as much by interacting with her, but she's come out and told me herself. She's high-functioning, but there's a very obvious condition there which can't be ignored. This is important because, as she and I practiced every few days at the gym, she fumbled her way through the protocol and couldn't express herself fully. In this job, that's a very important thing to be able to do; particularly when trying to pass the practical exam, which involves personally training the fitness instructor who grades you on your overall performance. This woman (I'll call her "Edna", because she reminds me so much of Edna Mode from "The Incredibles") simply isn't able to be as outgoing as she needs to be. She can't interact as most of us can, and when under the hot light of scrutiny subjected by the instructor, her mind goes blank. I happened to be nearby as she carried out her practical exam and demonstrated a one-arm dumbbell row (targeting lats) when she should have been demonstrating a dumbbell kickback (targeting triceps). Needless to say, she failed the exam miserably, and told me later that she knew what was being said, but that she couldn't make the connection in her mind to carry out the proper task. In this job, that's a nail in the coffin. From my experience(s) with her, and from what I've seen and what she told me about her exam, she is simply not cut out for this job. I've been told, in confidence, that I'm not the only individual in the class who thought so.

(Please bear with me; I'm getting to a point)

Since she failed her exam, she's confided in me and asked me how it can be done. Now…I'm a bit of a man-hater, as Girly would call me. I don't like people on a moral level. But at the same time, I feel the need to help them when I can. So, I offered my assistance. Edna can retake her exam(s) as many times as needed until she passes, and I've told her that I'm more than willing to meet up with her to walk her through it. The thing is…I know she's not gonna make it. She doesn't have the mind for it, the drive for it, nor the physique for it. (I know that sounds unreasonable, but vanity is a very real thing in this job, and clients WILL judge you based on how you look. Edna is in full Female Triad - look up the meaning - and even the new trainers have stated that she'll never get hired by a gym. It's true; she won't) I'm already aware that she has no hope, here. Please don't misunderstand me; this isn't a statement on autistic or skinny or any other sort of person in general. It's simply that I know how these things work, and Edna is just not cut out for the job. She wants it badly. But it's simply not going to happen for her. I know this already.

Still, though, I've offered my help in getting her to her goal. But since doing that, I've begun to have my doubts. I've wondered whether or not I should be helping her. I've asked myself: Is it more cruel to help a person reach a goal I know they'll never achieve, or to tell them the brutal truth; that they'll never make it and that they need to give it up? I really hate this because it makes me sound so judgmental, but you have to trust me when I say it's not going to work. If it does, it'll be just short of a fucking miracle. She's such a sweet person and has such a strong desire to make the job, but I really, really can't say she's going to.

So, having already gone in to help her, am I doing the right thing? I feel like I want to keep helping her and if she fails, she fails and can keep working at Dollar Tree. But, at the same time, I feel like I'm only building her up and boosting her confidence, just to have her fall flat again and have her dream crushed. Then again, someone has also told me that maybe she'll find a new path as I help her to reach this goal, in which case, it'll all work out anyway.

Is what I'm doing wrong? Should I stop helping her, or keep encouraging what is surely to be a pipe-dream?

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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05-05-2014, 04:48 AM
RE: To Help Or to Refrain?
I think you should tell her your honest opinion; if she still wants to pursue her dream afterwards, you can continue helping her without having any regrets. Sleepy

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05-05-2014, 06:54 AM
RE: To Help Or to Refrain?
I believe you should tell her your honest opinion, and you should not help her in a probably hopeless task.

On the off-chance that she should succeed in passing, will she fail in the long term? Will she cause harm to clients?

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05-05-2014, 12:01 PM
RE: To Help Or to Refrain?
A couple questions, what is her eventual goal? Does she want to work with adults, or is she looking to work with special needs kids. The kids will be more forgiving.

Second, is the ability to be employed part of the exam, or is the exam just skill and knowledge?

If the exam is just skill and knowledge, then I would help, and let the odds of her landing an actual job rest on her shoulders.

To me the exam and landing a job are two different things.

Always be honest.


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05-05-2014, 12:20 PM
RE: To Help Or to Refrain?
Tell her ALL the facts as you see them before you start - including your opinion. If she still wants to go ahead - well - there is always a chance she will surprise you. Some people are slow to learn but perform well learned tasks with perfection.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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05-05-2014, 12:22 PM
RE: To Help Or to Refrain?
This is true where just tasks go, but the job requires adept verbal communication and relational skills.... something she would not be capable of right now.

A person very dear to me was badly hurt through a misunderstanding and miscommunication. For this, I am sorry, and he knows it. That said, any blaming me for malicious intent is for the birds. I will not wear some scarlet letter, I will not be anybody's whipping girl, and I will not lurk in silence.
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05-05-2014, 01:56 PM
RE: To Help Or to Refrain?
As a kid growing up so many people told me I can't, shouldn't, when I tried to fulfill my dreams. I have the stubbornness of a mule and I achieved my goals by ignoring what was said. Yes, there were setbacks but us mules find ways to overcome those and move forward. Do you really want to be a naysayer? Is that how you want her to remember you?
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05-05-2014, 03:13 PM
RE: To Help Or to Refrain?
And she just might luck out and find a job where they are willing to devote the time into developing the "personality" part of the job if she can get thru the skills and knowledge portion.

Maybe in a long term care facility, rehab center, etc. working under the guidance of a physical therapist rather than paying clients in a gym setting.


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06-05-2014, 04:17 AM
RE: To Help Or to Refrain?
(05-05-2014 12:01 PM)Bows and Arrows Wrote:  A couple questions, what is her eventual goal? Does she want to work with adults, or is she looking to work with special needs kids. The kids will be more forgiving.

Second, is the ability to be employed part of the exam, or is the exam just skill and knowledge?

If the exam is just skill and knowledge, then I would help, and let the odds of her landing an actual job rest on her shoulders.

To me the exam and landing a job are two different things.

Always be honest.

I'm definitely with bows on this one. Help her with the exam, since you already agreed to, then it's up to her to get herself a job.

And honesty is, of course, the best policy. Thumbsup

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06-05-2014, 08:48 PM
RE: To Help Or to Refrain?
A good point made was the difference between passing the exam and getting the job. They are definitely two different things.

I guess my main problem is that, honestly, there's a part of Miso that's a softie, and I don't want to build her up knowing that she's gonna fail. Even if she passes the exam(s), she's not gonna get the job. Or, at least, not the job she wants. (Others have mentioned the possibility of her working with special needs individuals. I could see her doing something like that)

I just wanna feel better about helping her do something when, after she fails, she could theoretically be justified in asking "Why didn't you stop me?"

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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