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How to have engaging conversations about work

To help people talk about work, use these simple conversation tips.

When you talk about work, avoid questions that are likely to result in a yes/no answer. Instead, try open-ended questions. For example:

  • What jobs have you had in the past?
  • What was your favorite job? Why?

For people with work experience:

  • What was your favorite job?
  • What did you enjoy most about the job? Why?
  • If you could find a job like that again, would you be interested in going back to work? Why not?
  • What concerns do you have about working?
  • What did you like the least about working? Why? 

For people without work experience:

  • What are some things you like to do?
  • How do you spend your spare time?
  • What types of activities do you do during the day?
  • What are some of your hobbies?
  • What are some of the things that you're good at?
  • Do you know someone who has a job that
    you might be interested in?
  • Have you seen anyone doing a job that you think you'd like?

For example, you might say:

  • If you had been able to flex your work schedule and come in at 9 in the morning instead of 7, that would have worked better for you?

For example, you might say:

  • Yes, you might get less money on your SSI check, but what if you had $60 more to spend each month if you work?
  • What would you buy or do with the extra money?
  • What if I told you that you can work and still keep health benefits to pay for your medicine and doctor visits?
  • Tell me what you might be willing to do.

You might:

  • Use the Disability Benefits 101 live chat feature to ask some of the person's questions so they hear it from another source.
  • Use a benefits planning estimator to show the person what might happen to their bottom line if they go back to work or continue their education.
  • Navigate to the youth and families section to find specific tips for parents.
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