Searching for Direction
Since leaving the military in the capacity of Cook/Reservist in the Canadian Armed Forces, Scott had not held paid employment for 16 years. He tried working part time at a couple of retail shops, but began experiencing challenges with maintaining his mental health and wellness and, for various reasons, had to leave.
Although Scott has extensive hearing loss in both ears, he does pretty well at reading lips and making a point of maintaining eye contact when speaking to you so that he can be sure to respond to your questions and engage in conversation quite easily. Scott has a hard time standing or sitting for extended periods because of knee problems, but is able to wade in the river to fish with his dad or walk around town bottle picking to supplement his disability benefits.
In 2013, Scott came to the WorkBC Employment Services Centre in Squamish with a renewed desire to work and in hopes of earning some extra income in order to supplement his disability benefits. Scott met with a case manager, who helped him develop a resume and referred him to a Job Search workshop, where he learned the basics of searching for work using relevant labour market information and targeted strategies. Scott was then connected with Sheila,* a Job Placement Specialist, in order to further identify his strengths and support him in being prepared for interviews. Sheila and Scott worked together to determine a realistic job target along with the hours and shifts Scott could be available for work.
A local grocery store was known to have a few regular positions which have clear set tasks that are very clearly defined and consistent. The best thing about these positions is that they require no cashier skills, which was a problem in Scott’s retail jobs. In addition to stocking and organizing shelves, the Stock Clerk position required basic customer service skills, such as assisting shoppers in locating products. This is Scott’s specialty; he prides himself on his ability to answer questions and direct people to services in his volunteer work at the library. Although there were no current openings, Sheila requested an interview with the store manager as a ‘practice run,’ hoping that the manager would keep Scott in mind if something came up in the future.
Preparing to be Surprised
On the day of the interview, Sheila met Scott in the parking lot and they did some last minute coaching. Scott was calm and prepared during the interview. The preparation paid off and the timing was perfect. It just so happened that another employee had given notice the day before and Scott was offered the job of Stock Clerk on the spot!
WorkBC provided financial support for Scott to purchase good shoes and appropriate pants for work. Scott now works 9:30-1:30, three days a week.
Scott is not on his own in his new work environment. He and Sheila meet every couple of weeks just to make sure everything is progressing well and to help work through any workplace frustrations and challenges.
Today, several months later, Scott says he still feels like he won the lottery and loves his new job at the grocery store. “The best thing,” says Scott, “Is that I can still go fishing in the afternoons!”
*Some names have been changed