Chris’s Perseverance Helped Him Secure Employment
“I’ve done a lot of different things over the years, but I never really found something that I stuck with for a long period of time,” said Chris, who struggled with maintaining employment due to his mental health.
While at Zumbro Valley Health Center, Chris was referred to Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota’s (GESMN) Individualized Placement and Support (IPS) service . “I decided to give it a try,” Chris said. He connected with his career navigator Mike, who helped him with resume building and preparing for interviews.
“It’s been nice having the extra support,” Chris continued. “Mike helped me prepare for interviews by going over questions the interviewer might ask. He also reminded me that it’s okay to be nervous and anxious. Overall, he [Mike] has been really supportive of me. I feel like he actually listens to my feedback and tries to find jobs that would be a good fit for me.”
Chris secured employment as a brand associate at Old Navy where he helps with store price changes and floor sets. “I probably wouldn’t be working right now if it wasn’t for Mike,” Chris said. His responsibilities include ensuring correct pricing on all store signage, placing new inventory on the sales floor, assembling displays and dressing mannequins.
“Getting out of the house and getting to know other people has been my favorite part about work. A lot of my issues make it hard for me to function when I’m left alone with my thoughts, so having something to do like getting displays set up correctly or making sure everything is in its proper place has been a good distraction for me,” Chris continued. “[My managers and coworkers] have been really understanding and helpful. Good fits are out there; you just have to be patient until you find the right job for you.”
“Chris’s persistence is what I’m most proud of him for,” said Mike. “If something didn’t work out, we’d meet the following week and keep moving forward. He didn’t give up because something was frustrating.”
Chris’s advice to others “would be to know what you’re looking for and stick with it. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, that’s what the IPS worker is there to help you figure out – what works with your schedule and needs.”
“I’m looking forward to continuing my work with the [IPS] program. I want to continue developing my skills with Mike, like advocating for myself more and working to maintain employment.”
Learn more about GESMN’s IPS services here.