#MissionMonday - Emily

Every Monday, we'll be posting a new story of how our mission has assisted people in the community. Be sure to check back each week for a new and inspirational story of someone who was helped by Goodwill Manasota. Changing lives through the power of work...it's what we do.

EmilyEmily says she remembers experiencing anxiety for most of her life.  She was always uncomfortable around people but it wasn’t until she was in her 20’s that she noticed feeling more than just nervous. Highly intelligent, Emily always did well in school. She graduated high school with honors, went on to get a Bachelor’s degree, and even spent time in law school. All the while, she was growing increasingly anxious and unable to focus. Then, traumatic events in her personal life caused these feelings to intensify. Her family worried to the point they felt she should be hospitalized. She hated the hospital and eventually was able to get released with legal help. 

Emily says the next fifteen years were a blur.  She was diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses, was in and out of hospitals, never by choice, and received a variety of treatments and medications. Between inpatient stays, she held jobs that ranged from retail associate to para-legal, but none of the jobs lasted. At one point, she lost her job, but for months pretended to leave for work and come home at the same time each day so her family would think she was still working. During this time, she would drive around, relaxing, taking in the scenery, and thinking. She believes this time off to think was one of the things that helped her the most.

Gradually, she began to learn how to cope and not worry so much about other people. Eventually she found medical treatment that worked. She thinks another thing that helped was simply maturing with age. Emily finally reached the point where she felt confident and ready for a full time job - even though that would mean giving up her Social Security benefits.

Emily made finding a job her mission. She worked hard at it but no one would hire her. She didn’t blame business owners for not taking a chance on her. She knew her resume was erratic and left hiring managers with questions. She decided she needed help with her job search, and in addition to other resources, she made her way to Goodwill’s Job Connection.

The Job Connection Team provided Emily with jobs leads. They made calls on her behalf and helped her work on her resume and interview skills.  But still, she remained unemployed. Emily’s sister was also a Job Connection customer and the Team helped her to get a job. Her sister’s success encouraged Emily to keep trying.

One day, the Job Connection Career Development Facilitator told Emily about a vacancy at Goodwill - but it was only part-time. Emily was positive that even if she started in an entry-level position, that job would give her the opportunity to show she was a good worker and she would be able to move up. The Job Connection Team worked with Goodwill’s HR Team and encouraged them to hire Emily. They believed, as did Emily, that all she needed was a chance to prove herself.   HR agreed and Emily got the job!

Emily enjoyed her work accepting donations. She liked staying busy and thought about the stories behind some of the items that she processed. Her new GoodPartner Coach worked with her and explained the GoodPartner program as well as all the other opportunities at Goodwill. They came up with a goal plan together and her GPC enrolled her in the GoodwillWorks program to start of the process of becoming a certified Role Model Worker. Emily’s Team Leader Coach attested that Emily was deserving of the title and she became certified in record time. 

During this time, she was moved from part-time to full-time. This move was big! It meant Emily was now eligible for benefits, including health insurance. She loved what she was doing but was still waiting patiently for that opportunity to move up in the organization.

Her TLC was aware of Emily’s goal and was impressed with her dedication and work skills.  She was excited to tell Emily when a position in a Goodwill bookstore opened up and asked if she wanted it. Emily was delighted! She felt it was a perfect job for her and it would give her a chance to learn more about Goodwill and show off her other skills. She was on a roll! What next? Within months, Emily was promoted again! This time to a key holder position. In less than a year and a half, she had moved from part-time to full-time to sales associate and now to key holder! 

Right now, Emily is focused on learning all she can in her new position. She is grateful to Goodwill for giving her a chance and to the people, like her TLC, who saw her potential and helped her along the way. Now she feels ready to take the next step up the ladder. Her GPC put her in touch with the Learning and Development Team who explained Goodwill’s Leadership Development Program. She’s already submitted the application to participate and gotten back favorable responses. During a recent conversation about her employment goals, her GPC asked her how far she planned to go at Goodwill. Emily smiled and responded, “All I can say is, our CEO better watch out!”

You go, Emily!  We can’t wait to see what you do next!