#MissionMonday - Otto

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.

These past two months have been challenging for job seekers. The pandemic has required everyone – including Otto – to adjust to the new realities of the workplace. Otto had been working for an entertainment company, constructing stages for monster truck shows. COVID-19 had a major impact on the entertainment industry, since large public gatherings were no longer taking place. When his company shut down all their tours, they furloughed most of their workers.


Otto still needed to work, though. He and his wife had just welcomed a new baby into the world and Otto was the primary breadwinner for the family.


Otto went to Turning Points in Bradenton to see if he could find another job. He learned that there were still openings in some sectors of the construction industry but it was going to be hard for him to interview for those jobs. Unfortunately, Otto had no computer experience and he had just learned that, nowadays, people in most industries need to know how to interview online.


Kathy is Goodwill’s Career Development Facilitator at Turning Points. When she met Otto, she told him that the Job Connection could help him prepare for virtual interviews. Otto was glad to hear that since he had no idea how prepare for or conduct a Zoom interview. Nonetheless, he had excellent project management skills from his previous job and Kathy told him he would be in demand in the construction field, if he could just get in front of a prospective employer. She told him she was going to help him do just that.


Kathy and Otto talked about what happens in a virtual interview. She explained that an interview by teleconference is nothing more than a face-to-face interview that just happens to take place on a computer. Job seekers would still need to research the company ahead of time, prepare thoughtful questions for the employer, dress for success, make eye contact with the interviewer and make sure the interviewer has a reliable phone number in case they get disconnected.


Now that Otto had a few tips in his back pocket, he was feeling better about the prospect of a video interview and began applying for positions in the construction field. It did not take long before he got an invitation for a virtual interview with a company that was taking on a major infrastructure and expansion project. Even though Governor DeSantis had issued a stay-at-home order, the construction industry was an essential service. The company Otto was going to interview with was hurriedly preparing for Super Bowl LV, which will take place in Tampa in 2021. The employer needed contractors to work simultaneously on multiple building projects to complete the first phase of a 22- acre project by February 2021.


Once the employer gave Otto a date and time to Zoom, Otto began working with Kathy prepare for the interview. He came to the office three days prior to the interview and every day thereafter to work with Kathy so he could learn how to set up and participate in this new way of conducting a job interview.


On the day of the interview, Otto came into the Turning Points Job Connection office four hours in advance so he and Kathy could check the internet connection and download the virtual meeting tools. The only problem was that the office at Turning Points was full of activity and noise. Otto was worried that he would not do well on the virtual interview because of the distracting environment. Kathy got permission to move the interview to the conference room, which would be much quieter. Finally, Otto felt prepared for his first Zoom.


The call came in as planned and Otto connected with the employer. He remembered all the tips Kathy had provided and the interview went well. In fact, it lasted close to an hour. Otto was pleased there had been no malfunctions. He was even happier to hear about the ambitious development plans going on in Tampa. He knew about some of the preparation for next year’s Super Bowl thanks to the research he did prior to the interview. The employer confirmed that there was a wide array of opportunities now available to construction workers. Otto came back to Kathy’s Job Connection office with a big smile on his face. He told her that if he got the position, he would be working a mile from Raymond James Stadium. That would be a bit of a commute from Bradenton but he did not mind. He just wanted to get back to work.


The next day, Otto received a job offer. He was proud to report to Kathy that he will have a part in helping to transform Tampa’s infrastructure in his new role as a project manager for a large roofing company. Otto is so grateful that Kathy had the knowledge to support him in these ever-changing times. It’s what we do …