Friday, December 11, 2015

When Failure is Not an Option

By Employment Services Manager Constance Taylor

Lanette’s life took a spiral turn for the worse after interviewing and waiting for 2 weeks to report to a new job and discovering that they had hired someone else. It never entered her mind that she would hear the words, we couldn’t wait and we had to hire someone else immediately.  Now she had no income and she and her three boys had to go to a homeless shelter.

In our interview she discussed her past poor choices openly and convinced our team that failure was not an option. She was definitely motivated and ready to move forward. Her barriers were overwhelming but we knew she would do well because of the   compelling discussion concerning the goals she set for herself and her family. She was honest about the past mistakes that landed her in prison and was determined to take the steps necessary to improve her future. It was not the jail stay that changed her mind but her desire to become independent and self-sufficient. She wanted to work a professional career, earn a livable wage, dwell in a nice home, and care for her family. She won the battle against alcoholism and was ready to put the pieces back together.

She told me one day, “My boys are watching me and I have no choice but to make this work.” She hit the ground running. Every morning she would come to the lab ready to go: dressed for an interview, her hair well groomed, and a big smile on her face.

We discussed that networking would be her best asset. She went to every job fair, every felon-friendly assistance program, and tons of community events. Lanette did everything possible for a person with her background to secure employment. She knew she had to work ten times harder than the next person. She came to the job lab every day and attended the life skills and budgeting classes. She meets with her Case Manager and also receives encouragement from the Mental Wellness Manager.

She was not afraid or opposed to taking baby steps but knew she needed a good job to cover her family’s monthly expenses. She went to interviews each week repeating her story of defeat and remorse. 

The day finally came when she told me that she had landed a position making $13.65 as a customer service representative. Not only is she feeling self-sufficient again, but she has regained her self-esteem and sense of purpose. Her sons and Community LINC were the motivation and support she needed to regain her independence.