The early months of 2020 were a rude awakening to the challenges that the next year would bring for everyone, and things were no different for Vanessa. In January, she was dismissed from her position as an office assistant; in February, she contracted what she believes in retrospect was likely COVID-19; and then in March, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I was very fearful,” Vanessa says, recounting the various challenges she’s faced. “I searched for jobs, but with COVID exploding, I needed to use the pandemic assistance that gave me the opportunity to help my mom since her doctors were in South Carolina. I was terrified; I didn’t want to go anywhere.”
Eventually Vanessa decided “well, I have to do something!” and began looking for a new job. “I was at the unemployment office when I saw this peppy young woman bouncing around introducing herself–Alicia–and I thought to myself, ‘what was she promoting?’” That something ended up being StepUp Wilmington, and after learning more about the services offered, Vanessa decided she had to be a part of the program.
“When you reach a certain stage in your life, you think you know things… when you actually have no idea [laughs]. I’d just started to scratch the surface. Bruce was my Talent Manager for a bit and then Ashley became my coach. Even though we never met face to face because of COVID, we’re kindred spirits. She was so open and honest and encouraging. she listens to me be chatty cathy all the time [laughs]!”
“Whenever I felt overwhelmed and felt like I needed a break from the job search, Ashley would still check up on me and my wellbeing. And in September when I got the notice that my unemployment was running out and I was applying for jobs left and right, Ashley was right there ‘pounding the pavement’ looking for work with me.” Eventually, a friend of Vanessa’s told her about a housekeeping position at Dosher Memorial Hospital. “I remember Ashley telling me that even though it may not be the dream job at the moment, I’d at least have my foot in the door.”
According to Vanessa, even after securing the job, Ashley continued to be a coach and to be sympathetic to her frustrations with the position. And when her supervisor told Vanessa that she had to be in the department a year before she could transfer to a different one, Ashley told her to apply for the transfer anyway. “I applied for the Patient Access Coordinator job, and my supervisor suddenly approved the transfer! I don’t know why they didn’t tell me I could do that before!”
“I feel like with the transition from banking to the medical field, people would assume that they have nothing to do with one another, but they do! It’s a customer service aspect. At the end of the day, it’s about making people feel safe and that they’re in a good place and capable hands. Same thing with banking and money. Without people, you don’t have a job. So many places don’t realize that.”
Secured in her new job, Vanessa says that she’d give StepUp Wilmington “two very enthusiastic thumbs up!” “Everybody deserves a fair chance regardless of where you come from or what you did. Everyone deserves that second chance. It’s easy to get discouraged–to feel like you have no place you can turn. But everybody deserves a fair chance regardless of where they come from, and StepUp Wilmington gives you that. It’s a treasure… truly.”
If you’re someone who’s found your job search challenging, regardless of your level of experience, contact us at StepUp Wilmington to learn how you can find a job that fits your needs and your passions!