After being laid off from a management job in a field I had worked in for 25 out of 40 years of retail sales, marketing and customer service, I was, to say the least, down and wondering where I would go from here. I felt the cards were stacked against me and would be lucky to find any kind of work as I was going on 60 years old.
Although I had the financial assistance to help me, I still felt a void and wanted to continue doing something. I have always worked and felt a sense of guilt just sitting around and not doing something productive. I was not ready for retirement yet, mentally or financially. Even though I was approved for disability, I still had the drive I had all my life and did not want to slow down.
I actually cut the Goodwill ad out of the classified ads in the paper. I had looked at it as a chance to get back to the one thing I was good at: retail sales. When I called and set an appointment I was unaware just what Goodwill had to offer. The SCSEP case manager instilled a confidence in me that gave me the courage to try a new field even at my age. As it worked out, she put me in touch with the Maine DHHS Office of Elder Services. I had an interview that afternoon and the rest is history.
Thanks to the confidence my caseworker had in me, the employer’s uplifting and positive training atmosphere and the patience of all involved, I have regained confidence and a feeling of self-worth; even at my age, I can still offer my years of experience. It is great at my age to still be asked for my input and ideas.
Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Maine DHHS have been an intricate part in my training and have given me that thing in life that all elder adults have probably wanted or needed: knowing you are still needed for something.
As I continue with my new field of employment, training and learning, I cannot stress strongly enough that the elder generation does have something to offer. Thanks to great organizations like Goodwill, we can all search out our something and be an active part of today’s world.