Jen's story

Jen at marketI’d trained to be a teacher but felt like I’d been bullied out of my teaching job. I was unemployed for three months before I found a really low income job that gave me only twelve hours a week on minimum wage as a barrista serving coffee. Then I was unemployed again.

My brother was in hospital with cancer. At the same time my gran wasn’t very well and had a stroke, and on top of that my auntie’s dementia was getting worse. So aside from dealing with all that stress I was thinking, ‘I don’t have anyone to offload to’ because I didn’t want to add to everyone’s stress.

At that point I just really wanted a job. I didn’t particularly care what it was. As long as it was a job that paid enough to keep me in my flat.

I saw an ad on Facebook for the coaching service and signed up because I thought it could help me find a job. When I had that first phone call with my coach, Denise, I was a bit on edge. I wasn’t sure whether she was going to judge me. I get paranoid that people will think I’m lazy because I don’t have a job. Once I got my head around the fact that she’s not there to judge me, she’s there to help, it was easier.

My first call with Denise was about what I’ve done in the past, what I’ve enjoyed, what ideas I had about the field I wanted to go into. It was helpful having someone to listen, who could say ‘actually, you’re really good at that.’ Denise can point out what you’re good at even when you can’t see it yourself.

Even though we had scheduled appointments I could text Denise and ask to move our appointment up saying ‘I’m having a really tough time.’ It was the compassion and knowing she cared about what was going on in the rest of my life which you just don’t get at the Job Centre. They just push applications your way and they really couldn’t care less if you’re sat there crying.

When I got off the phone after my sessions I felt kind of light. Like a weight had been lifted.

I put my CV in for the feedback service too. Things got a lot easier after that because it was so much more streamlined and clearer to read. I saw this part time job regenerating the local market and when I sent my brand new CV in they invited me for an interview. In the interview I was offered the job on the spot!

My proudest moment was seeing the Christmas market going really well. That was my responsibility. It was just so brilliant – everyone was telling me how great it was!

Coaching has totally, totally changed how I think about the future. I’m far from being the same person that I was when I started it. Before I tried to act confident but I wasn’t really confident in myself, definitely not professionally. Now I am.