My Story: Allison Dees

In 2014 unexpectedly, my fiancée died tragically. He was the sole source of income for me and my four children. The shock and depression crippled me.

My mom, who is from Maryland, stayed with me for about nine months. We met with Greta [from Goodwill Industries of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana] and talked about computer classes and possibly working at the Goodwill store.

I hadn’t worked in several years and the thought of returning to work terrified me, especially combined all the responsibilities that now fell on me. Everyone was wonderful and sweet about helping me.

I started in Software and Internet Training (SIT) and paid Transitional Work experience on June 1, 2014. I was very quiet and scared; it was all new and challenging. Linda made it great though, less scary, she made me want to come back the next day. She seemed to understand without me having to say anything.

Greta was amazing too. She got the whole thing going to begin with, I felt like she believed in me, and I guess it had been a while since I had felt that way. Losing my fiancée made me into this scared, worried, depressed person. The classes gave me something else to focus on and took my mind off all the negative things, which was good. Linda helped me, was a great teacher, she made it seem easy the way she explained thing, even though Microsoft Access is still hard.

My days consisted of SIT in the morning and work in the afternoon. I started out just hanging every day in the back. I didn’t say very much to anyone at all. I remember thinking to myself in my head what I would say if I could get myself to talk, but I couldn’t bring myself to get involved in the conversations. I tried working the register but my comfort zone was in the back. Despite this, Anne, my supervisor, was supportive and helpful, and she seemed to silently understand me.

In December 2014, I was offered the opportunity to become a permanent staff member at the Goodwill store; I didn’t have to think, I was just so relieved and excited. I had been worried that when I finished the computer class, my Transitional Work experience would also end, and it did, but with a permanent job I’ve moved from working almost exclusively in the back hanging clothing to working the register, constantly interacting with my customers. Today, I don’t have to think about what I would say in a conversation with my co-workers, I just chime in.