My Story—Pam Velado

I’m Pam Velado. I was living in Dallas, TX, when I lost my job. I was very discouraged when I couldn’t find another job. I moved back home to Tennessee. I enrolled in a medical assisting school through a vocational rehabilitation program. Although I did well in school and obtained my certification, I did not feel that medical assisting was a good fit for me. I felt pretty lost. I have depression, so I am easily discouraged. My vocational rehabilitation counselor connected me with Goodwill. I was placed in the Beyond Jobs Program and the Selective Job Placement Program.

The weekly meetings gave me a reason to get out of bed. I learned about how to look up jobs on the Internet, how to fill out an application, how to dress for an interview, how to write a thank you card and many other things relevant to today’s job market. Being in a group with my peers who were struggling with the same problems as me was reassuring as well as educational. The Goodwill staff was always positive and encouraging.

Goodwill placed me in a part-time receptionist job at the Cerebral Palsy Center. I was worried that I couldn’t do the job, but it is exactly where I need to be. It is the perfect job for me. The hours that I’m scheduled to work fit my temperament, and the workload is one that I can handle without becoming overwhelmed.

There was one stressful incident that occurred within the first two weeks of work that I was able to go back to Goodwill for advice and reassurance. The Beyond Jobs program manager was there to listen to my fears and let me know that I had taken the proper steps and handled the situation correctly. She then looked into it.

In the past, I struggled with getting out of bed and getting to work on time. I often didn’t shower and would wear the same clothes two days in a row. I always arrive early to my new job and could never imagine falling back into my old habits. Now I am part of a team. I can hold my head high because I have a job, and it’s one that I’m good at and that I love. And I know that jobs are not easy to come by.