It’s 7 p.m. on a cold October night. Harl Rowe gets out of bed to prepare for his shift at Vernon’s FreshCo. For some, the overnight shift is an isolating experience. But, for Rowe, it’s the perfect job and one he’s thankful for every day.
“I’m an overnight stock person, and it’s awesome,” says Rowe.
“The first thing that stood out to me is that there’s less stress. I just feel more support from FreshCo. They care, and I don’t feel the same pressure I had at my old job.”
And it’s a position Rowe embraces with the help of WorkBC. Referred to WorkBC’s Employment Services through Kindale Development Association, Rowe worked virtually with case manager Celena Sandaker and employment advisor Jerry Ward to create a profile that would help him find work that fits his skill set.
“We had hour-long conversations about what I like, what I don’t like, what work I’m strong at and where I’m weak, to understand what type of job would suit me best,” says Rowe. “It really helped me think more about myself as a worker. Before that, I had ideas about what type of work I was suited to because of my experience, but that understanding became stronger when I spoke with WorkBC.”
In early January 2021, Rowe finished building his profile, and Sandaker and Ward began the search for positions that fit Rowe’s skills and goals.
With the help of his advisors, Rowe had several options to consider, but the overnight stock person position stood out.
“FreshCo happened to be the first position we found. To be honest with you, I don’t know how we discovered it. From what I heard, there was no official job ad posted for it yet. Jerry had conversations with the manager and mentioned that he had someone looking for a job,” says Rowe.
“Within a week, I started getting calls. They wanted to interview me. I thought it would take a month or two to find work, but it happened so fast. We just had really good timing.”
Rowe started working at FreshCo on Jan. 28, 2021. Now, 11 months later, he’s training to become an overnight shift lead. The new position brings more responsibility and opportunity. Rowe says he’s flattered to have the support of other supervisors and the management team.
“I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and getting better, because, ultimately, I see a future here,” says Rowe. “I have something that’s worth sticking with. From today moving forward, I have no real expectations or demands. I just want to get better and keep growing.”
Since securing the position at FreshCo, Rowe has monthly check-ins with Sandaker and Ward. He tells them how much he’s enjoying his job while they ensure that he has the support he needs to succeed.
Rowe says he knows that if anything happens, Ward and Sandaker are only a text or phone call away.
“For the first time in almost seven years, I don’t feel isolated anymore. Because of FreshCo, because of WorkBC and Jerry and Celena, I know there are people there, even though I operate during the hours when everyone is asleep,” says Rowe.
And it all happened, Rowe says, because he asked for help.
“There are people who have challenges. Some are less severe, and some are more severe.”
For Rowe, that challenge is a longer learning period when faced with complex information.
“It can feel like we’re taught that we need to do things ourselves, and if we can’t then we fail. For people like me who have challenges, it can be even more difficult. I want them to know that, if you need to ask for help, ask for help. It’s OK. At times, I’ve struggled with asking, whether it’s on the job or while looking for a job. I want to use my story as proof that there is help out there and that, once you get help, everything is easier.”
If you or someone you know is looking for meaningful employment opportunities, WorkBC is here to help. Learn more by calling 250-545-2215 or visiting workbccentre-vernon.ca.
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