A Sunbury man has emerged from long-term unemployment and chronic depression after finding a job that involves one of his favourite things.
Phillip, 59, was out of work for well over a year by the time he approached the Ascot Vale office of atWork Australia in August 2019. Like so many with depression and anxiety, he had isolated himself from friends and family, and experienced low self-esteem and constant self-criticism.
His Disability Employment Services Job Coach, Vilda, said Phillip’s mental health had held him back for a long time and he was in dire need of someone to support and believe in him.
“Phillip had only ever been self-employed, and the prospect of being employed by someone else was daunting for him but I knew he could overcome this barrier,” Vilda said.
Vilda worked with Phillip to develop an individualised job plan that would bring focus to his search. Previously he had enjoyed working with flowers in garden maintenance, so this sector was given priority.
The pair spent time outlining Phillip’s positive traits, skills and experience, and discussed how a new job might benefit his wellbeing and outlook on life. Vilda also guided him through a mock interview scenario and advised him on how to approach a prospective employer.
Soon there was a breakthrough and an interview with a large function venue who needed a gardener. It was also reasonably close to home just half an hour’s drive from Sunbury. Phillip was offered the job on the spot and was so ecstatic he immediately rang Vilda to convey the happy news.
atWork Australia was able to support Phillip in making a great first impression by funding new work gear and shoes and petrol for transport. While the first few months were a struggle for Phillip as he adjusted to a new routine, he has stuck it out.
“Vilda never gave up on me and supported me all the way,” he said.
“I’ve noticed a big difference with how I cope with daily routines. I now have a reason to put away my negative thoughts and feelings.”