On the 28th of August 2019 as my son set off for his first day back at school in 3rd year, I wondered what this year was going to bring for me? I had been a stay at home Mom now for 12 years which I loved, helping our son through a lot of health and developmental challenges. He had now grown up and was an independent carefree boy and it was my time to shine and do something for myself. I worked for 16 years in Kostal Ireland which ended with redundancy. I heard Lisa Fingleton on the radio a week prior to this and I decided to phone her and see if there was a place available for me in the Moving On Programme.
We spoke about my past and what I was looking for? All the positives that Lisa reported to me with great enthusiasm made me feel from that moment that this was the course for me. So, need I say how happy I was to get a chance to take on this journey wherever it would lead me to? We met up for a chat in early September and Lisa discussed the full details of the course with me. Lisa asked questions like what kind of a job I was looking for? Where I would like to work, but also what kind of an employer would I like to have? This intrigued me because never before did anyone ask me these questions.
As most women will know, society does not agree with women staying at home and they just think you should have a job and do it regardless of the way your employer is. This again enhanced my thinking that I was on the right road to wherever. On the following Thursday morning we started this new adventure. Lisa O’Flaherty was introduced to us and along with Lisa Fingleton, we would spend the next 5 weeks working with these very talented women. We would start each morning with a little meditation and a check in on how we were feeling. Once again this was a new experience for me because I felt if only people knew this was how I was looking for my ideal job what would they think? But really, I did not care what they thought; I was enjoying myself and that was all that mattered.
The River of Life was first on the agenda for us which at first seemed difficult because my life seemed so ordinary; what would I have to draw? To my amazement once I started relating back to where I had come from and what I had achieved it did not at all seem so boring. I felt this helped me to realise what life had given me to deal with. Some ups and downs and some challenges which I learned had made me a stronger person than I was before.
Our Vision Board was the next task because as we were told “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it”. This required a lot of thought for me as to what I wanted to attract in my life as I had always seemed happy enough with what came to me rather than attracting it. It was good fun though browsing through magazines for pictures and words that would help me to create a new me.
The following Wednesday we were invited to Aras an Phobail to listen to inspiring women who had been on the same path as ourselves and set up their own business or got work by doing the Moving On Programme the previous year.
We still have these meetings with different speakers on every aspect from climate change, to creative writing or how to get an office job?
Then we started a computer course at IT Tralee. I had completed some computer courses a few years ago and I was looking forward to updating my computer skills. At first though I must admit the thought of going into a college was a little daunting, but once we got there and knew where to go it all fell into place.
The computer course was very interesting as we did a PowerPoint presentation, Microsoft Word and Excel.
I felt that now more so than ever I was prepared for an office job if that was what I was to do.
We were now in the second half of the course so it was time to bring Mary Beary (Career Coach) in and help us find what our ideal job was going to be. As we worked with Mary, who I feel believed in me more than I did myself, I struggled with choosing the ideal job for me even though I thought office work was for me, I still wondered if there was another job out there waiting for me. We had the chance to update our CV and Mary spoke about interviews to us and asked us random questions asked at an interview. This was another step closer to going for that ideal job.
Before we knew it our 10 week course was over and we did wonder where time had gone. We had a graduation ceremony where we were all presented with a certificate for completing the course. We were introduced to Sheila Martin who had worked in HR for years and would be joining Lisa Fingleton and Lisa O’Flaherty to share her knowledge and experiences with us. Sheila spoke about gaining experience in whatever career we wanted to follow.
For me, I felt she was asking me to challenge myself by getting office experience with my previous employer or any business in my home town or elsewhere. I left for home that day thinking what an exciting 3 months I had meeting with these women, both mentors and friends and not forgetting the friendships I had made with the girls doing the course, all with different stories but still on the same journey as myself. 2020 meetings started in late January and we were informed of another program that was available called Steps. I had heard that miracles happen on this program so I thought maybe that is just what I wanted.
We started the Steps program with Dee Keogh in February for 2 weeks and to be honest we all got so engrossed in it we did not want it to end. So, Dee being the kind person she is offered us four more Mondays and to this day we are still having a Zoom meeting with her once a week. Steps is amazing as it helps you see and question the way we live, talk and think. You really have to do this program to understand what it is about. I want to say a big thank you to Lisa Fingleton, and Lisa O’Flaherty, for giving me a position on this course.
I am very grateful to both of you for giving me this opportunity. Thanks to Mary Beary for believing in me and sharing her coaching experience with me. Thanks to Sheila Martin for challenging me about getting work experience and also for challenging me to write My Story. Thanks to Dee Keogh for the Steps Program and the way she has helped me to develop my thinking, to help me be the best I can be. Finally, I must admit I have gained that confidence that was lacking in me. I have found myself a job volunteering with Local Link Kerry which I am really enjoying and the manager and staff are very friendly and helpful.
This kind of an office environment has helped me to visualise what kind of an office environment I want to work in and to visualise working with friendly and helpful people when I will be in paid employment. Also, I remain open to every challenge that comes my way because I have learned along my journey that “If it’s to be it’s, up to me”.