The middle of a pandemic crisis is not an ideal time to be changing career fields and looking for a new job, but LeeAnn Hill continues to be optimistic and move forward during this challenging time.
After having worked in the accounting field for more than 30 years, LeeAnn knew she wanted a change – something in an administrative role and where she could be of service, preferably for a nonprofit or community organization whose mission she could relate to and which interests her.
Having been referred to Rise’s Individual Placement Services (IPS) Creating Access program by her therapist, Andrea Steele, at Hennepin County Mental Health Center, LeeAnn started meeting in December 2019 with Employment Consultant Hollie Petersen for assistance in navigating to a new career field, getting additional training, career planning, and job placement services.
The two created a new skills-based resume and cover letter and began the job search in earnest. LeeAnn was excited when she did well in an interview at a wellness center in Minneapolis and was invited back to job-shadow.
Then the pandemic struck and everything came to a screeching halt.
Her part-time job at a Cub grocery store in South Minneapolis was bumped up to 48 hours a week. “Working [her] tail off,” LeeAnn splits her time at this busy store as a cashier, customer service, and front-end manager. Being on the frontline for people’s stress as they deal with the uncertainties and fears of the COVID-19 outbreak is especially challenging.
Because of her long work hours, LeeAnn and Hollie keep in touch via email and virtual meetings. Hollie offers support in problem-solving work-related issues and serves as a sounding board for the changes and stress she is undergoing.
“Hollie helps me take what I learn in my DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) sessions and apply it to both my current work and job search,” LeeAnn noted.
“Despite her many challenges, LeeAnn is determined and resilient, advocates well for herself, and continues to maintain a positive outlook,” said Hollie. “She is highly motivated to face her challenges head on and move forward with her goals; I will support her throughout this process and am confident she will have the career she wants someday soon.”
Just a few courses short, LeeAnn would also like to finish her associate’s degree in business management. “I’m basically starting my life over at age 55,” LeeAnn said. “I believe this COVID crisis will force us all to slow down and change the way we live, hopefully, with more empathy for each other.”