3 min read

Finding Connection & Confidence: Carolina's Story

Finding Connection & Confidence: Carolina's Story

Carolina had worked for years as a customer service representative prior to coming to Mission Possible, but a recurring medical issue in her ears caused hearing loss, disorientation, and cognitive problems which kept her from excelling at her front-facing customer service jobs.

In 2004, she started having severe headaches and doctors found a benign tumour in her right ear canal. While Carolina was grateful that it was benign, the recovery was long and difficult with her balance being completely off. While she was able to go back to her job after this time, her hearing continued to worsen and Carolina eventually needed to get a hearing aid in her right ear. Things went smoothly for a while, but 10 years after her first hearing aid, she had to get a second one in her left ear as it was overworking to compensate.

Early on in 2021, Carolina was faced with a lot of stress and anxiety at work due to her hearing loss. With COVID-19 precautions in place, masks and plexiglass made it difficult for her to do her job, and she often ended up being put down by customers. She decided to go on a leave of absence to focus on her health, but her employer wasn’t providing the support she needed. Feeling overwhelmed and suffering from depression, Carolina left her position. 

Carolina recalls, “My confidence was zero on my ability to go back as a customer service representative on any level.” While she later found out that many of her mental health problems were rooted in her hearing issue, she was feeling very hesitant to get back to work. One day, she saw a Mission Possible associate cleaning up in the streets and wanted to thank them for their job and express her appreciation. Carolina remembers thinking, “I wish I could work in something like that where I don’t have to be receiving orders and listening all the time.” She talked to the associate for a bit about his job, and left the conversation with one of Mission Possible’s information cards.

Coming into MP in the summer of 2022, Carolina recalls her confidence and courage being next to nothing. Working again helped bring her back. “It rooted me. It grounded me. It reminded me that it’s not where you are, it’s who you are,” Carolina explains. At MP she found connection with other associates with similar disabilities, encouragement, and pride, and more than anything else, Carolina loved getting into the community, and cleaning it up. She shares, “This job allowed me to observe even more and put attention to detail… it gratifies me a lot to do the job.” Getting out, walking during her shifts helped Carolina learn that she doesn’t want to wait in one spot for the next customer in her future work. She feels the need to move now.

In addition to working again, Carolina is also grateful for the coaching sessions and resources at Mission Possible. Specifically, she appreciates how her coach helps her create action plans for her goals. Rather than just listing goals, she was encouraged to think about how she was going to achieve them. Talking though tangible actions helped her create a realistic and encouraging plan. Carolina reflects, “[Coaching] gives you that reflective moment of ‘maybe I’m trying to grab too much.’ I should go little by little until I can do it all together.” Carolina also worked with our Employment Engagement Coordinator to transform her resume into something appealing to the eye. Carolina shares “Every single person that I have dealt with here is really really supportive, and you feel a kind and friendly environment, and that made me feel more confident. My pride started to come back too.”

Armed with her resume and renewed confidence, Carolina started sending out applications on her own time while doing research on LinkedIn and Indeed. She quickly found a job at a prominent hotel in downtown Vancouver as a Spa Coordinator Attendant! She shares that she’s in better shape than ever with her fast-paced job. Carolina is also incredibly happy to have a good wage, benefits, and provided meals and clean uniforms. She’s grateful for the spa environment, and even feels luxurious when she goes into work.

While she has only been in this permanent, part-time position for a few months she is looking forward to familiarizing herself with the other opportunities and departments at the hotel. Her manager has already offered to slowly start training her for the front desk so that she can cover shifts there while still remaining a spa attendant. Carolina is also excited to share that her daughter is getting married this year! She’s working on saving money from every paycheque to afford a flight to the destination wedding while also contributing to her retirement. Carolina continues to follow the plan she created with her coach by getting active, waking up earlier, being mindful with her diet, and sleeping better. We’re so proud of  what Carolina accomplished during her time at Mission Possible, and wish her all the best moving forward!

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