Everyone’s job search story is different, but each individual story can inspire and empower others who are on their own unique path. For Rachel Launchbury, the hardest part of the job search was finding an employer that was the right fit. Here’s Rachel’s story.
What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?
I work for Volunteers of America in their Multnomah County STOP Drug Court Program. I work with clients who have received charges for drug-related crimes, and who have opted to engage in a year-long diversion program. I provide addiction and mental health assessments, individual counseling, and group therapy on topics related to addiction, mental health, and criminality. I also provide case management services, including referrals to inpatient treatment, sober housing options, referrals to primary care physicians, and transportation assistance.
How long did it take you to find this job?
How did you find your job? What resources did you use? What tool or tactic helped the most?
I used Indeed.com, and also looked at the main addiction/mental health agencies’ websites and applied for jobs directly. I kept a spreadsheet of all the jobs I had applied for, so that I could keep track of the responses I received; whether it be rejection letters, or phone screenings.
What was the most difficult part of your job search? How did you overcome this challenge?
The most difficult part was not hearing back from at least 50% of the agencies. I even had an in-person interview with an organization and never heard back from them!
At the beginning it was disheartening; then I realized I didn’t want to work for an agency that couldn’t put in the time to respond to all applicants.
What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?
When you meet a prospective employer, remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Use this opportunity to figure out whether the opportunity is the right fit for you.
After one interview, I knew that the job wasn’t right for me. In my thank you email I explained that I value the services they offer but that my passions lay elsewhere and I didn’t want to waste their time with them considering me for the position.
In fact, during my first interview with Volunteers of America, I realized that I was not interested in the position for which I had initially applied. I shared my concerns with with interviewer. You’d think this would be a deal breaker with them. But instead, the interviewer immediately changed tracked and told me about a counselor position that opening in the near future. This is the job I ended up taking!
Why do you love your job?
I love working with this people struggling with addiction and criminality. This population is in such a dark place, and have overcome so much trauma in their past. They are incredibly strong people who need someone who believes in their potential and who offers them encouragement, knowledge, support to become who they truly are as strong human beings. Addiction brings with it a certain kind of humor that I enjoy, and people in recovery from addiction have a knack of laughing at themselves–a dynamic that I find refreshing.
Learn more about Rachel and connect with her on LinkedIn.