“I don’t have to have my guard up anymore.”

by | Nov 5, 2019 | Stories, Success Stories

Douglas Washington rebuilds his career path.

“I never saw that coming.”

A common mistake when thinking about individuals in need of additional assistance is assuming that they got to a place of need due to lack of knowledge– or maybe even laziness. Sometimes an individual can do everything “right.” They have the right job, they show up for their employers and their family, they work hard, and yet life still throws them many curveballs.

This is exactly what happened to Douglas Washington. “I was the hospital supply technician,” Washington begins to explain. Right off the bat, there is a sense of tension over this subject. Washington worked at the same hospital in Galveston, TX since 2001. He did his part in saving lives by making sure the hospital was always stocked with the necessary equipment for doctors and nurses to use.

Despite missing “so much time in my oldest daughter’s life because I was always working,” he was happy with his position. A change in management became an unexpected obstacle in Washington’s life path. While we don’t know the entire story, we can speak to how he felt. “They kind of ganged up on me,” he says.

After navigating his newly hostile work environment for a while, Washington eventually came to terms with the fact that it was time to move on. After years of employment, “I never saw that coming,” he tells us.

“I just decided to take a chance and see where this takes me.”

If you ask someone to tell you their story, you often won’t get the full picture. Life is full of subtle nuances that we do not think about as being key components of our “story.” For Douglas Washington, this was scrolling through Facebook.

He came across a SERJobs Facebook post advertising our CORE + Construction program. This two-to-eight week program allows clients to obtain their NCCER and Osha 10 certifications. After going to our website and investigating what we do, Washington “just decided to take a chance and see where this takes me.” Little did he know that this chance would lead him down a path of career advancement as well as personal fulfillment.

While the timeline varies for every client, Washington completed the CORE + Construction program in three weeks. A large component of his time with SER was spent doing on the job training. This is where he discovered that construction is more than just a job.

The Hurricane Harvey news cycle is long behind us, but the devastation it left behind is still painfully present in the Houston community. Through our programming, Washington honed in on his construction skills while helping to rebuild homes damaged by Harvey. “I have a lot of stories about seeing what people have lost, but they see us coming and the look on their faces– they tell us thank you.”

Through helping rebuild homes and rebuilding the livelihood of those in our community, Washington proved to be a diligent and ambitious worker. He told us that he would often “go to the main office and be sent to other places” when his current sites were on hold. Hard work never goes unnoticed.

“They must’ve really liked what I was doing,” he notes when discussing his current employer, “They even went as far as to secure a grant for me.” This grant allowed Washington to join the employer in a full-time capacity.

“I don’t have to have my guard up anymore.”

Since transitioning into his new career path in construction, Washington has found happiness in a job with a workplace culture he finds meaningful. “I don’t have to have my guard up anymore,” he told us when discussing how at peace he felt in his new environment. “One thing I like about them is they take the time to pray every morning,” he finds this change of pace comforting. As the sole caregiver for his two daughters, he notes that this new path has also given him more time to spend with them. Overall, leading to a more fulfilling work-life balance.

When asked what his advice would be to someone interested in going through one of SER’s services, he said: “All you have to do is have a good frame of mind, be willing to learn, and be ready to rebuild someone’s life.” From Washington’s family members to the strangers with homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey, Washington is rebuilding his life and the lives of those around him for the better.