Patricia Watson Overcomes Hurdles on Return to Employment

Patricia Watson has overcome a number of hurdles on her journey to returning to the workplace.

In 2007, she had graduated from Wilson Community College with a paralegal degree, working in the field up until experiencing a health-related setback, leaving her unable to maintain work. She took time to recover and realized that she wanted, and was ready, to return to work and help support her family.

For the past four years, Watson had been looking for a job, albeit unsuccessfully, that fit her qualifications and one she would enjoy. Last summer she sought the assistance of Monarch’s Individual Placement and Support (IPS) staff at the outpatient office in Wilson. IPS is an evidence-based practice to help people we support with mental health struggles who want to work.

Services Strengthen Valuable Job Skills

With their help, she gained the tools she needed to search, interview and accept a new job. Watson was initially referred to the IPS team through a Monarch therapist, who had helped her overcome symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Watson was paired with Employment Support Professional Don Winslow, a member of the Rocky Mount and Wilson IPS teams. He helped Watson apply for jobs, best answer application forms, build her resume and practice important interviewing skills. “We reviewed how to sell your skills to an employer, and she did a good job of that,” he explained.

Watson, 52, appreciated the assistance and the resources to refresh the skills required to re-enter the workforce. “Don helped me with questions that a possible employer may ask me and how to not be so nervous and have more confidence,” she said. “I knew I would do a good job. I was very excited.”

Watson additionally benefitted from Employment Support Professional Nellene Deloatch-Richardson who extended a helping hand to find attire for Watson to be interview ready.

Her motivation, enthusiasm and desire to be employed has been rewarded in her role as dining room assistant at Bojangles’ in Wilson. Enhanced interviewing skills, combined with some persistence, was the right combination when Bojangles’ offered Watson an opportunity.

Employment Boosts Confidence

Today, she greets customers with her bright smile and fills in where needed at the Bojangles’ location in Wilson, having started her job last October. In her 24-hour per week job, she enjoys meeting people, learning new tasks and being of assistance to her managers: “I enjoy interacting with people, customers and staff. I try to have a positive work environment. I am grateful for my position, job and the team I work with.”

Some of her tasks at Bojangles’ include making sure the dining room is clean and neat for customers and ensuring the condiments are stocked and coffee and tea urns are in working order.

Winslow has seen a change in Watson since initially meeting her last year: “Work has helped Patricia grow and brought out a lot more confidence in her. She was very shy when she started but has proven she can do great work, and that helps her feel good about herself.”

Patricia Watson quote outlining she enjoys interacting with customers and staff, and is grateful for her position on the team.Helping Hand Continues

Winslow’s assistance didn’t end with Watson’s job offer. The pair continues to discuss ways to retain employment and the appropriate questions to ask your supervisors concerning workplace situations.

Watson’s confidence grows even more with the assistance the Bojangles’ staff provides when she is on the job. “I can do a lot of things, but I just do them a little slower than others. My co-workers help train me on any tasks and help me with communication, establishing goals and networking with others,” she said proudly.

Photo caption: Patricia Watson getting ready for a shift at the Wilson Bojangles’.