Six months ago, if you’d asked Sam about his future, asking for help wouldn’t have made the list. Sam’s spent a lifetime cultivating a strong work ethic – he’s well-educated, had a stable work history, and supported his family with a career in IT. “I thought these things would protect me from unemployment,” he explains, adding that “unfortunately, that was not the case. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my wife’s inability to work due to health issues, and me losing my job – it hit us hard and sudden.” Sam’s experience with Wisconsin Works shed new light both upon his own path and on the lives of others.
“I come from a refugee background and grew up in poverty,” Sam explains. “I worked hard to have a comfortable life for myself and my family.” When he lost his job, however, Sam also lost the foundation for his confidence. “I questioned if I was skillful in the IT field, and I didn’t know how to articulate to others about my termination.”
Sam’s wife encouraged him to join Wisconsin Works, where he regained his confidence and learned invaluable skills “to realize and support [his] hopes and dreams.” Since then, Sam has also realized “that asking for help was the best thing I could have done. I avoided it for so long to prevent the hit to my ego,” he states, adding that, “I learned that I only have succeeded in life so far because of the help others gave.”
Within two months, Sam checked a lot of boxes off his wish-list when he landed a full-time position as an IT Specialist with Forefront Dermatology: a growing employer he could stay with long-term, a great team, and the ability to travel on-the-job. “In just the past month, I’ve been in 7 states. It’s actually a reality for me to have one of those maps of the US where you mark all the states you have visited.”
Most importantly, however, Sam’s also regained his sense of identity: “I feel happy that my kids and wife see me working again. For me, working is how I show my love to my family.”