Not an Outsider!

“I wasn’t just helping myself, but helping others as well.”

I was in a tough place when I first applied to become an associate at Deseret Industries (DI). I had been unable to work for months due to back pain and migraines. Following physical therapy and pain management treatment, I was finally well enough to work part-time. I applied at DI where I discovered that the store associates were actually part of a training program and that the goal would be to get me into a better job. This sounded good to me.

I was a little apprehensive at first about joining the training program because I am not a Mormon and DI is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I had concerns that I would be treated as an outsider. However, this was not how it was. I was treated just like everyone else. What was different were the devotionals we held every morning to begin the day. It never bothered me that I was not of the same religion because the devotionals included useful information that I could use to better myself both personally and professionally, as well as uplifting messages.

I was assigned to work in the clothing departments, in what is known as the “small as-is” department (a variety of small donated items), and as a cashier. Not only was there on-the-job training but additional training courses for the associates. Two of the courses I took were on how to successfully search for a job. I learned how to write an effective resume and how to present myself in an interview. The skills I developed in these courses are invaluable.

What I especially enjoyed about working for DI was that I wasn’t just helping myself, but helping others as well. DI has a community voucher program that helps those in need to receive clothes, cooking utensils, bedding, and even children’s toys. I was amazed by their generosity towards people in need, and they lived up to their name of “saints.” I felt I was working among people who genuinely cared about others. My co-workers cared about one another and we cared about the customers we were serving.

After many months, I was given the opportunity to participate in an advanced job search. In addition to the skills I had learned previously, I was personally guided through the process. I learned so much. I will never again worry about whether I can find a job, because now I know exactly what to do. As a result, I was offered positions at two different companies. My ultimate goal, however, was to run my own business. As it turns out, the material I studied in the advanced job search helped me reach this goal. Using the skills I acquired, I was able to find new clients. My dream of coming home was realized when I earned enough to return to my hometown in Nebraska. I now have a career doing exactly what I have always dreamed of doing and in the place where I wanted to live.

DI is an organization that changes people’s lives.

“I will never again worry about whether I can find a job, because now I know exactly what to do.”

For more amazing stories like Tom's, visit the DI’s Facebook page by clicking here.