Perseverance: That’s My Story

Armando-Vega-SmallMy journey to secure gainful employment was not easy, it was a test filled with obstacles and rejections. In order to undertand my story I must start from the beginning. I was living in NYC last year and working minimally, barely logging-in a 40 hour week. Suddenly at the end of July I found myself unemployed with very little hope of finding a job. Being an older worker and out of a job made me feel tremendously uncertain. I truly hit a low point in my life and I was unhappy.

The next month I decided to celebrate my birthday with my long time friend who lives in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, a place I’ve always loved and visited for many years. On that day I went looking for a new place to live. I said to myself “what have I got to lose? If the real estate office denies my application at least I tried to make a change for the better.” Two days after returning to NYC I got the call from the real estate office – I was approved!

September 2012, I moved to Philadelphia a new beginning. The first few weeks I registered with local employment agencies and the Pennsylvania Career link, a state employment resource center. After getting familiar with the public transportation system I began to explore job fairs. One job fair after another I began to feel rejection, frustration and despair. It was as if I had felt this way before when I attended job fair events in NYC. Becoming ever so restless I knew that something had to give I was looking for a source of hope.

In November, I registered and attended a “Hiring our Heroes” job fair event for Veterans. My expectations were moderate as I entered the door to the Lincoln Financial Field, the site of this exclusive hiring event. An hour went by and I met several potential employers however, I felt very dissatisfied. Before departing that afternoon I reported to my career counselor who was there at the Career link table. My only parting comment was thanks for informing me about this event, nothing more.

When I approached the table I noticed another table to the left with a banner which read - The Philadelphia Veterans Multi Service and Education Center (PVMSEC). There I met a gentleman named Joe Adair who was genuinely interested in helping me. Although I was doubtful at first I said to myself “what have I got to lose?’’ The job fair did not lead me to a potential employer and here’s the PVMSEC, a veteran’s resource center and they seemed to be the source of hope that I was looking for.

A week later, I visited the PVMSEC offices and signed up for services and their 5 week computer course starting in January 2013. What a good decision that was for me, after completing the course and receiving a student achievement award, my updated resume was uploaded onto the PVMSEC website. Two weeks after graduation an employer in Center City saw my revised resume and contacted me, a week later I was hired. Today I am very happy to report that I am gainfully employed and exhilarated while learning on the job each and every day.

Indeed my story has a happy ending however, if not for my belief and ability to persevere despite the rejections and numerous obstacles I would not have made it. The message I would like to share with my fellow unemployed veterans is to always believe, never give up and locate veteran’s resource centers like the PVMSEC or wherever they may be. A special thanks to Joe Adair, Tim Meserve, Linda Kahlert and the rest of the good people at the PVMSEC for all your help. You are the very best!