Deb regained her confidence and found a new career
"Opportunity Junction made me feel confident in something I thought I had lost. I felt a sense of myself again. I am not just a mom. I am both; I am more. The skills were important, but the feeling of confidence I had lost over the last decade came back, too," shares Deb Carcache, alumna of Class 59 of the Administrative Careers Training program (ACT).
Deb Carcache had envisioned herself as a professional mom balancing the demands of a new family with her career. She loved her career in banking and was willing to make the sacrifices needed to make it all work. Then she was laid off in 2007 just at the start of the economic recession. No one was hiring; no one was offering interviews; and no one was offering the wage she had before the layoff.
Deb embraced her new role as stay at home mom. She felt lucky that her husband remained employed as she raised her first, second, and then third child. "I loved being there for my kids, but it was also very hard for me. I never planned to be a stay at home mom. Something was always missing: I was a mom; I was a wife; but I didn't have anything that was mine," shares Deb.
The defining moment where Deb knew she had to go back to work happened innocuously at her son's school. "I spent hours volunteering with the school for years. As I was walking through campus, one of the teacher's called me Caleb's mom. It was small; she didn't mean anything by it. But I cried all night feeling like I had completely lost my identity."
This realization aligned perfectly with her mother's retirement, and Deb saw a "glimmer of light" that they could make this work. "A parent liaison with the school showed me Opportunity Junction's flyer. I didn't know if I could go back to school, but my husband and friends supported me and told me I could do it. I had to give it a try.
"When I got in, I was terrified. I had been a wife and a mom for so long, I didn't know if I could still balance both sides of me. I didn't even know myself anymore. I wondered, 'Am I still relevant? Am I still worth it?'"
Deb's experience with the Administrative Careers Training Program changed those negative impressions of herself. "Opportunity Junction made me feel confident in something I thought I had lost. I felt a sense of myself again. I am not just a mom. I am both; I am more. The skills were important, but the feeling of confidence I had lost over the last decade came back, too."
During the internship phase of the training program and on a dare from a classmate, Deb applied for a stretch position at a bank. "I didn't have all of the qualifications they listed, so I assumed I wouldn't hear back. Four interviews later, I was hired! Being Microsoft Office Specialist Certified and demonstrating my Excel skills filled the gap in my experience and made all the difference in getting me hired. I am so thankful to OJ for helping me find myself again. I am worth it."