Bill, an IT project manager, was shocked when his employer announced major cutbacks. Effective the following week, his salary would be reduced by more than 20%.
His oldest daughter was leaving for college in a few months. For the first time, his ability to provide financially for his family was in jeopardy. In addition to the mounting stress, he felt worthless and inadequate.
Bill knew he needed a new job, but didn’t know where to start—he had been at his previous job for 24 years.
“Looking for a new position wasn’t in the game plan,” Bill said. “We were thinking ahead to retirement.”
Bill’s wife saw an ad in the Church of the Nativity’s parish bulletin about Catholic Charities’ jobs ministry and urged him to go.
He went to a Christians Are Networking (CAN) meeting at Catholic Charities’ St. Martin de Porres Senior Center in Alexandria.
CAN is a volunteer-led program of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, offering career counseling, help with resume writing, networking, interviewing skills and much more. Just as importantly, the program offers prayer and fellowship.
Bill was amazed by both the kindness and experience of the volunteers. He attended CAN meetings for nine months before finding a new job.
“Every time that I went to CAN, I got something out of it,” Bill said.
Bill says the one-on-one mentoring with the CAN volunteers benefitted him the most. They offered him encouragement, prayer and a plan.
Each week, he practiced mock interviews and his elevator pitch, and the volunteers provided valuable feedback.
Recognizing his strengths, he began to believe in himself again.
“The circumstances that led me here were less than ideal, but getting this new job is the best thing that ever happened to me professionally,” Bill said. “I wouldn’t have gotten there without their [the CAN volunteers] assistance.”
Now, Bill volunteers at the weekly meetings to give back to the program and grow professionally.
He provides encouragement to the job seekers who are in the same place he was just one year ago.
Do you know a job seeker or volunteer who would be interested in Christians Are Networking? Contact Sally O’Dwyer, Director of Volunteers, at SOdwyer@ccda.net or 703-841-3838. We have CAN sessions at four locations throughout the diocese. Please see the addresses and meeting times listed below.
Alexandria: Every Thursday from 7 – 9 p.m.
St. Martin de Porres Senior Center, 4650 Taney Avenue, 22304
Ashburn: First and Third Tuesday from 7 – 9 p.m.
St. Theresa Catholic School, 21370 St. Theresa Lane, 20147
Culpeper: Every Tuesday from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. *Please call 540-422-0907 if you will attend
Precious Blood Parish Hall, 114 East Edmondson Street, 22701
Falls Church: First and Third Wednesday from 7 – 9 p.m.
St. Philip Catholic Church, 7500 Saint Philip’s Court, 22042