At 63-years-old, Cynthia Roberts arrived at a crossroads.
The office building where she worked in Calgary had burned down and staff were laid off, but she wasn’t ready to retire. She could find another admin job and work there until she turned 65 or take a chance at one more fresh start.
Roberts chose adventure.
She loaded her life into her van, got in the driver’s seat, and never looked back.
“I knew I didn’t want to be in Calgary when I retired,” Roberts says. “I had been travelling all over Alberta and decided to come back to the Okanagan where I was born and raised. I chose to go where I wanted to retire.”
Living a comfortable life in her van, Roberts spent afternoons at the Okanagan Regional Library in Vernon looking for work. After a few weeks, the weather started getting colder. She found a comfortable place to live and continued her job search.
“I was using the computers at the library when someone said to me, ‘If you go to WorkBC, they have job support there and will help you do your resume,’” Roberts says. “I went to WorkBC, and they were so welcoming. I was with them every day and they were always so sweet.”
When Roberts went into the centre, she knew exactly what kind of employer she was looking for: a small business with people that have a positive attitude and a great atmosphere where she’d be happy to work until retirement.
Roberts spent weeks at the centre using the computers to fine-tune her resumé, connecting with the team and browsing the job boards for the right fit. And, finally, she got the call she had been waiting for — a local alarm company was looking for a secretary.
Months after landing the job at Hewberry Alarms, Roberts says she’s in heaven. She’s living in the community where she dreams of retiring and is working for a company that cares about its people.
“Hewberry Alarms is such a nice place to work. I love small businesses. I love the atmosphere and the attitude,” Roberts says. “They’re such nice people and are amazing to work for.”
With her own desk in the alarm company’s quiet office building near downtown, Roberts spends her mornings answering phones, walking customers through how to operate their alarm systems, coordinating customer appointments and managing accounts receivable.
It’s going so well, she says, that she’s already thinking about how she might stay on part-time when it’s time for retirement in a few short years.
And it’s a job that Roberts says was only possible thanks to the help of WorkBC.
“I’ve been doing this for many years, and I’ve done many things. I’ve driven a bus, been a cleaner, done admin work. You name it, I’ve done it. But if it hadn’t been for WorkBC, I may not have found the perfect job.”