When Hillary Clough graduated from high school seven years ago, the thought of attending college was so overwhelming to her that she decided to forego college and join the workforce. That decision weighed heavily on her mind for several years after that as she bounced from job to job finding no satisfaction. Hillary commented, “For a long time, my job was just getting up in the morning and trying to overcome my depression and anxiety and find a spark of happiness.”

She was referred to Work Opportunities by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission in early April of 2020, right when the COVID-19 pandemic essentially shut the world down. Hillary began working with Michelle Grahn, Career Resource Specialist, to get her on the right path to successful employment. Throughout April and May, they met via Zoom and over the phone to develop Hillary’s resume and cover letter, work on interview skills, and dig into what kind of job would bring joy to Hillary’s life.

During that time, Hillary’s drive never ceased to amaze Michelle. “She was very motivated and eager to learn all that she could to be successful,” said Michelle. “She watched videos and completed her homework assignments cheerfully and with intense enthusiasm.”

Once Hillary decided what she wanted to do for a job and how many hours she wanted to work, she and Michelle searched and applied for jobs that interested her, one of which was a position as a Merchandiser for Hallmark. In that role, she would manage Hallmark’s product inventory within various retail outlets. Hillary’s superb personality, creative skills, and ability to paint a great visual of her previous work experience won her the position, and she started in early June.

Michelle noted of her appointment, “Hillary has been a delight to work with and is determined to do a great job. She’s still excited in all that she is learning and is looking forward to when her training is completed so she may work on her own.”

According to Hillary, “It took many years of self-reflection and hard work to understand the cause of my depression and anxiety, and although I still battle them every day, I can now say that working at my job makes me happy. Thank you, Work Opportunities, and thank you, Michelle!”