Chris sent this letter in to our ABL office back in January 2016. This outlines his incredible journey and how his approach has made such an amazing positive impact in his life in his own words...a true testament to creating A Better Life for himself and those around him:
"A STORY OF CHANGE AND THE ABL WAY
It has been said that the only thing for sure you can expect in your life is that you will experience change. Some people embrace change, some people accept it and just deal with it, and some of us view it with fear and trepidation. Regardless of how you view it, change is inevitable. About a year and a half ago, I decided to make a change. I had a job I enjoyed and was good at, but it kept me away from home more than I wanted to be. I drove truck between Ontario and Michigan on a daily basis and enjoyed the open road and looking after my customers, and the challenges of meeting deadlines. After many years of that, the long days and many hours spent at border crossings began to wear me down, and I wanted to make a change that would allow me to be both closer to home and home more often.
At 52 years of age, the idea of change was both intriguing and a little intimidating. It became more intimidating when I realized that as I had grown older the job market had changed. I grew up in a time when you went for a job interview, met your prospective employer, looked them in the eye and shook their hand. I now realized that employment agencies are the driving force for new hiring. The prospect of filling out forms and handing out resumes to people that were standing between me and the position was a daunting task and I felt discouraged. Since I was determined to forge ahead, I went to ABL and started the process. I'm sure at the time, I wasn't their ideal candidate as I felt I wore my discomfort with the process on my sleeve.
I have to say in retrospect, the staff at ABL was more than accommodating. I was made to feel they were actually listening to what I was looking for. Yes, I filled out forms, questionnaires, signed documents, but they made me feel like it was leading to something, and it did.
I had made it clear when I first interviewed at ABL that I didn't want to drive truck anymore, as I equated that with long days and border crossing. Much to my chagrin, the first thing my new rep at ABL did was ask me to interview with a local trucking company. She felt it would be a good fit, and it was local work. With some degree of hesitation I followed Lisa's advice and interviewed that week. When I interviewed with the company, it was clear to me that they and ABL had a close working relationship and were endeavoring to achieve the same goals, a good employee/employer fit.
After a few weeks at my new position, my new supervisor had me help train some of the new people that came from ABL. I suspect that because I am a little long in the tooth at my age, she thought I had the patience for it, but it turned out I really enjoyed it. I realized these new people probably saw change as a challenge as I did, so I had an opportunity not only to help train them, but help them feel comfortable with change.
Do you know what impressed me the most? Without fail, every time, on the first day, every person I was training got a phone call from the staff at ABL during the day asking them how they were making out....as I did my first day. It was nice to see that ABL took an active interest in each and every employee. So not only do I enjoy my job, I got a benefit I never even thought of. I got to meet and deal with all the other ABL staff coming in....and I can honestly say that I have met some people that I consider to be close friends.
Moral Of The Story....
Change in our life is inevitable, but we can control how we handle it. Change comes in many forms. Some changes we choose, as I did, some change is forced upon us, some is good, some is bad, some is change for changes sake. The world we live in today requires us to accept it. Here is the positive thing about change....you can learn new things, and even learn new things about yourself. I made a change, and ABL helped me do it.
In May of 2016, Chris sent us another letter with some exciting updates. Enjoy reading his follow up letter below.
"Back in January, you mentioned your "A Better Life" award, and suggested I submit an entry. I was hesitant, but as I thought about it, I thought maybe there was an opportunity to be a positive influence for others facing change. Perhaps if some people had a chance to read an essay I would write, they too could make a change that would do just that....make a better life.
With mixed feelings, I wanted you all to hear this from me first. I hope you all know how much I enjoy my relationship with ABL. Your support and encouragement, for an old guy like me, has been something I have drawn on, and has always made me want to do my best. Thanks to your support, I have some news for you.
My supervisor approached me this week. I have been offered a permanent position as a Lead Hand under the operations manager, which I have accepted. I had no idea I was even being considered for something like that....but you know what I wrote about 'change" in my essay. This is a change that can lead to more opportunity, and an improvement in my lifestyle, and I couldn't have had that opportunity without ABL. Thank you very much.
There is one other "better life" in this that I am even more proud of. As you know, my son Zach got hired by ABL and placed in the same facility where I work. I'm not sure if I ever told you guys, I raised Zach as a single dad since he was nine years old. I always felt I was hard on him, and he did without so many things as a young boy that I couldn't afford. But I gave him the one thing I had.....the knowledge that if you work hard and embrace change, opportunities present themselves.
When ABL placed my son, the offer was for him to work for six months, at which point they would sign him up for an apprenticeship. I'm proud to say....after two months, he was called in to the office. They told him they didn't want to lose him, and were signing his apprenticeship papers that day, starting at $22 an hour. How is that for a better life.....for my son, and the father who can rest knowing his son has a career?
At the risk of sounding like a sap, there are times, home alone, that my eyes get a little watery when I think about all the "change" in my life. Never dreamt it would lead to a better quality of life, for both me, and my son. Thanks again. I know saying thank you doesn't seem like enough, so Orange Julius on Friday!