A new beginning – Kirstin’s story
Kirstin has persevered through mental health issues and workplace bullying to land a job as a Cleaner with Geelong Commercial Cleaners, a family business that values its employees and its customers.
For ten years the former job seeker had cleaned and provided front of counter customer service at a restaurant where she experienced verbal abuse and was belittled by the team.
MatchWorks Employment Consultant, Maree Stringer supported Kirstin during this time.
“Kirstin thought it was normal for this to happen and didn’t want to rock the boat,” Maree said. “She was in her comfort zone and had gotten used to it so she swallowed up all the negativity. She would say she didn’t want to leave as she doesn’t like change. Then another incident happened one day, and she came into our office upset.”
A new normal for Kirstin
After helping Kirstin to leave her toxic workplace, Maree and Post Placement Employment Consultant, Dawn Brown supported her to:
- Realise that the bullying wasn’t her fault.
- Observe supportive workplaces and positive interactions.
“Once we matched Kirstin with Geelong Commercial Cleaning, Kirstin began to experience a positive workplace and finally discover a new normal,” Maree said.
A caring employer
Twenty percent of the workforce have a disability at Geelong Commercial Cleaners, and several are migrants. Owner, Wayne Spalding believes in giving people a chance.
“Everyone needs an opportunity to do the right thing,” Wayne said. “They need the chance to prove how good they are, and I love to help. It’s bred into me and there’s nothing better than getting up and making someone happy.”
Maree knew that Kirstin needed an employer who would nurture her.
“Wayne has done that hands down. He’s supported her through change at work and through the difficulties of 2020 – it was especially hard on people with mental health issues. He’s provided a safe workplace where she has thrived,” Maree said.
“Wayne is very approachable and easy to get along with,” Kirstin said. “On my first day, he was showing me what to do and I wasn’t nervous. After two days working with Wayne, I felt a change in how I felt and could get out of bed again.”
“Debbie and Karen [from Geelong Commercial Cleaners] took me under their wing. If I had a problem, I would talk to them and I get along with them well. I stay back to help them out, even if they don’t ask, as I know the value of being a team and they are very appreciative.”
“Because of this job, I have been able to buy myself a new car.”
“Kirstin is much more confident now and has moved from strength-to-strength,” Wayne said. “She has great attention to detail – she wants to know she has done a great job and takes pride in her work. The right job for the right person is there – Kirstin is a great example of this.”