Maria is a woman close to 60, who came to know the Work Is Progressprogram through the word of mouth and contacted us because she was curious about our activities
Maria was first diagnosed with carcinoma at the beginning of the Covid emergency and, within a few weeks, she had surgery and began preventive chemotherapy. The disease and its rapid progression shocked her, and she has not yet worked out what happened. She is also very frightened by the possibility of having to live again this situation in case of recurrence which, in her type of cancer, is 70% in the first 3 years after diagnosis.
Maria lives alone and during the lockdown she received support from friends and neighbours.
Her professional and economic condition is quite critical. In fact, Maria works as a freelance and, since she discovered cancer, she had to slow down her activity and face income problems. For this reason, she had to ask for a loan suspension.
After the first meeting with the Work Is Progress job counsellor, the following interviews were dedicated to share a plan of intervention that takes into account the multi-faceted and multi-problematic situation of Maria.
The most urgent request was for psychological support, aimed at processing the shock of the diagnosis and at maintaining a planning perspective. Several job counselling meetings are held in parallel to psychological support, with the aim of helping her to face with greater clarity, confidence and effectiveness her professional life.
Several job counselling meetings are held in parallel to psychological support, with the aim of helping her to face with greater clarity, confidence and effectiveness her professional life Maria is also on chemotherapy and the side effects occur regularly, with the classic symptoms of nausea, vomiting, asthenia and altered taste. In these conditions she believes she can continue to work reviewing times and methods and considers also a change of profession. For the first time in her life, she wishes a job as employee and asks our support for a career redesign.
During the job counselling meetings, we try to find how to apply her skills to other jobs and contexts. We proceed with: the revision of the CV, the re-construction and implementation of her network of contacts for self-marketing purposes and we refer Maria to an employment agency specialized in the placement of protected categories. At first she was not enthusiastic about this proposal and in an email, she expressed her perplexity very openly: “I have the impression that it is like the usual portals, I’m registered to many of them jet. I hope I’m wrong”. However, after the interview she writes: “Thank you so much for the introduction to the agency! I had a video interview, but a “real” job interview, in my opinion, like I haven’t had in many years!!!”
During the meetings, the woman expresses concern not only about the illness, but also about her condition of “sick and poor”. Part of our intervention is therefore dedicated to accompanying her in the understanding of the bureaucratic part related to the recognition of disability and the identification of other forms of income support. We discover that Maria, although she applied for disability, does not know the result. There is reluctance to ask for what she is entitled to, for fear of “taking advantage” of public resources that others might, in her opinion, need more. The legal/bureaucratic consultations clarify her situation regarding her disability and reinforce the legitimacy of her request and the opportunity to enrol in the protected categories, in order to enjoy the benefits provided in terms of placement. Despite the woman’s restraint, the Program also supports her in the access to other forms of income support, justified by an objective moment of difficulty. The woman was then directed to LILT and obtained a small monthly aid that, integrated with the disability allowance, contributed to her family budget, giving her greater serenity in this critical phase.
To better face job research, we proposed Maria socialization and empowering activities that she accepted with enthusiasm. In addition to individual psychological counselling, job counselling and legal and bureaucratic advice, Maria participates in a self-help group, an art therapy course, informative webinars on legal issues, webinars on oncological aesthetics and Nordic walking. These activities are dedicated to the well-being of cancer patients, to improve their general psycho-physical situation and increase their ability to cope with the most worrying aspects of illness.
Today, Maria has not been able to find a job as an employee. The woman continues to work as a freelance, realizing different activities more compatible with her new psycho-physical condition. She also enrolled in a specialization course, useful to develop further skills within her professional field. The Program contributed to her reactivation, proactivity, and greater serenity in dealing with her problems. The Program contributed to her reactivation, proactivity, and greater serenity in dealing with her problems.