Chris’s drive to find work that works with fibromyalgia

02 November 2023

Chris’s drive to find work that works with fibromyalgia

Chris had not worked since 2018 due to health issues, now he’s completed six months training at Maccas Farm and learned a whole new set of skills.

Chris is a young man, who really believed that he would not be able to hold down a job due to ongoing pain from fibromyalgia and the effects on his mental health.

Fibromyalgia, also called fibrositis, is widespread muscle pain and tenderness, often accompanied by fatigue and altered sleep, memory and mood. Despite this, Chris has evolved from not being able to work at all, to pretty much working full-time hours.

Chris came to us in the middle of the pandemic,” says Interact recruitment partner Sue. “I stepped into his life in March and was able to find him a couple of hours, telling him – let’s just see how you go.

Chris has a young family and after some discussion of what kind of work might suit his needs he decided that he really wanted to give a farm job a go.

Finding the right farm for the job

I had a chat with the farmer at Maccas Farm and explained that Chris would have to work up to things slowly and that he wouldn’t be able to do more than 15 hours a week initially, and the farmer was fine with that.

Chris started work at the farm, and although he found it incredibly hard at first, he continued to build on his skills, and his hours.

“And then he asked if we could pay for some manual driving lessons, so he’d be able to drive at the farm (because he’d never driven a manual car before),” explains Sue.

“Since then, he’s just gone from strength to strength. Sometimes I ring him and he’s about to drive the livestock to the market in the truck and he’s loving it.”

Six months in and he says all the time now “I don’t know how I thought I couldn’t do this” but it just took consistent encouragement.

Ongoing support for people living and working with disability

Going forward it’s already clear that Chris will need more help, and the team at Interact are ready to give it, their support doesn’t end when a client gets a job.

“We are going to be giving Chris ongoing support,” says Sue.

“I want to get job access for him, I’ve just bought him a pair of shears with soft handles because he was finding it hard to move the handles. And I’ve been face mask shopping and you wouldn’t believe how difficult they are to choose,” she quips, deflecting just how much she’s going above and beyond in her own job to support Chris in his.

“You know some of them come with earmuffs that can cut out 64 decibels and others can cut out 32, so I went midline on that, and he says that’s absolutely brilliant.”

In the past Sue has also taken food and Bunnings kits to his family and a grateful Chris shares that, “This is the best thing I have ever done. I really think I hit the jackpot when I signed with Interact. I am so much healthier now, the food bank has been generous, and the farmer has been patient and willing to let me increase my working hours at my own pace.”

Sue believes Chris is a testament to the power of believing in yourself:

You just keep saying yes, you can, and you’ll be absolutely fine with it, it just takes a bit of trust and a more positive self-talk.

Register now to find out more about how we can provide dedicated job search support and jobseeker programs to help you reach your employment goals.

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