Bill, a native Angeleno, has tried his hand at a number of career fields throughout his life, but it was his time as a Human Resources recruiter that inspired him to begin volunteering after retiring.

“I didn’t want to just sit at home and I realized — how many good people did I reject out of hand because their resume wasn’t absolutely perfect? How many good people did I reject during an interview because they didn’t know all the answers to my questions? What a shame! What a sad thing to do. How many good people did we lose because of this artificial judgement?”

After this, Bill began teaching classes at Veterans Affairs (VA) and fell in love with the work. It was a change from his experience as a recruiter and gave him his first opportunity to assist people in navigating their job search and the workforce. His class was primarily made up of veterans who had either been incarcerated, were recovering from substance abuse, or were transitioning out of homelessness — sometimes all of the above.

Bill eventually learned about Chrysalis when staff members from the Santa Monica center came to the VA to talk about the organization. Though he had referred individuals who needed help with their resumes to Chrysalis, he was still relatively unfamiliar with us. “I’d never been [to Chrysalis], but I knew when the veterans came back, they were so much better prepared!”

Soon enough, Bill was facilitating job-readiness classes at Chrysalis Santa Monica. Though his role at the VA was similar, he realized his new audience was different, and it was necessary to find an alternative to the more authoritative teaching style that had worked well before. “I became more of a cheerleader and more encouraging instead. It’s been a good learning experience in how to reach different people.”

Though he started off teaching Job Prep 3, a class focused on interviewing for jobs, Bill later took the opportunity to facilitate Job Prep 4 – which was recently revamped as Workplace Success. He liked how different it was from the other classes, which primarily focus on the steps leading up to finding a job. “Workplace Success is, ‘Okay, you rang the bell. Now what?’”

Bill finds this class is especially helpful for individuals with a gap in their work history and those who haven’t had a traditional job before. Workplace Success helps clients understand what they should do, think about, and expect after getting hired from the first week to the first quarter and beyond. Bill often refers back to an individual who was determined to work in a warehouse, but hadn’t done it before. Once he was hired, he came to the realization that he didn’t like it. Bill uses this example to explain to his classes the importance of understanding the companies they’re applying to. “What are the moral and ethical codes? What is legal? How do you fit into the team? How do you get promoted? Does this place or position allow promotions? What is this company all about? Why are they hiring you? What does success look like in this job?” Bill asks the clients.

Bell ringings are the highlight of Bill’s days at Chrysalis. Each time one takes place during a class, he takes everyone out to the lobby to watch. When Bill volunteered at the VA, he never had a chance to see the successes, only that certain individuals didn’t return. “I didn’t know if they went AWOL or got a job. For me, it’s a really good marker to see how clients are doing. I tell clients, “Yes, I’m a volunteer, but I get paid by you ringing the bell.

Observe the person ringing the bell,” he tells his class during each bell-ringing, “because they are you in the future.”