Volunteering gave me the opportunity to find a whole new career

Posted on April 13, 2016

After suffering a debilitating illness, Isla used volunteering to start again and land a job with our partner Social Investment Scotland.

Isla 3“I was really lucky when I left uni. Thanks to a family contact, I landed a great job with Dermalogica in Vietnam. I just thought ‘this is it, this is my life and it’s great!’ Then, one day I went to the doctors as I had a sore throat. Out of nowhere I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.  Isolated in this creepy doctor’s office and told I wasn’t allowed to go outside because of the disease and if I got hurt I would be in serious danger. It was such a surreal time in my life. I was trying to get in touch with my family, my travel insurance – anyone.

I stayed on steroids for just over 4 months – it was awful. I took such a bad reaction to the medication, I didn’t go out, had no energy, felt really isolated and down – on top of that I’d lost out on my 2 year employment contract. It was like I was back at square one except I didn’t know how to get started again.

I started volunteering because it felt like a ‘no pressure’ way to get back into work. I’m so glad I did – volunteering is the most valuable thing ever. Some people don’t see the value but it’s the perfect opportunity for people that maybe can’t go straight into full time work.

I felt so lost when I started, but it was empowering to just be told ‘thank you’, it was a really professional experience that absolutely contributed to my sense of self, not to mention an amazing job at the end of it.”