Some people are afraid of change and taking chances. Others are fearless — especially when there’s a possibility to better the lives of their families.
Sherry Smith is among the fearless. There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for her autistic son.
His happiness is her priority. That’s why, when Sherry’s son was four years old, she put aside her human services career.
I was taking him to therapy and doctor’s appointments constantly. When I saw the challenges ahead of me, I knew I couldn’t continue pursuing that career. In human services, you can get so involved with clients. It can be very emotional and taxing.
But how could I give my whole self to others when I have to focus on my son? He’s my human service. I wanted to make sure he was taken care of and I didn’t want to be worn out.
I knew I would be at a crossroads with my career, so I decided to transition out.
So, she pursued a totally different path and began a career in manufacturing. For over a decade, Sherry worked in a mill manufacturing environment.
This worked well for her and her family.
Unfortunately, Sherry’s family was faced with another challenge when her son was a teenager: he was likely to not graduate high school until he was 20 years old. Her town just didn’t offer enough resources for kids with autism.
Sherry wasn’t going to let that happen.
We decided it was his time to shine. I left my job of five years and my husband left his job of twenty-two years.
The decision was easy. Sherry and her husband had zero qualms with taking chances if it meant their son could have a better life.
And so, the family packed their bags and moved to Beaverton, a town that offered better educational and career opportunities for people with autism.
Shortly after, COVID-19 hit.
Sherry lost her job and her son’s school went to remote learning. She decided to stay at home with him to help. Thanks to Sherry’s support and determination, her son graduated high school on time and began pursuing higher education!
Now that she had that peace of mind, Sherry decided it was time to re-enter the workforce.
Luckily, she had a plan. Her husband had found a great job through TERRA’s Beaverton office, and she wanted to give it a try.
My husband had nothing but good things to say about TERRA. I loved the fact that they were always calling him and checking on him.
She reached out to the Beaverton team and — in under two weeks — she landed a position!
Sherry was both scared and excited, being that she hadn’t worked in a year due to the pandemic. But things are going great.
When you start somewhere new, there’s always that anxiety over whether you’ll fit in. It was just a whole different atmosphere when I came on at this company. They seemed very happy. I have nothing but good things to say about everyone I work with.
Not only did Sherry find a position that meets her needs, we’re happy to share that her son is thriving.
Living in a small town, there were things that he wasn’t afforded, since there weren’t a lot of disabled kids and he wasn’t integrated very well. In the program he’s in now, he gets to do more reading, writing and math, gets to take cooking classes and art classes, and gets to be involved in birthday and holiday parties. He has more confidence and stays happy!
If you are struggling with your job search, Sherry has this advice:
Don’t give up when you have people that want to support you. Whatever help comes your way embrace it. Because people want you to succeed.
Congratulations, Sherry! You are an inspiration and we are so glad we could play a part in your family’s success story. We wish you all continued success!
Team Up With TERRA
Looking for a fulfilling career that makes you happy? Partner with TERRA.
We work with great local companies across a variety of industries in the Seattle-Puget Sound, Portland, Phoenix, and Denver metro areas. We can help connect you to great jobs and help you start a successful career that you’ll love!
Our recruiters are eager to help you find your next position. Contact us to learn what employment opportunities might be available to you.