VR Customer Lands Job with the IRS

T.J. Sullivan photo

Jacksonville, FL – Four years ago, Thomas “T.J.” Sullivan, who is Deaf and at the time was also frustrated with a difficult job search, came to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) for help finding a job. He had recently been laid off by AOL and was looking for a new direction.

Leah Gallardo, T.J.’s VR counselor, provided counseling and guidance and therapy to help him cope with the frustration of not being able to find work. A career assessment helped him figure out what type of job would be best for him. Leah also arranged for T.J. to have an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter and a job coach. “The therapy and job coach VR provided T.J. really helped him develop a positive outlook and attitude. It helped him become a good candidate for employment,” Leah said.

T.J. had difficulties during his job search, but then things started looking up. He found a temporary position with the PGA Tour. He then found an additional position with the IRS. T.J. had told Leah from the very beginning that working for the IRS would be his dream job. T.J. is now a secretary for the IRS, working with seven IRS estate tax attorneys and one paralegal specialist.

When he started his new job, it took a lot of guidance and counseling from Leah and his job coach, to give him the encouragement he needed to perform the job duties and tasks. Now, he is more confident, both personally and professionally.

When Leah mentioned closing T.J.’s case after he had been successfully employed for 90 days, T.J. was reluctant to do it, because he did not feel he was ready to be on his own. Leah pointed out how far he had come in such a short time, and helped him realize he had made great strides in his new career.

T.J. is very grateful for all of VR’s support and is glad his VR counselor was so patient with him. “Even though I am content for now with my current jobs at the IRS and PGA Tour, I hope to build on and make the best out of what I have in order to see where this will lead me with the IRS down the road,” he said.

When asked if VR could use his story for a success story in our newsletter he replied, “I am humbled that you would like to share my story as being successful. While I would not know exactly how successful I am, since it’s only my fifth month at the IRS and a year part-time at the PGA Tour, I certainly would like to see VR clients not give up on their job search, as there were times I felt like there was no hope. Now that I have these jobs, I appreciate them.”

T.J. continued, “And if a VR client is still trying to find work, don’t give up. Be willing to start somewhere, once they give you an opportunity with an employer, and do your best because better days will come to you in your career.”

Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation program is committed to helping people with disabilities become part of America’s workforce. Our employer-focused website, FLJobConnections.com, allows businesses to search at no charge for employees who are ready to go to work, as well as to post available jobs. VR has 80 offices across Florida, and last year helped 6,071 Floridians with significant disabilities find or keep a job. For more information about VR and its services, call (800) 451-4327 or visit Rehabworks.org.