Never Give Up
December 15, 2017 | Express Scripts
Elaine D. is a human resource service center assistant working to address inbound calls and emails from employees and leaders regarding policies, procedures, benefits, compensation, payroll, HRIS, and other general HR information.
Up until 2011, I thought I had it all – a wonderful husband, four children, and a loving and financially secure life. My husband and I had a flourishing family business and I felt right with life. Until one day when we received the news – my husband had been diagnosed with heart issues.
My husband was not only the nucleus of our family; he was the center of the family business as well. So when he became ill and couldn’t work any longer, I knew I had to step in. We had several employees working for us and I felt compelled to keep it afloat, not only for them, but also because I knew this business meant the world to my husband. Almost every day he would ask me, ‘How are things? How is everyone doing?’ I never had the heart to tell him the truth; without him there, it just wasn’t the same.
In 2012, after one year of battling his disease, my husband took a turn for the worse, and suddenly I was a widow at 47 years old. I knew I couldn’t hold on to the company without him. So, after he passed — and with the support of our friends and family — I made the decision to close the company. It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make.
With a mortgage and two children at home, I decided to go back to school – yes me, now grandma to two new baby girls. However, it was one of the most important decisions I have ever made.
At the time, I was working at a local company while attempting to manage our family income and adjusting to life without my husband. I knew it wasn’t my dream job, so I started taking time to figure out exactly what it was I wanted to do for my career. And I kept coming back to one thing — the joy I found while running the personnel side of the family business. I knew to get where I wanted to be, I needed to further my education. So, I found the right school that offered a Human Resource Management program, a perfect fit for my schedule.
In my search, I realized my employer at that time provided tuition reimbursement as a benefit and it sparked my interest. Tuition reimbursement allots a certain amount of money for educational related expenses, such as classes and books. It’s not only a great benefit for someone like me, who finds themselves with new budgetary needs, but for anyone looking to further their education.
Not only did tuition assistance help me financially, but as I read through the program details I realized it would keep me in check too. Like many tuition assistance programs, you need to submit your grades and keep a certain average in order to maintain the benefit. With working full time and all the other priorities in life, I knew this was the right set up for me, and I was hungry for the opportunity.
While completing my degree, I accepted a new job as a human resources service assistant at Express Scripts and was excited to learn the company provided a tuition assistance program that was even more fruitful than my previous employer. My new position at Express Scripts took what I experienced through my late husband’s business to an entirely new level and I began to realize that my dreams could actually become a reality.
Sure, it’s not easy working full time and furthering my education, but I’ve found what I learn in class helps me even more in my day-to-day work at Express Scripts. Not only have I learned how to manage the many different legal aspects of Human Resources, but I’ve also learned how to successfully become the liaison for each employee I speak with, ensuring their questions, concerns, and/ or issues are handled with the same respect I would love to receive for myself.
While I can never express how grateful I am for the opportunity the tuition assistance program has afforded me, I am happy to say I am on track to graduate in March 2018. I consider myself very fortunate to have a family who supports me, an employer that provides me with the tools I need to get to my next career level and my angel looking down on me from above. I know he would be so proud of me.
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