AUDITOR STORIES: A Life Changing Opportunity

I joined Serve Legal ten months ago after leaving my job in retail due to my deteriorating health. I could no longer commit to working the same hours each week and I was unable to keep up with the physical aspects of the job. For a previously active twenty year old who spent her free time dancing and climbing mountains, suddenly being unable to do a part-time retail job knocked my confidence and self-esteem massively.

This is where Serve Legal made a huge difference to my life. Firstly, I could choose when and if I wanted to work, meaning that I could prioritise my health over my job as I no longer had to worry about flare ups or hospital appointments getting in the way of contracted hours. Plus, the managers at Serve Legal are brilliant at communicating! There's newsletters, a Facebook group and it's always easy to find out who to contact if you need help, have any questions or want to know what audits are available and where. This creates a wonderful environment to be a part of, especially for someone like me who may not do any audits for a period of time but is still reminded that they can begin work again whenever they are able to.

Secondly, whilst I'm incredibly fortunate to have parents who are financially stable and very understanding of my illness, it felt great to be getting paid again. I'm lucky that I don't have to worry about paying for things like rent or groceries, but it was difficult adjusting to having no income of my own after working since I was sixteen. Earning some money made me feel useful again and gave me something to be proud of myself for.

Lastly, working for Serve Legal meant I felt less embarrassed in social situations. Something no one prepares you for when you become chronically ill and disabled is having to answer uncomfortable questions about your life and usually about your career. Whilst it's no fault of your own if you are unable to work because of your health, people are often judgemental or pitiful towards you when you tell them this.

Being able to say that I'm an auditor who works for Serve Legal has been a life saver for me! I may not be at university as originally planned, but I am working, I am contributing towards an important company and I am part of a supportive team. So far, I have only completed home delivery audits as I was able to do those from home. These involved reporting back to Serve Legal on the interaction I had with the driver when they delivered alcohol, mainly whether they followed the 'challenge 25' policy and asked me for ID. I'm eager to gain more experience though and have recently applied to do wider compliance audits, such as allergen, betting and tanning ones, so I am hopeful that there will be some available in my area!

Finding a job that suits your accessibility needs can be incredibly hard. Whether it's needing flexible hours, a job with no physical requirements or the ability to work from home, there are so many reasons why chronically ill and disabled people struggle to find work. I'm incredibly grateful for Serve Legal and I am excited to continue working for them as I learn to manage my illness to the best of my ability.

Auditor, Izzy Tierney May 2023