When Joe Muculj took on his role as a gardener and home maintenance officer he found himself with a serious sense of job satisfaction. And a tan. Prior to working for Helping Hand, Joe worked for Holden. “I’d been at Holden [in the paint shop] for 23 years,” he says. “I didn’t see the sun much.” He was one of many to lose their job when the automotive manufacturing factory closed. He stumbled upon Helping Hand while accompanying his niece to a careers exhibition. “In the two weeks after Holden [closed] I applied for 20 jobs. This was the first one I applied for and the first one that responded.”
Joe started his new Salisbury South-based job in November 2017. His role is part time. There is no typical day. “Generally, we go to people’s houses so we’re helping them stay in their own homes. We do things ranging from garden maintenance, mowing, edging, pruning, planting occasionally, window cleaning, gutters, interior spring cleans. That’s pretty much an average sort of week.”
He particularly enjoys interactions with clients. ”I quite like travelling places and meeting new people. If you’ve got time, you have a bit of a chat with them and see, just generally, how they feel about things. I’ve always been interested in stories older people tell. Mum’s parents were Romanian. Dad’s were Yugoslav/Serbian, but when I was born it was still one country so I don’t differentiate. My in-laws were from England and they were brought up during Blitzkrieg, so they went through the bombings – I like hearing what they said about the past.
He also loves it when his attention to detail in the garden thrills clients. “One recently asked me to put in a hole [in their lawn] for a mini golf party!” He smiles. “I like to actually see a job done. I like to do a good job. I tend to not be very good with finishing on time because I’d like to finish what I’m doing before I leave. I like to see a nice result and a happy client.”
Since starting at Helping Hand, Joe has experienced a decrease in pain from injuries sustained in his previous role. “I’m doing pretty well. I had a back injury and I’ve only had three days of pain since I left Holden. It was all indoors… just being outdoors is the biggest difference.” He grins. “I’m not looking forward to freezing or 40-degree weather for three days in a row. If you take a couple frozen bottles of water with you, and keep hydrated and keep cool if you can, it’s fine.”
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