At the end of a successful forty-year career as an accountant Bob took a random aptitude test. The results were astonishing.
“The test told me I should never do anything with numbers.”
His new career fits his skill set perfectly. As a Peer Support Facilitator, Bob works with people who have been victims of childhood sexual assault.
Unfortunately, Bob knows what it’s like to have been a victim all too well. He grew up on a farm with two older siblings and one younger. From an early age and as is often the case, Bob was frequently the target of teasing from his brothers, forever the butt of their jokes. By the time he was 9, an older boy from the farm down the road became a bigger threat. Using the twisted logic of predators, this neighbour had him convinced he was doing Bob a favour, easing him into sex in a way that would be less perilous, but in fact, his was the biggest danger.
At the time Bob didn’t know what to call it. Years later, when a therapist used the words “Sexual Abuse” he began to understand the impact this had on his life.
Bob spent years fighting his anger, suffered from depression and anxiety but never understood the cause until that day.
Accounting work provided stability, but within that he always chose settings with a strong social conscience. Bob spent 19 years with the International Development Research Centre, an organization focussed on developing countries in need. Relocating as a family to the challenging location of New Delhi, and travelling extensively in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka with trips to Egypt and East and West Africa as well as Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, was a significant commitment. No matter where Bob landed, his work had to mean something in a profound way.
Once retired from the numbers game, Bob turned his experience with childhood sexual abuse into a gift, allowing him to use what happened in positive ways. “I love working with people and what I do. My experience is helpful for people who have been in my situation. It tells them a good life is possible.” Now, working as a group facilitator for adults who have been victims of childhood sexual abuse, Bob leads by example. “It’s shown me a lot about myself that I’m pretty damn happy with.”
Bob is settled in his life now. Locations like Dominican Republic, Panama, and Florida are now destinations he enjoys purely for pleasure. He’s discovered the sights in Ireland, and Scotland and has driven across Canada. Closer to home, he and his wife Michele are living their ideal life on the shores of a lake in Quebec, just a 5-minute kayak paddle from their daughter’s place.
Bob is grateful for the opportunity to help others. “I’ve always been very intuitive. I can sense what a person needs to hear, or what is good for them. Getting people past the blocks that have been holding them back for so long. It’s very rewarding.”