Doug Wilson: Eleven years on the job and still going strong

Doug Wilson is sitting at his desk in his office and is looking at the camera. He has glasses and a beard and is wearing a blue jacket

As we write this joyful tale, the hero of our story – Employment Consultant Doug Wilson – has just celebrated his eleventh anniversary on the job! Not only has he been around a long time, he’s an inspiration to many of us. We were keen to discover his secrets to longevity, calm resolve, and quiet enthusiasm.

In the beginning

Doug’s journey in this business started way back when he owned a hardware store in South Bunbury. It was a family business with him at the helm. Doug ran the store as a one-man-band, but with support from Rainbow, his irrepressible artist-and-author wife. As the years wore on, he found he was tiring and considered hiring staff to offer some relief. He connected with Forrest Personnel through a friend, and his first participant arrived at the hardware store in the mid-2000s.

Different perspectives

Over the course of two years, Doug employed three participants. His eyes sparkle as he recalls each of them, their names and details of their journeys. He told us about Simon and his left-field sense of humour. “I appreciated how he could see things through a different set of eyes,” recalled Doug. “He had a goal of working at Bunnings and got there in the end,” said Doug.

End of an era

When the hardware store came to the end of its natural life, Doug was inspired to join Forrest Personnel as an Employment Consultant. This is the work he’s been doing for 11 years now. Doug has supported many, many people with injury, illness and disability to find and keep sustainable employment.


We pressed on and were keen to hear about the highlights. What were his golden moments, we wondered? What does he reflect upon to inspire him to move forward? In response, Doug talked about Worsley and how our work with them grew from two participants working two days a week, to 18 people working five days a week. To us, that sounds like an impactful journey for both employer and participants alike. He also told us that: “building rapport with participants makes the job so, so much easier.” He went on to say that: “when someone is able to look you in the eye, you know they are well on their way.”

Living in the now

These jewels, these beautiful tales bring to mind a book by Anna Quindlen titled A Short Guide to a Happy Life. In this slim volume of prose, Anna tells us that: “Life is made of moments, small pieces of silver amidst long stretches of tedium . . . We have to teach ourselves now to live, really live . . . to love the journey, not the destination.”

One step at a time

Doug Wilson’s been on a journey that he’s loved. He doesn’t need to say it. The sparkle in his eyes tells us so. These tales that he tells of participant successes are his successes too. He’s focused on the steps, even the small ones, and not on any particular destination.

As for talk of retirement, well, we didn’t get that far. Perhaps that’s a good thing because we think Doug’s a blessing for us and everyone else.

Photo: Doug Wilson in his Forrest Personnel office, September 2020. Photo: Rob Cox, oxy images

Forrest Personnel is a local charity. We specialise in supporting people with health conditions, injuries and disabilities to find and keep jobs.

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