Plans change: job readiness (independent living skills series 12)
By Amanda Nelson
I was an hour and a half early for class. I was eager to do well with my Orientation and Mobility lesson. There was a wild rain storm outside, and I was glad that one of the staff members made my classmates and I coffee and popcorn to munch on while we waited for class to start. However once our teacher came in to tell us about our assigned lessons we found out that Orientation and Mobility was canceled. We were given a choice: either take Job Readiness or Assistive Technology (AT). Since I’m doing fine with my Alexa Echo Dot I decided to stay for Job Readiness. We had two new students joining us, so we first went around the room and introduced ourselves.
Today’s lesson was on how to handle your first day on the job. We talked about the first day jitters, and how no matter if you have sight loss or not everyone gets nervous. The main thing to do is to stay focused on the task that you are to complete. I asked about having a job that you hate, and my teacher’s response was, “eat humble pie.” At this point, his Iphone came on saying, “Sorry, I can’t do that.” The whole class cracked up laughing. His phone continued to act funny by playing music, since he was having problems with getting the music to stop, we joked that he should be taking AT. He finally got his phone to stop by hitting the power button 😊
We continued our lesson with him telling stories about blind and visually impaired people showing hard work ethic and having success. One story that touched me the most was about a blind man and his wife who traveled across The United States. This thing made me raise a question about family members that are not supportive of your dreams and goals. You see, my dream job is to be able to be a freelance journalist and travel the world. I know to be able to do this I have to have thick skin and to be able to have confidence and great travel skills. That is why I am pushing myself so hard with my classes and the volunteer work that I am doing.
Despite my dream, one side of my family wants me to fit the typical stereotype of someone with a visual impairment: Get on disability and stay at home. I refuse to do that. I see myself being independent and happy.
I almost burst out in tears when both my teacher and another classmate said the way to get them to change their minds is to have confidence. That would have a stronger impact then having them attend any “Walk in my Shoes,” program; however I wish they would attend a program like that so they could better understand the training that I have received.
Then we broke for lunch. I ended up having a sweet tea, chicken sandwich with fries from Chick-fil-A.
After lunch my teacher and I did a mock interview in front of my classmates. It was nice for me to get critiqued by my classmates. I did pretty well except for the “why should we hire you?” which is a way for the interviewer to ask for the history of the company. You can also mix in your own personal connection to the company at this time. The other question I struggle with is “why do you want to work here?” this question should be answered by connecting two to three skills that you have with what the employer is looking for, as well as how your career objection fits in with the need of the company.
The last part of the class we looked at examples of cover letters. It was a long day and I was happy to be able to go home and get some rest.