By Chrystopher Anglin
Part IV of Chyrstopher's Journey
So I gave you a little insight into me. For me, starting out volunteering was an easy way to rejoin the workforce. Slow and steady is my goal. Now I was seeking a paid position. I made an appointment with Positive Resource Center and worked mainly with Dennis Riley. When you contact MHASF, they can refer you to PRC (Positive Resource Center). All these acronyms right? First, Dennis(my job counselor) and I discussed clear cut goals - what I wanted to achieve and realistically accomplish. One of the questions Dennis asked me was how much weight could I lift and how long could I stand. Many office jobs require a person to carry at least 15-20 pounds of stuff and can stand at least 30-45 minutes. I couldn’t stand for that long so we decided that a desk job would be a better fit for me. I knew I did not want to be in sales again. Pre-disability, I was a sales associate at Macy’s and Headlines. It wasn’t for me. Selling clothes and novelty items to people who couldn’t really afford to purchase something just so I could fulfill a goal was not a job I felt comfortable doing. I decided upon office work because then I could interact with the public whether it be through answering phones or greeting people as they came in. And before you ask how is that helping people here is an example: one of my duties working at PAWS was answering calls from distraught pet owners, who had a doctor’s note deeming their pet a service animal but their landlord trying to evict them regardless. I provided them with information including phone numbers that put them into contact with housing services that could help rectify the situation.
There was also another roadblock that I had to also consider in seeking employment. The amount of my SSI (Social Security Income) would change. I inquired about how much I would receive and how much they (SSI) would deduct. I have a co-worker here at MHASF who used to receive SSI but because he began working full time, those benefits became obsolete. That was my fear. How many hours could I work without getting my SSI check substantially cut? I went to a Friday seminar at PRC (Positive Resource Center) and got more information. PRC not only gave me more information in regards to SSI but also provided support to help me with the other steps of finding a job.
My resume needed updating and Dennis helped clean up my resume. By that I mean he worded it properly, inserted the dates and filled in employment gaps in history. He also recommended a computer course, which was a six week course that taught me everything from email to Excel and PowerPoint. Through the support from Dennis and PRC, I was given a clothing voucher for Burlington Coat Factory. It was a $250 voucher to purchase clothing for interviews. I knew my presentation and look for an interview was key but this factor also tied into my overall self-esteem and self-confidence. To me, when you look good you feel good. That may sound shallow or vain but potential employers always like to see a person put in the effort. I now have a position that I am learning a lot from!