- Quality of Life & Wellness
My first job taught me patience
Have you ever thought about your first job? I have, and I have forgotten how much fun I had while I was a working 20 year old. My first job was a helper at an Easter Seals center. As I said, I was 20 at the time, but it helped me appreciate helping those who are unable to totally help themselves. I had gotten this job through some type of job core program that no longer exists in the city. You tend to appreciate the programs that the government no longer has a need for after the fact. I did not get it because my parents were at the poverty level. My father made too much money by receiving retirement pay from the armed forces, and he was working at the post office at the time. My mom was working at a retail store, so I was not qualified to work the program that way. I was born with a partial missing bone in my left arm, and a totally missing bone in my right arm, not to mention an inoperable cataract in my right eye, making me legally blind in that eye. You would not know, unless you paid close attention to me, because my left eye can help me see as though I am using both eyes for sight. So I got the job, through a disability program, which was a subsidiary of the same program for poverty teens.
As helper, I sat with preschool children, who were not able to go to a regular preschool. This was something I wanted to do, after I failed to make it as a drama major at Ohio State University. The job helped me with understanding of my own disability, which was not a disability to me at all. In fact to me, it was more cosmetic then the actual being able to do something. I am able to do anything that a person without one is capable to do, except it is also a little bit more difficult to rotate my wrist like others, but I manage quite well.
The program, as I said earlier, was much like the things you do in a regular, average preschool, only it was for children who were on walkers, wheelchairs, and crutches. Some could talk clearly, while others can only communicate through sign language, or with a sign board. A sign board allows a child or adult to point to what there are trying to say to you. For instance, if a child want a cookie, they would point to a picture of a cookie. The only problem with this method is you have to wait until the child points to a new word in their sentence. So they cannot just point to a cookie, which could mean anything to “I do not want a cookie”, to “may I have another cookie. “ I learned sign language from that job, but today I can only tell you that “I want a drink of water”, “No”, “Lord”, “father”, “mother”, “baby”, and part of the alphabet.
Going to the restroom was where I learned patience. You have to walk them to the bathroom. Since I was not able to left them (for my own safety and theirs), I did not help with the wheelchair bond children. I took the ones on walkers and crutches. That was a 3-5 minute walk depending If the walker rolled along or not. Then you had to help them get on and off the toilet. You could not leave the children during that time to take care of other things, because the child might try to get off by themselves. It helps you appreciate what you can do and not take it for granted. It humbles you that there is a child who needs help for whatever reason. This is a job, that is totally different from what I am doing today, which is designing greeting cards, and scrapbook albums.
I feel like that any job you do has an effect on your current position, because you have added on a skill. You may not use that skill directly in your current job, it may be indirectly. This patience skill lead to me using it in a number customer service jobs. And in turn, working in customer service has lead me to be able to work with my clients, in order to reproduce the vision they see for their cards or scrapbook album. I have learned to take me out of the equation, and think about the client instead of what I want. Now all I want is a happy client, but a little money could not hurt as well.