This is a video interview with Anna, discussing her challenges in the workplace and the hiring process. Below the video is a transcript for those who would prefer just to read the interview.
Edited for clarity.
Wow. That's just, yeah, it's intriguing. Very intriguing. So my big questions are what are your challenges to employment? So that means, to getting employment, to keep it employment based on, you know, who you are.
So interviewing is my strong area. I feel very confident in interviews and I've often felt that I could interview and get hired for a job that isn't a good fit for me. I feel I have actually done that quite a few times before. So interviewing can actually be a strong area, but what can be a big challenge for me is getting started in a role. So the parts of a job that would usually be easier for most people are the parts that can be very challenging for me. So it'll take me longer to learn computer programs and in kind of step by step processes to commit those to memory. So that's really been the biggest problem and finding an employer that can work with that. Partly because the only, the only accommodations I've really been able to figure out for myself are just accepting it's going to take me longer to learn those things and kind of do a lot more one-on-ones with me or have somebody available for me to reach out to frequently. And so those are very challenging accommodations I found to ask for, and I frequently don't even know how to ask for them. And it's an interesting perspective for me to come from.
I spent six years working in community mental health as what's called a support employment specialist. So I was a career coach for people with, or for the clients receiving treatment for severe mental illness, working on accommodations, work with employers, networking for the clients, everything you can think of. And yet it's, I still find it challenging how to speak up for myself about it, especially because part of what was beneficial in my role was I was another person speaking on the client's behalf. It wasn't just them saying they could accomplish these things. It was another individual with some kind of a professional background and training saying, “yes, I know they can do these things.” So that's been a major challenge for me is kind of how to speak with employers about how that initial way I learned in the beginning can be worked with.
And it's always sort of been one employer over here. I don't have to say anything, they're just totally receptive because of all these skills I bring to the table. And I feel like the challenges are minor and they don't mind. Then I'll go to another employer and it's a big deal and I'll lose the job within the first month. So that's been sort of the challenge with having the condition I have, and I am able to master these skills. I just need to be doing it, you know, in a very verbal way.
So I do step-by-step cookbooks. One successful job back in 2007, just by chance. My trainer wanted to create a training book for the role that I was temping in. And so she asked me to help her write it, and I have never learned a, it was a processing job. It was processing certifications. I've never learned a job of that nature so quickly and efficiently. And the manager of the department would stop by my office. I was 25 and he's like, I believe your maturity. He would just kind of really compliment my abilities. And they tried to keep me there, like that's how positive of an experience it was. So I do know that I can learn those parts of a job and I can know I can even be successful in a job that's predominantly those types of things, I need to be taught in my way. And it's a challenge to figure out how to have that conversation with employers. Like I know how to talk to employers about accommodations, but it's so hard to ask for that. I just feel it's challenging since it's kind of, I don't know. So labor intensive, maybe, for the employer.