Plans Change: Job readiness (independent living skills series 12)

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 must 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.

 

Plans Change: Informal Pre-Employment Class (independent living skills series 7)

The van was late. I was anxious; and I was starting to snack on my favorite taco chips and Dr. Pepper. Because I was still upset I called an international friend in England. We chatted up a storm until the van came.

The ride to school was uneventful, and I was only 30 minutes late. When I got there, I put my lunch away and walked into the conference room. I was eager to get started with my Orientation and Mobility lesson. Come to find out, my teacher had to cancel my lesson.

Instead of going home, I asked the instructor if it was okay to stay for the pre-employment lesson. Today’s lesson was on resumes. The first type of resume we covered was functional and how we should use quantity and qualitative examples. We looked at a few examples and discussed why they were good examples.

Once that topic was discussed, we went on to a functional disability statement. I must admit I have a disability statement, however it never covered such topics such as: what my vision is like and what I can see, how I can complete tasks in my daily life such as getting around, cooking and using the computer, and allowing the employer to ask any other questions they may have by opening the conversation yourself.

By that time, I brought up the issue of employers not believing that my eye condition is not real or the fact that I am either drunk or on drugs.

My teacher is right when he says you must have thick skin, and sometimes people are just plain ignorant. He is right; when I get those kinds of interviews, just move on. It only takes one “Yes,” out of the hundreds of “No’s” I have received to achieve success.

Accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was our next topic. It is hard for me to believe that someone in human resources would have knowledge about the ADA.  That lead us onto the topic of being able to sell yourself with your assets such as keyboarding skills, how your personal technology works, ect.

The last thing we covered was the format of a chronological resume and some basic interview questions.

On the way home, beneath all the anger I felt about my job seeking journey, I thought about a story that my teacher told about a relative that had come to visit. This relative met one of my teacher’s friends who was blind and he got to learn the impact that my teacher had on this blind friend as a teacher. He gave the man the gift of independence by teaching him. I, myself, want to be as independent as possible. However, first I must figure out what that means to me.

Final Echo Dot Lesson (independent living skills series lesson 5)

This week was an exciting week for me. I am now a proud graduate of the first ever Echo Dot training class. For our final class, my teacher had me disable, and then re-enable his Echo Dot. This will help me once I get my own Echo Dot next week.

Setting it up was simple. I only had to follow the set-up menu via the app. During the set up process, I watched a short tutorial video which included information on the different skills and features (such as playing music via Bluetooth, using Google calendar, ect)

The last thing we did was allow me to explore the different skills. Some of the skills I chose for my Echo included: Weather, Flashlight, TED Talks, Sleep and Relaxation Sounds, CNN, and Meow meow.  What Skills do you use for the Echo Dot if you own one? Tell me in the comments below.

I’m eager to receive my device, customize it, and to start using it.

 

Here are five things I cannot live without (technology edition)

Here are five pieces of technology that I could not live without:

  1. Iphone: I love my Iphone, in fact, I am addicted to it.  I use my phone for just about everything from the built-in magnifier to Siri.
  2. Internet Connection: Without it I could not check my social media sites.
  3. Laptop: When I cannot use my Iphone for something, I use my laptop.
  4. Talking book player: I love to read and having my talking book player allows me to read to my heart’s content.
  5. Essential oils: I love the smell of lavender and peppermint. These scents help me stay calm and relaxed when I’m stressed out.

My talking book player

What would be five pieces of technology that you would pick?