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Jump back May 4th, 2007 Go forward

The following is a quote from a press release put out by a company called Gila Corporation:

May 4, 2007 - Austin, Texas - Gila Corporation and the Texas Division for Blind Services have successfully completed the transition and hiring of Phillip Gross, a new blind employee.

“It took me more than a year to find a job,” says Gross. “Luckily, I was able to live on savings and money I earned riding bulls in the rodeo.”

That last paragraph explains to me one likely reason why Mr. Gross was hired--not because he is a blind man who has ridden bulls in the rodeo, but because he is a blind man who was daring enough to ride bulls in the rodeo, and this self-confidence comes through in his personality.

I am not totally blind, and I don't know if Mr. Gross is, either. But I do remember, when I was attending the Job Club program that my caseworker referred me for, we had a guest speaker one day named Jef Huntley (sp?). Jef had gone blind from an accident at work, and this was catastrophic for him. Fortunately, he began receiving DBS services and training within five months of going blind and went into intensive independent living skills training. When I met him, I think he had been blind for two years. He is a participant in the Business Enterprise of Texas (BET) program and is a self-employed food vendor.

Upon listening to Jef talk, I could see why he had a job and those of us in Job Club did not. Jef was outgoing, full of energy and drive. You would not realize, to listen to him, that he had an impairment. Those of us in Job Club were mostly introverts and a lot shyer than Jef was.

But you can't be shy, passive, or introverted if you are a blind person out job-hunting. Annoying as it is, you sometimes have to be able to fool the interviewers into forgetting for a time that you can't see either well or at all.

I once got turned down for a job at the Lighthouse, of all places, because I had a visual impairment, the job was extremely visually-oriented, and the person hiring didn't want to 'set me up for failure.' Only after she interviewed me and saw that I wasn't as impaired as she had thought I would be, did she warm to the idea of hiring me, but by then, of course, I no longer had any desire to work for her. It was a very sharp lesson in reality. You have to overcome people's preconceived notions of what blind people can't do, sometimes even among people supposedly in the rehabilitation field.

Well, let me tell you, until today, I'd have said there was no way in Hell that a blind man could ride a bull in the rodeo. Yet he does, and it impressed the heck out of me. This reminds me of the old saying, "A woman has to work twice as hard as a man to impress someone half as much." I don't think that's as true for women now as it used to be, but I do think you could substitute the phrase, 'disabled person,' and it would be pretty accurate.

And the job I got when I was finally hired? It was to be the receptionist in my office. But they weren't just looking for a receptionist; they wanted a visually-impaired one, as a way of motivating the consumers. "If the legally-blind receptionist can work and work well, so can you."

In other words, the job-hunt agenda thing goes both ways.

Current Mood: contemplativewry

The recital went pretty well. Mark, our friend Donna, and Mark's Dad and stepmother came.

It was quite nice, with some good singing and piano playing by quite a few of the students.

High points--A boy named Ryan playing the Marine hymn. The gentleman sitting two seats to my left was obviously a former Marine. :) He liked hearing that song a lot, and he applauded it enthusiastically. I don't think the rest of the concert made much of an impression on him. I suspect his wife or lady friend dragged him to it. (g)

This one girl who sang a mile-long soprano passage. She did take a breath or two, but that was only to make the passage even longer. Maybe someday I will have breath control like that. Wow!

A girl who sang a song called "The Fairy Pipers." She was quite good.

Sam, one of the other adult students, who sang "I'll Sail on the Dog Star" and something from Cosi Fan Tutte about a man trying to woo a woman by pointing out his fine looks--his eyes, his nose, his moustache, etc. What made this very amusing for me was that I could understand some of the Italian, and that just made it hilarious.

It was interesting when people performed both piano and voice. Usually, the performer was clearly better at one than at the other.

My own performance was good in some points, not as good in others. I still do not sing very loudly, and the accompaniment on one of the songs needed some help--but it's a difficult piano score, so I knew that would be a problem. I think I sang "Tu Lo Sai" better than "Nel Pur Ardor" this time.

It's really hard to know how you did when singing before friends and relatives. It's hard to get a really objective assessment from them. Mainly, I trust Donna's opinion more than anyone else's, except my music teacher's, because she is a musician, herself.

Which is not to say that I don't like praise, but I want to know that I deserve the praise. Having my family tell me how good I am doesn't help much, because I was the one singing, and I knew when the flaws happened. On the other hand, there's a difference between being the performer and watching the performance. Sometimes, the audience genuinely doesn't notice the flaws. So all you can really do is graciously accept the compliments, even though you sometimes don't think you deserve them.

And I have to say, I'd much rather have family and friends who compliment the performance than ones who would do nothing but criticize it.

Anyway, it was a good evening. We went home after that, and Donna and I sang together while she played her guitar. She really does have a fantastic voice for folk music. :)

Work: Another plus--I did a bit of networking for my job at Bayou Manor! I met a lady on the facility's BoD and spoke briefly with her about DBS. I was so happy to be able to do that. She now has a pamphlet and a business card of the caseworker who covers the ZIP code where Bayou Manor is located. I hope to have the caseworker call her this next week.

Current Mood: pleasedpleased
Jump back May 4th, 2007 Go forward