Written by Pamela Heward
Professionally edited by Kitty Carlisle
I met Larry at the beginning of my career as a job placement counselor, He arrived one day, just as our office opened; he was eager and motivated. What was unique about Larry is that he was completely deaf in one ear and about 80% deaf in the other. Because of this, he spoke with a speech impediment. Even if I was not able to understand every word he said, there was no misinterpreting his laser focused determination. I quickly learned that he was a skillful lip reader. He explained that it had been a difficult road getting out on his own and how in the past, interviewers seemed uncomfortable when they heard his speech impediment and would quickly end the interview.
His enthusiasm and determination was contagious, though, and I joined his quest to gain his independence and land the perfect job. I introduced my clients to Larry with an explanation of his challenges and a solution he presented to me. It was brilliant in its simplicity:
If you want to speak with Larry, tap him on the shoulder first.
If they were willing to do this, he would be able to do whatever job they gave him. This was all it took to open the door to Larry’s future! The jobs were temporary assignments at first, but quickly led to a permanent full time position.
I don’t remember his particular job skills, what part of town he lived in or what level of education he completed. What I remember is his passion and determination to live on his own. He knew Why he was there and knew that he was not going to give up until he achieved what he was looking for.
I understand that finding a new career is one of the hardest “jobs” you may have. You may endure several “Nos” and several “Nothing at alls”. Do not be discouraged. Learn from Larry:
- Get clear about your “Why” and your passion for it.
- Search for people and resources that are willing to help you (don’t stop til you find them).
- Once you are given an opportunity to prove your value, be prepared.
- Whatever your challenges, remember you are not alone.