Working with my supervisor Mel has been real rewarding. She has been a strong advocate for visually impaired and blind workers. She has fought to help keep things accessible for me at work. I’ve worked a few jobs, and she really gets it that blind people as a whole can be productive. I honestly feel as an equal working with her. She goes above and beyond to make us feel as a normal worker.
I’ve been on several interviews where people just couldn’t comprehend how a blind person could do that job. I had an interview with an insurance company in Denver so I’ll give you my schedule. I woke up at 2:30 in the morning in Muncie Indiana, caught a bus to Indy, for a 7 A.m. flight to Milwaukie, had a few hour layover, and then finally on to Denver. I arranged transportation from my hotel to the interview the next morning. I walk in the door, and this guy who turned out to be the owner of the company says “this job will have a lot of transportation involved with it can you handle it? I then recounted my past day of traveling to him. When anyone else came in to the room he never asked that question to any other person. He automatically drew a perception from seeing me. In the interview process I spoke to a woman who asked me about Robin more than about me. It was insulting to fly all that way to be treated with such little regard.
I’ve interviewed for several radio jobs, where I will go in and work the board, and show them my skills. At the end they’ll make a comment like I couldn’t do that with my eyes closed that was amazing. It never leads to a job usually; because when they call to reject me if they do they’ll say something to the effect of we just don’t know if we could make it work. The blind unemployment rate is such a problem. It is at this moment 63%. I’ve seen as well that blind people usually have a higher educational degree from college. I know I’ve seen studies that put it above 50% of us.
Getting back to Mel she treats us like family. For my birthday this year she got a bunch of us together and coordinated a trip to a Japanese restaurant. For holidays she’s offered us a place to go if you’re from out of town on her team. I honestly can’t thank her enough, because while I shared 2 examples here, but the job finding process, and job environment can be interesting. At one of my jobs I was a supervisor, and one lady who worked with me said she couldn’t leave for lunch, because someone sighted needed to be at the facility all the time. I advised her I was a supervisor and she could leave, but she wouldn’t. I’ve never felt this way at Humana with Mel. I’ve always felt like a person, and that’s a much healthy environment for me.