Post Title: Vision-Impaired | Pre-Bakery Bungles Part 1

Going through a job interview and coming out of it confident is one thing. If you missed that post, you can find it here. Tackling the actual job with low vision is quite another. I knew I was up for some challenges. I told myself, Okay, “Let’s get them over with so I can settle in to my new job!”

Getting to Know the HR Rep

I’m getting to know “Sally” (not her real name) from the Human Resources Department quite well!

We’ve talked over aspects of the job from the online job form to finances, from scheduling to my uniform! (sob!) I can’t believe all the ways I’ve inadvertently drawn attention to myself.

Many people who are blind use a speech-enabled program like JAWS (Job Access with Speech). It’s a screen reader. But I can manage with computer magnification—except I have to have “eagle eyes” so I don’t miss something.

But I usually do miss something.

Computer Complexities

My first talk with Sally came even before my training. I only completed half the forms HR needed—and I had to get them in the system before training started a few days later.

When my batch of new job recruits received their first paycheck—I didn’t. So back to Sally I went. “Yes, you provided the information for Direct Deposit but you also ticked “check” so your first paycheck will come by mail. Let’s just un-tick that box,” she said agreeably.

The next week when it wasn’t deposited, we learned I left off the last digit of my account. Sally returned to the system and put it in my records. “We caught it early enough,” she said cheerfully. It should be there tomorrow—unless there is an unforeseen problem.”

But it wasn’t there. I imagined it floating in financial cyberspace!

“It might be next week,” she reminded me that online paperwork took time. After a call to the bank, I learned I needed to know the exact amount deposited. That required another call to Sally. “Wat a minute for me to check,” she said, with slightly less good cheer. With the correct amount, the bank was able to track and deposit my paycheck.

I thought that was end of my dealings with Sally.

Calling in Sick!

But, alas, the day before I was to start my actual job in the bakery, I came down with a cold! I couldn’t believe it! I had to call in and ask them what to do. “Call Sally,” my supervisor said.

“Get a hospital slip,” she instructed curtly.

So I lost my first day’s wage, paid someone to take me to the EmergyCare, and paid the doctor co-pay.

I had a cold and allergies on top of the cold. I think this was due to staying inside my apartment during the Covid-19 lockdown—and to finally getting out in the public. The exposure alarmed my immune system.

Go figure! I’d looked for a job for over a year. When I finally got one, I had to miss my first scheduled day on the job!

The Mystery Caller

My new first day of work became the next Friday. I was scheduled to work at 8 am. But on Monday I received a phone call directing me to come in at 11:30 am instead and to work until 4:30 pm. So I went in at the new time—and I couldn’t clock in. My supervisor said, “That’s because you were to be here at 8:00.” No, no, my schedule was changed! I explained about the phone call. “According to the bakery team, you’re a ‘no show,’ she said. “Who changed it?” I searched my mind and realized I hadn’t asked. Obviously not my supervisor! “M-maybe Sally?”

“Why don’t we go and ask her?” My supervisor had a steely determination about her.

This time was in person. My heart sank.

Did You Dream It?

When we walked in, Sally frowned at me. “I … changed your schedule? I would never do that. Only your direct supervisor works with your schedule.” She made a few calls. Finally, she turned to me. “Did you dream it?”

I covered my mouth. “Oh no! I’d never dream something like that.” As if I had control over my subconscious!

“You can go back to the bakery,” she said to my supervisor. “Amy, please stay here.”

I watched my supervisor leave. “I promise you I didn’t dream it. Someone actually called me!”

Too Odd to be Made Up

“Oh, I know. It’s too odd not to be real.” Her laugh sounded genuine. But it was almost as if she were saying “We’ll let it pass this time.”

I grabbed the olive branch—what were the chances of this happening to me, a brand-new employee?! One in 1,000 probably – or however many employees that the store hired in all its branches? Lucky me!

Two More Observations

Next, she pointed out my name tag was upside down. I looked over at her, almost expecting her to tap me under my chin and say, “Haha! Made ya’ look, ya’ dirty crook…!” But when I did look at it, my name tag was indeed upside down.

Let me drown myself right now!

Sally then casually said, “Let me give you this new hat. You have some ‘stuff’ on yours. And you do, after all, work around food.”

I took the cap in a daze. “Thank you!” I said. I guess I’m not detail-oriented. What stuff could I possibly have on it? I’d had to look for it. Maybe dust?

I took it off and traded black caps with the store insignia on it. Ohh! A couple of cat hairs. Eww! So that’s what she meant by her delicately-put ‘stuff.’ Oh dear Lord. The cats probably trampled all over it. I saw an orangish-yellow cat hair. “That Rusty!” I never dreamed cat hair would be discovered on my hat—of all places—on my very first day of work!

Sally then told me she’d fixed my time card issue and I could go back to work.

Gonna Make it After All!

On the way back to the bakery, I shook my head. I was certainly on the HR radar and I hadn’t set foot in the bakery yet. I had been expecting problems but mostly vision-related, on-the-job kind of issues—not the big boss kind!

Who would ever believe my name tag would be upside down—kind of like my life!

But that’s what really living is all about, isn’t it? Ad-libbing. Handling the ups and downs. I was out in the workforce now. It was my time to learn and grow and mingle with society. God would give me courage.

I felt hope flutter into my heart! I felt like Mary Tyler Moore. The theme song to her show came to mind just then. I wasn’t “new” to the working world. But I’d been in my ivory tower writing and now I was coming out in the public on a daily basis with my low vision. It was a real test of my beliefs. How would I educate my colleagues and fit in as an integral part of the workforce?

With my clean hat on my head and in spite of the time schedule misunderstanding, I was ready to start—and show my colleagues I could work with them and serve the customers too.

I couldn’t wait to begin my shift!

In what ways have you challenged yourself despite your fears? Share in the comments below.

You have just read “Vision Impaired | Pre-Bakery Bungles Part1” by Amy L. Bovaird. © September 28, 2021. All Rights Reserved.