Sylvia D.—An Employment Success Story

by | Nov 6, 2023 | All, Content Types, Employment, Jobs, News

When someone tells me no, I talk to them to see if we can come up with a solution together. You need to talk to your supervisor directly, and sometimes a no can turn into a yes. You need to self-advocate for yourself. You won’t know unless you ask.

One time I asked to bring my power chair and the supervisor said no, but I could work if I brought my cane. I asked again next year, she said no. Then I came up with a solution, I asked if I could bring it and park it at the check in. It was a good compromise. Mr. doctor wrote me a note so I could bring it. Now, I have it and am able to use it when it is slow, so I can take a little break.

No, became YES!

I worked at Babies R Us—that was my first job out of high school. I was also a receptionist at the Westview and worked at Sunday School.

During COVID, I worked at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. I took temperatures and translated into Spanish—I wanted to give back because they helped me out when I was kid.

Work helps me meet people and form long lasting relationship. One of my former Sunday school students came back to visit me dressed as a Penny for our Penny Project event.

After a few years working these jobs, it was time to take on new responsibilities. I didn’t have experience, but I work hard at everything I do. I was talking to a friend who worked security she said she got to meet new people every day and got to help people. My friend told me she got to stand two feet from Justin Timberlake—I said, this is the job for me!”

Sylvia smiling wearing her security guard uniform.

My first day at my security job!

New things can be scary. During the interview I was asked, can you go upstairs, stand in wind and cold? Sometimes it’s really hot—we try to beat the heat.

I greet customers, check wrist bands, help people find seats and guard exits so people don’t try to sneak in to sell things.

My first day my boss wasn’t too happy because my job coach came, and they were not expecting him. We had to work together to explain his role and my needs.

I talk to my job coach John and my independent living skills worker, so I can come up with a schedule we can all agree on.

My job coach at one of my security work sites.

Being successful starts even before I have to work, it starts with my uniform and arranging transportation. I always schedule a little early so I can be on time even if there is traffic or the driver is late. Being on time is part of being professional.

One of the best things is I get to set my own schedule and select events I like to work at-not too far away, not too late at night. Sometimes it’s disappointing when I don’t get the shifts I want, but I always plan ahead to try to work events I really enjoy. I have rest days in between shifts so I don’t wear myself out. Some concerts can be difficult if the crowds are rowdy, but I always give it my best. The Orange County Fair is my favorite event.

It’s exhausting to stand on my feet for 4-8 hours and hard to work in that temperature, but we need to work and make money. I am celebrating four years now! Who knows, maybe one day you will see me working at the Oscars, standing next to one of my favorite actors, Brad Pitt! What a dream! Hubba Hubba!

OR, working my favorite TV show, America’s Got Talent. I really want to work at my favorite show, Americas got talent.

Who doesn’t like to earn more money? I learned I could get my guard card and make more and work more events Some people said no but I am going to keep with it and do it.

What I’ve learned from different jobs:

Give it 100%. If we don’t give our 100%, we won’t accomplish what we want to. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it! Honor your commitments. If you are doing something hard, stick with it. You will learn a lot. There have been times at work that have been difficult, but I keep going and give it my best. People are counting on me! Use your best listening skills. Without good listening skills, you won’t be able to accomplish what you want to do. There is always more to learn by listening. Keep advocating for yourself and others. Everything I’ve gotten is because I asked for it.

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