Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Job Interview

Cathy arrived almost 30 minutes early and sat in the parking lot, hands shaking.  The building was a typical modern office type and Cathy could see the front entrance had a ramp and auto opening doors, so that reduced some of the worry, but she was still nervous.  She looked at the quickie wheelchair in seat beside her, the wheels leaned in the back seat, and her conservative business attire, great skirt and tasteful blouse, nude stockings and black flats.  She knew the industry and had lots of great experience, and she knew she was well qualified, but...

Cathy didn't need the wheelchair - at least not physically - but she needed it mentally and emotionally, she had 'felt' that she was a wheelchair user since childhood, and today she was looking to get a new job... as a wheelchair user.  It was terrifying, but as Cathy began assembling her wheelchair to wheel into her interview, she felt a familiar excitement building as well.  At her current, boring retail job she walked, but this was a new opportunity, and she had to try - for her own happiness and even her sanity she had to know; could she get a job as a wheelchair user?

She transferred into her wheelchair and straightened her legs and her skirt, then put her leather bag on her lap, locked her car, and then wheeled into the building with ease.  She wheeled in and told reception she was here for an interview.  The woman at the desk smiled and pointed her to a waiting area and asked her to sign in.  Cathy signed into the company branded clipboard and wheeled into the waiting area, nervous but excited. 

Cathy was the only person in the waiting room, which was a good sign, but between the chairs lining the walls and the wide low tables full of magazines and brochures there wasn't a lot of room for her wheelchair, making her feel more self conscious.  Fortunately the discomfort was short-lived, as she had only been there about five minutes when a middle aged man in smart grey suit came in and introduced himself as Brian, one of the hiring managers.  He led Cathy into a conference room where there was a younger woman already seated, and Cathy wheeled up to the polished conference table and smiled. 

The interview was very pleasant.  They looked over Cathy's paperwork, asked her about her former experience, asked her about worst and best job experiences, the usual questions.   Cathy was feeling very confident, and so when the woman - Lisa from Human Resources - asked if she needed any 'additional considerations' to do the job, she said she didn't need anything additional and even joked that they didn't even need to provide a desk chair, that she would bring my own. 

After the interview Cathy got a quick tour of the facility.  It didn't seem like they usually did that; to Cathy it actually felt like they were making sure the place was 'wheelchair accessible enough', as she could see Lisa from HR looking around and scanning the various areas for possible obstacles as they moved through the building. 

Cathy had a good feeling as she left the interview, but as she transferred back into her car and loaded her chair, she started feeling panicked again.  She had just done a full job interview for a big company as a wheelchair user.  True, she never said that she was disabled and had not asked for any special arrangements, but it still felt a bit crazy...   On the drive home she had all but convinced herself there was no way she would get the job, but deep down she was still very hopeful. 

Nine days later Cathy got the call and found out she got the job, as a wheelchair user, with a start date a little over two weeks away!  She was filled with excitement but also a growing fear over what she was doing...  Her first day at work was coming soon, but she couldn't wait!

No comments:

Post a Comment