Thank you to Marco Orlando for sharing this next post with us.
Before I settled into a pattern of office work in social and human services, I had a few other interesting work related experiences along the way with mixed results. I may not have lasted as long as I would have liked at the time, but I came away from each of these experiences learning a few things about myself in the end.
I did some physically demanding work in the housekeeping department of a local nursing home for a few months back in 2005. It was also very emotionally draining, and it made me realize how routine-oriented I was and how much I needed structure to succeed on the job. I didn’t like to have to guess what I would be doing every day when I clocked in, or even which days I would be clocking in each week.
I worked as a property management specialist for almost a year from August 2006 to June 2007. My primary job responsibility was handling rent collections for numerous apartments in the Bangor-Brewer area. It was my first prolonged exposure to the darker side of human relations. A lot of colorful personalities came in and out the door during that time, some more tolerable that others. I realized in the end that I was much too nice for such a cutthroat business like property management.
In between jobs, I did a wide variety of volunteer work for many different organizations ranging from the Maine Discovery Museum to the Salvation Army Family Store. I did data entry for United Way of Eastern Maine’s “Camp Bangor” project. I took inventory of pet food for Furry Friends, a division of Eastern Area Agency on Aging’s “Meals For ME” program. I even read news articles from various publications for Maine’s blind and visually impaired population through the Maine Audio Information and Reading Service, part of The Iris Network.
Eventually, through volunteer work, I started learning more about Speaking Up For Us. During the 2012 presidential election cycle, I began doing some politically motivated volunteer work. Someone I worked with at the time was telling me about what the Bangor Chapter was doing while we were volunteering, and the more this person talked about it with me, the more I thought that this was something I wanted to be a part of. I was in the process of changing jobs, which also meant a change in my schedule. I was working mornings before, and I would begin working afternoons instead, which meant that starting in October 2012, I would be available to attend regular meetings of the Bangor Chapter of Speaking Up For Us.
Through my involvement with Speaking Up For Us, I learned early on that I wanted to help make life better for people with disabilities. A huge part of my goal is to challenge what our society thinks they already know about people with disabilities and alter their perceptions of who we are and what we’re capable of. Then the next step is to fight for the changes that we want to see to make this happen. I’m very fortunate to have met some supportive and non-judgmental people through my involvement with Speaking Up For Us, too many to mention all at once, but I’m sure they all know who they are. I hope when all is said and done, I have done my part to leave the Bangor Chapter and the statewide organization better than I found it.
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The Speaking Up For Us (SUFU) blog contains views and opinions of each individual writer. The views and opinions expressed through these channels are purely the bloggers’ own and does not reflect the opinion of SUFU as an organization or any SUFU staff member.