Richard’s Story: Believe in Yourself

Friday, February 01, 2013

Looking for work can be difficult. Looking for work when your head is filled with thoughts of how you can’t make it, can’t be successful, and will never hold down a job would make most people stay in bed and never try. Not Richard. Richard is an adult with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) without the hyperactivity.  For most of his life Richard had doctors and professionals telling him he would never graduate from high school, never be able to be successful at a job. The ‘never do’s’ were adding up, outnumbering the ‘can do’s’ Richard knew he was capable of achieving.

“When I was looking for work, my self-esteem was really low,” says Richard. “With the constant rejection from employers, I started to believe that maybe the professionals were right and I was never going to be successful in landing a job”.

If Richard had let the negative talk win, and stopped reaching for success, his story likely would have been very different. Instead Richard kept going and discovered Champions Career Centre. There, he learned to assess, appreciate and take advantage of the things he ‘can do’, quieting the ‘never do’ discussion in his head.

“Champions was the only place where people were telling me that I could do something and that they could help me figure out what those things were,” says Richard.

At Champions Richard received the training, advice and support he needed to set short and long term goals. Training involved practical job seeking assistance, like how to tweak his resume to focus on his strengths, skills and abilities and present himself as a qualified job candidate. Advice included how to talk to potential employers and how to effectively disclose his disability. Support meant encouraging words, constructive feedback and a place to belong.

“All those skills were great and they helped me land a job I really enjoy,” says Richard. “But the greatest gift Champions gave me was the feeling of acceptance.”

Today, Richard is gainfully employed with a local Security company having just completed his Alberta Basic Security Training course to become a Security Professional. “As far as I know, there aren’t too many people with disabilities working in security,” says Richard. “This comes with many more challenges, which I gladly take on to prove the professionals wrong.”

By working with Community Partners and employers, Champions Career Centre helps break down the barriers to employment, so that individuals like Richard can find and maintain meaningful employment.


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