Contributed by Tammy McEvoy, posAbilities Employment Service

Well trained and well prepared, I observe Bob’s move with confidence through his day. Bob is busy and hasn’t noticed yet that I have pulled up in the parking lot. I’ve come to check in with him today and see how he is doing. As I gather together my papers I’ve brought to take notes from my car seat, I can hear him through my open window. He is explaining and planning how to best go about making a difficult load fit into a customer’s vehicle and sounds informed and helpful. He explains calmly to the customer that he will need to get assistance with lifting to meet the safety regulations at work, and he calls on the radio for assistance.

I decide to go and see Bob’s supervisor first, as he is clearly busy. I find his supervisor and we briefly chat about life, camping, fishing and soon we get onto inclusive hiring. The supervisor has a lot of thoughts on the matter. He can’t understand why other people wouldn’t be jumping to hire capable, reliable and able people. As we are chatting, Bob walks up and his supervisor changes his tune. The supervisor tells me “On the other hand, we need to talk about this guy.” I’m bracing myself for this feedback and am thinking how to best support my person served. His supervisor begins to tell me that Bob is horrible, unreliable and doesn’t do his work. I’m starting to sweat now, wondering how Bob must be feeling right now – and then I hear it. Through the noise of the cars and people, I hear Bob snickering behind me. Him and his supervisor look at each other and burst out laughing. His supervisor tells me that everything is going great and they planned a bit of a prank on me. After getting over my confusion, I laugh. I realize what’s happened. This job, this place, this moment is his. As an employee here Bob has developed this as his own place, his own space. He has developed his independence in his job, taken charge of his financial welfare, taken ownership of his own responsibilities and has formed his own relationships.

I smile at the two of them and say “Ha, ha, very funny.” I let them know to please give me a call if they ever need me and I walk away fully knowing it will be me who calls them.

* Name changed for confidentiality