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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Should I stay or should I go?

On Friday I went to a local Chinese restaurant to apply for an advertised server position. I ended up getting interviewed on the spot. I told the owner that I have never worked in a restaurant before and he was ok with that. What I did not tell him, and he did not notice, was the fact I'm an amputee. My left arm was amputated below the elbow at birth. Now, I did not consciously try to hide it, though I know I do it subconsciously.... It was cold, I had a coat on, I digress. I was hired and started yesterday. I was wearing a short sleeved shirt and I saw the exact moment he noticed on his face. A half hour later he came out front and flipped his lid because I had not told him. I told him that my "disability" had been an impediment in the past and that I felt I deserved a chance to prove myself. I told him I did not want to be automatically written off just because. I know I can do the job. The place is 90% buffet, so generally not going to be carrying 12 plates of appy's out at once. He then of course was sending one of the other girls out to test my abilities (switching out food on the steam table etc). I nailed it all. I do anticipate difficulty with the giant pots of soup but really I think that can be worked around.

At the end of the night I went to talk to him about the whole thing. I asked him flat out if he would have hired me knowing about the arm. He said no (rather sheepishly at that). I told him that is why I do not introduce myself as Jeannie the one armed girl... He would not have given me the chance to prove myself. Once he was stuck though he realized that I did a good job. He even said so...

The thing is, knowing he would not have hired me based purely on my lack of an arm makes me kinda unsure about sticking around. Am I always going to have to prove myself?

Was I really terribly dishonest in not saying anything at the start? In all honesty I'm scared to. During a job interview for a clothing store once, my interviewer noticed my prosthetic (don't wear one now), her face dropped, and she said "I'm sorry, esthetics are very important here and your arm is not esthetically pleasing. I cannot hire you". I was floored, I was hurt, and I was insulted. In an attitude typical of an 18 year old I shot back a rather nasty retort about her face and esthetics... I have never forgotten that incident, and every time I apply for a job it is in my mind...

So, do I stick around and hope that I'm not constantly watched for a fuck up that can be attributed to my "disability" or do I keep looking for something where I'm hopefully not judged based on someone elses opinion on what they think I can or cannot do?

For what it is worth, customer feedback to me was phenomenal!
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld PIN 303A5430


  1. I say you stay with the company and constantly, every single day, do an amazing job and prove to him how wrong he was to judge you based on your "disability". You've had your entire life to adjust to it, so I'd bet you're even better equipped to deal with not only the physical aspect of the job, but the emotional one. You've obviously handled the situation gracefully and I think that says a lot about your character.
    Ultimately the decision is up to you, but if it were me, I'd LOVE the opportunity to rub my success in the face of a doubter.


  2. Ok, so you want an honest opinion, yes?
    I say stick it out, to see what it's actually like. It may end up being a great job that you enjoy (maybe a bit of a stretch, but you never know, right?).
    So the guy is kinda prejudiced. Like I said the other day, if I was looking for a waitress, I'd probably be less likely to pick a one armed girl, too. Ouch, yes, but also honest. Many people who have never worked with/lived with/spent time around someone with a disability don't understand that they have adapted, or to what extent.
    I'm just saying Jeannie, he is ignorant and uneducated. You are teaching him. Even if you leave in a month, let it be because you didn't like the job, not because the dude didn't know better.

  3. If i do screw up though I don't want it to be seen as "told ya so" know what i mean?