A Fear

wonderingI don’t know what I’m doing, am I thinking too much? In the words of my dad am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?

I felt like I had to write something, I haven’t in awhile, I’m too busy really. I can’t really say that, someone who is away from the house for 18 hours a day would laugh at me.

So now I’m not that busy, but with a job, and stuff to do around the house, and a girlfriend wearing an engagement ring…I’m not home 24 hours a day anymore.

The job I have now is my second job, not because I’m lazy, I just don’t think most of you understand how hard it actually is for a person with a physical disability to actually find a job. Then you take into account the the economy sucks, that just adds more wight to the situation.

I moved to Washington State in 1998, I was 14 years old. Being in a new state, during summer break, and being a sky kid due to how much I was made fun of the years prior I spent the majority of the time in a new house with my mom, dad, and sister.

On aside I heard a quote last night that I think applies to a lot of people, but I was able to connect with it because I was the kid that got picked on almost everyday from 1989-1998.

“The more you try to fit in the more you disappear”.

Back to my original thought.

In high school you got the option to take some classes that you actually wanted to learn. Which was new to those kids, and me, who didn’t experience that before.

A few years earlier when I just moved to Washington State I spent a lot my time with me family.

I might be repeating some stuff, I took a break to do some stuff, and a day later I came back to this post. And to you there in no day break in here, anywhere, so If I have or do repeat stuff just know that I paused, came back, and didn’t re-read what I already said.

My dad used to be an architectural drafter, and because of it taught me how to draw a house on a 3 point perspective. I was not that great at drawing, and that’s what I did when there was nothing to do; I may not have been able to draw a cartoon character, or a tattoo, but I could draw straight lines like no one’s business.

Years later I decided to take CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) classes. The remaining years of high school my elective classes were focused on Science/Technology, more specifically the Engineering/Drafting route.

I went onto college and three years later, with a complication with teachers quitting, received a two-year degree in Mechanical Engineering.

On a side note, I went onto public assistance when I turned 18. I didn’t know at the time how hard it would be for someone in my situation to find a job, I didn’t believe my mom; how hard could it be to find a job?

I’m in a wheelchair; I can’t run, jump, or skip. That right there takes a lot of entry level jobs and throws them out the window. And I talk slower than most, I would like to assume people don’t stereotype, but they do. A lot people that give me a job interview, if I’m lucky to get one assume that I can’t even do the job, or the fact that I talk slower makes them assume I’m mentally challenged.

Anyway, finding a job was difficult for me. So difficult that I ended up working with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Because of that I got two degrees for free, and didn’t have to pay to go to school.

The state, of the federal government,  much rather pay for my schooling to get on my own feet than pay me X amount of money for so many years.

My first job was at a manufacturing plant, and it was in Washington State, so it was at a subcontractor for a major airplane manufacture. I can’t really say their name, I think, but you’re not dumb either.

Of course the first job I had was entry level and had very little do to with engineering. All I needed to know was how big thirty thousandths of an inch was. Which is 10 sheets of paper stacked together. Assuming every sheet of paper is 0.003.

At this point I can go on a long tangent of my old job and so on and so forth, but to try to keep this post short I’ll just skip to the second time I went to school.

When I was originally hired I was promised a chance to move up to a CNC programmer. Which was not want I want to do, but it was a lot closer to where I wanted to be. Because of a change in management, an asshole becoming my boss that promise was never kept until I started asking questions.

Any good CNC programmer needs to be a machinist beforehand.

So I went back to school to get an Associates in Machining and Manufacturing Technologies. After graduation I became a “button pusher,” who was also in charge or setup and takedown.

Being in a wheelchair… I was able to stand at the machine and load, push start, and unload; but I still had to get in my chair, go grab the tool I needed, get back to my machine, park on the side, and walk back and re-set or set the tool. I don’t think they or even most people understand how much time that takes up.

They were pressuring me to go too fast, I was so focused on this, I feel into this mode of asking questions I already knew.

Eventually they “let me go,” by transferring me to Seattle. After a year of driving 112 miles a day; north I-5 in the morning, and south I-5 at night, being out of the house for 16 hours a day, when I only worked 8 of them, I quit.

Back onto public assistance I went.

During my first employment I learned what it was like to work in a production driven environment, and what it was like when your boss is an asshole at the same time.

Before quitting my job I met  a girl who was attending a university in Tacoma. We are now engaged, she also came back to Nebraska with me.

My dad moved back to Nebraska before I did, he offered me a job, the job I always wanted but never got. A year later after living with Shannon in Tacoma and testing out this whole thing to see if we could stand to live with each other we moved to Nebraska.

At that time the government shutdown was in high gear, and due to it I didn’t get the job I was told to go because they could not offer me any money. But I think there was more to it than that, six months after being in Nebraska my dad quit his job to move back to Washington and take his old job.

At that time Shannon had a job, two of them actually, she wanted to stay in Nebraska to gain work experience. We were lucky and got offered a house, a small house, right before they moved. We stayed, other than extended family that was originally here, my mom and dad went back to the Tacoma area, and my sister lives/lived on the other side of the state in Spokane.

A few mouths later I was able to get a job interview that I was not expecting to get anyways. But I managed to put my best foot forward, and it even turned into a two hour interview. Before I left to go back home the hiring manager told me to call back in two days and they would have an answer for me.

I did, I called back’ and what do I get? “We don’t think you have enough experience.” My happiness that  I felt for the last two days turned into sadness quicker then a rain cloud moving over Seattle in the middle of October.

My sister was going to get married in Idaho, Shannon and I had plane tickets to Spokane.

The night before we left to Idaho we, Shannon and I, had a conversation about me finding a job, she simply could not do it anymore.

On a side note…public assistance is not as great as some political extremists make it seem.

Yes, I was able to pay rent, car payment, gas; but that was it. Everything else feel on her shoulders.

I wrote an email back to this place that said I didn’t have enough experience. I wrote it as positive and I could, selling myself to them, and at the same time dropping subtle hints to make them feel bad.

When I got back to Nebraska I had a job. A job I was not expecting to have, but a job I’m more than happy to have.

I currently dimensional inspect the few parts that go through inspection, but I spend most of my day in front of a computer on Solidworks modeling a 3-D part, of fixing a blueprint.

I even get referred to as an engineer while at work. First of all…damn that feels so fucking good. Most people don’t get a desk job without working a physical demanding job for years.

I have a office, my office, my fucking office…damn that feels so good. I’m doing what I always wanted to do. I’m as happy as a 14 year old boy in the middle of a strip club.

While in school the second time I had the opportunity to take welding, which I didn’t; I’m jumpy as shit, every time I got the gas close enough to the metal causing a spark I’d jump two feet. Even though I knew it was coming, I still jumped. I wasn’t even afraid, but the anticipation and the sudden spark made me jump.

And to top that off I’m in a wheelchair, I can’t fit into tight spots that welders have to sometimes fit into.

I was never going to be a welder. Who cares right?

Now that I look back on it I wish I sat in on class even if I never physically welded. I’m currently fixing blueprints that require me to know the basics of welding; the symbols, the sizes, the applications, so on and so forth.

I go to my boss and ask questions. I’m afar id that he will end up thinking, “this kid doesn’t know what the fuck he is doing, why is he working here?”

I love my job, I really do. I’m not complaining about my job either. I just hope that my boss doesn’t end up thinking I’m stupid because I ask questions I don’t have any education in.

And part of my disability is a learning disability. I’m a smart man. I can finally say it, “I’m a god damn engineer,” but it does take me awhile to catch onto something new, because of it I may ask the same question more than twice.

I just hope he doesn’t think I’m stupid.

Sorry if I misspelled something, I’m sure I did; but I don’t feel like going back to edit it…as of yet.


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