Niche Article, Part II by Dunc Macdonald

After my schooling, I thought that my challenges were over, but I was so wrong. The job search process was nerve-racking.  Alliance House Supported and Independent Employment Coordinator, Luisa, set to work teaching me more about the job search process. This included inquiry letters, mock interviews, and cover letters, and most importantly, in my opinion, networking.   I learned that an inquiry letter is a document in which you identify your skillset to a company and ask if they have a position for you.   I was also taught how to do a mock interview where you sharpen your presentation for the real thing.  This is different for each person based on their own situation.  For me, it was slowing down my speech and not fidgeting.  Another thing that I learned was how to create a cover letter.   The most important lesson was how to network.   This is done by getting to know people who can help you look for the job type and industry that you want to get involved with.

In December 2010, I got a job as a document shredder with Valley Services through Jeremy who had changed jobs and wanted to give me a chance there.  I held this job for about four months. Then I had a bad fall that dislocated my left shoulder and that ended my job and made me feel discouraged.  After my recovery, I spent the next 4 months in a fruitless search for a job.   By this point I was just about ready to give up.  One day in early July, Luisa came to me and told me that one of our board members, Bill Rice, was starting a social media business and was coming to Alliance House for lunch that day.  I jumped at the opportunity and by the end of lunch, I had my first accounting job as his bookkeeper!!!

After getting my job, I discovered an even bigger challenge.   Between 2008 and 2011, there were a lot of changes to QuickBooks that I learned partially through Bill and partially through researching on my own in Google and  Bill instructed me how to create checks and design invoices the way he, and his company, needed them done.  My biggest hurdle was learning how to do bank reconciliations in the desktop version of QuickBooks, which I successfully learned.

As I said in the beginning, you will be spending almost 50 years of your life working, so it makes sense to find your niche and do something that you really love. Regardless of what your passion is, don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way. I now have a job that challenges me on a regular basis and am so grateful for the opportunity that Bill Rice gave me.  I know that I have a long way to go, but I also know that I have come a long way, and I’m enjoying the ride.  I am grateful for my education that showed me that even though I have disabilities, I also have the capability to conquer my disabilities and learn the skills I need to continue my trek.  Before coming to Alliance House, I felt my chance at being an asset to society were over. Instead, members of Alliance House and staff, showed me that I still had strengths, talents and abilities that I just needed to harness. Through the Salt Lake Community College and on the job, I honed my skills in QuickBooks, Microsoft Office and business communications.

I hope that this will light the fire within you and help you find your calling.

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