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How Did a Job Change Everything For Chris?
October 1, 2019

How Did a Job Change Everything For Chris?

In recognition of National Disability Employment Month (NDEAM) throughout October, please enjoy this story of one NYSID employee’s employment journey, from the challenge of a disability to the achievement of the right job.

My journey from being a UAlbany Great Dane to a NYSID Employee

By Christopher Payne

When I graduated from the University at Albany last spring, I was anxious about what was going to happen next. I thought about nothing else except finding a job. In January, I interviewed for a job in downtown Albany. It was exciting because I was not even out of college yet.  

I prepared and prepared, and worked so hard to interview well. During the interview, they smiled and seemed happy with my answers. “You are smiling,” I said. “This must mean you really like me!” They continued to smile and even giggled after my observation. These were all good signs.

About a month later, I received an email stating that they found better candidates, which disappointed me. I felt like I worked hard for nothing and became anxious that I would never find a job. Next, I applied for about 10 different jobs and received one interview, which turned out to be a job that I was not interested in. 

In May, when I was supposed to be happy for graduation, I felt deeply anxious about a job for me. At the same time, I began to volunteer part-time with the Autism Society of the Greater Capital, while still searching for permanent, full-time work.

A few weeks later, the Executive Director asked if I wanted to be considered for a job at a place called NYSID. She explained that this was a temporary position that could lead to a permanent, career-oriented field. When I came to NYSID, I was interviewed by Eileen McCarthy and my future boss, Tim Mott (sorry to spoil the ending!). They asked about how well I performed in college, what activities I accomplished in college, and whether I possessed the skills that they were looking for in the job.

When I left the interview, Eileen stated that I did a good job. This was a BIG sigh of relief.

Shortly after the interview, I had my wisdom teeth removed. During that week recuperating, I hoped for a response from NYSID. “What if they picked someone else and did not let me know?” I thought to myself. “What if I did not get this amazing opportunity? Then I might be working at a minimum wage job that I did not enjoy.”

Imagine my happiness when I was offered the job. I could not wait to work at NYSID as a Commodities Administration Specialist Assistant. On my first day, I met many people and was given my own desk with a phone and a computer.

As I settled in, I learned to use the Share Point and Great Plains data systems, and did data entry and contract work. I also helped with some marketing projects and learned more about NYSID. I loved NYSID so much that I did not want to leave or seek other employment opportunities. To my surprise, Maureen O’Brien (the She-CEO of NYSID) and Eileen discussed keeping me on as a permanent full-time employee.  

I became a permanent employee of NYSID on September 16, working with three different departments: Contracts, Business Operations and Marketing & Communications.

I like my job because I am doing different things on specific days. This job has fulfilled many things, including my purpose in life, having great fellow employees and bosses, and better yet, earning a paycheck. My paycheck helps me to save up for future events, like renting an apartment or buying a home, as well as becoming more independent and less reliant on other people. If I did not have this job, I would be working a minimum wage job or working in a job that I did not enjoy as much.

Another thing that I like about my job is that there is no end date in sight. It brings me great pleasure to know that I will never have to worry about finding another workplace. Without this job, I do not know what I would have done. My dream job would be what I have right now!