Your self-directed employment assistant

Kianna Lehman has been a receptionist at Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) for almost 5 years. She enjoys her job because of how she gets to be of assistance to those who have disabilities such as herself. Her background is in Business and Management.

You had mentioned that your diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis resulted in you having to reevaluate everything you had planned for with your career. Since you’ve been with MCIL how has it contributed to your great sense of fulfillment in terms of employment?

When I first started this job I was unsure if I was even going to be able to pull off working part time. I was starting to feel like I was never going to be of any use to me or anyone else due to my diagnosis. After about 6 months I began to feel like a useful and needed part of the community again.  My job as a receptionist, Administrative Assistant helped me to realize that I can perform the job duties as any other person. It also helps that where I work a lot of the staff have a disability, so they just understand when things pop up and are very accommodating.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your current profession?

The most rewarding aspect of my current profession is getting to make someone smile and feel like someone is out there willing to help them with their current situation.  Helping those in need is very rewarding to me and the fact that I have the strength and knowledge to direct and help people with their needs.

What has been the most challenging?

The most challenging part of my profession is dealing with people over the phone.  There are times that is hard to understand people for a wide variety of reasons. I always try my best to understand what people are trying to say and what they are needing help with.  Assistive technology has helped with this aspect over time.

What has been your greatest accomplishment so far in your career?

The greatest accomplishment so far in my career is that I have been interviewed now 3 times and I have been in 5 photoshoots, I am a success story.  My confidence in myself has dramatically risen since I have started my job and only gets greater the longer I am able to hold this job.

What advice or wisdom would you like to give our Punch-In members who are in the middle of their job search?

You will be amazed at what you can do on your own with a little help and guidance.  With the right support system you can accomplish almost anything you want to. I seem to thrive on proving people wrong and showing them that I can do things that they may think I can’t because I am disabled and I do use a wheelchair on a regular basis.

Thanks again to Kianna for her time and words!

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