Your self-directed employment assistant
Nick Wilkie has devoted his career to working in the Human Services field. The last 12 years he has been employed by the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL), working as a Transition Specialist, then shifting to Advocacy within Public Policy. Currently, he is heading the promotion, outreach, and teaching of a new curriculum at MCIL. Check out the full interview!
What initially drew you to your particular career track?
I have always wanted to assist others and to be helpful. When I help someone else feel a sense of accomplishment in their life I believe it adds value to my own. To be honest though my career in this field found me.
You mentioned earlier that you’ve been a consumer to the kind of work that you have now. How has that been beneficial to you now that you’re in the opposite position?
I find that being a person with a disability has helped me in my profession. People that I work with professionally and in the community see that this is the case, it provides a common point of understanding. Not to say that anyone’s experience is the same, but it is something to start with and because of that I believe it makes developing a relationship with them easier.
In your career so far, what has been your biggest accomplishment or favorite moment of success?
I enjoy that I have been able to work for the same company for such a long time. I have seen so many changes but I have always been able to find focus in the process of the work that we do. Helping people make connections to accomplish whatever they would like to do. It may sound simple, but that is how it starts.
What has been the hardest moment for you?
It’s always challenging to know that I cannot solve everyone’s challenges. I don’t have all the answers and sometimes solutions are way easier said than done. I have realized though now more than ever that everyone is responsible for their own choices. We can guide them to the choices but we cannot make them for them.
What advice or wisdom would you impart on our members as they are searching for their career?
Remember to reflect often and never be afraid to celebrate the small successes that you have every day. These will help you grind through the challenging times and make larger triumphs that much more enjoyable.
Thanks again to Nick for taking the time to share his story with us!