Chad: Finding the perfect job match

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Background

Chad is a man in his 20s who enjoys physical jobs and is outgoing. He has had a lifelong interest in baking and dreams of owning his own coffee shop where people can socialize and enjoy coffee, juice and his own baked treats. He was looking for a job that paid well enough for him to afford his rent, while being accessible by public transportation. He also hoped to find a job that would keep him very busy without being too fast-paced and would allow him to be social, interacting with and helping customers. He and a job developer from New England Business Associates (NEBA) set out to find a job that would match his needs and interests.

What’s Important

When Chad graduated from high school, he was referred to NEBA and immediately began to plan with a job developer to find the right job. As a first step, he and the job developer explored his interest in food and baking. He had grown up with an interest in preparing food and had watched his mom at her job as a kitchen aide. He enjoyed making meals at home and watching the Food Network on television, and he had even won a baking contest in high school. He also had had previous experience working at a bakery during high school. He and his family had put together a list of places where he thought he might like to work, including the bakery at Wal-Mart. The job developer contacted a manager she knew to see if Wal-Mart had job openings, specifically in the bakery. A bakery position was available, Chad was interested, and after an interview he was hired.

While the bakery position seemed ideal, as he completed his first few weeks it became apparent that the responsibilities were not a good match for Chad. First, the bakery had a change of management before Chad’s training was completed, and the new management had safety concerns about Chad using the oven. Second, the work involved very early hours and was too fast-paced to be very social. As a result, Chad talked with his job developer about the possibility of another position in the store. Although the job developer clearly understood his strong interest in the bakery, she knew that there were other departments where he could succeed. Chad used Wal-Mart’s computerized job-matching program, which indicated a good fit within the toy department. He and the job developer explored this option and he was hired into the new position.

What Happened

Chad works full time with full benefits in the toy department at Wal-Mart. The job in the toy department continues to meet his transportation and earning standards. He is responsible for making sure the merchandise is well organized and well displayed. He also puts away items that have been moved or returned and helps customers find or select age-appropriate toys. He finds that interacting with the customers is a particularly enjoyable part of this job and he thrives on helping customers (including children) find the right toys. He receives ongoing support from his job developer and maintains a good relationship with his department manager. Chad and his job developer both think that the pace and responsibilities of this job are just right for his abilities. Chad also commented that the co-workers are like a family. He still bakes in his spare time and dreams about baking for his own coffee shop, but for now, he enjoys this job very much. The job developer said, "One of the payoffs is the love of the job. When he walks in the door and he's smiling…I check on him, and he's helping someone. That's the payoff for all of us."

Lessons Learned

  • Chad was eager to communicate his interests and dreams in baking with the job developer. She understood his passions and initially found him what seemed like an ideal job in a bakery.
  • It is important to consider all aspects of an individual’s job preferences and to learn from each work experience. As Chad began his bakery job, he and his job developer immediately identified barriers to his success. Even though the job tasks were a perfect match for his interests, the fast pace, the structure, and the change in management were not.
  • Instead of giving up, with support Chad found another position in the store. Although it did not involve baking, the pace, and customer interaction matched his skills and personality.

For more information, contact:
Lori Dickinson
New England Business Associates
67 Hunt Street
Agawam, MA 01001
Tel: 413-821-9200
Email: Lori.dickinson@nebaworks.com