Going In for a Handshake, Coming Out with a Lesson

August 15, 2015 | 1 Comment

by Jordan Giffney, social media intern at Second Sense

As a college student, I am told that I must pay my dues by accepting the title, The Intern. This means I spend the majority of my summer gaining work experience at the bottom of the totem pole. While finishing up the end of the semester, the hunt for an internship looked hopeless until a good friend told me about a position at Second Sense. A friendly phone call and a few emails later and I was finally employed!

Going into my position at Second Sense, I realized that I had never interacted with someone with vision loss. On the train to work that first morning I felt butterflies in my stomach in fear of what embarrassing nervous thing I would do, in true Jordan fashion. Of course, my first 30 seconds in the office and instincts kick in. I reach my hand out to shake someone’s hand. My face turned red as the man at the front desk says, “Oh, I hear that you put your hand out,” and moved his hand around to meet mine.  From there on I had a few more embarrassing moments that I realized were probably only embarrassing for me, but helped me to understand the best way to interact with someone with vision loss.

I gained a lot of experience working with social media this summer, but I learned so much more about the world of vision loss. One topic that came up frequently was the topic of unemployment. Although employment is low, I enjoyed reading about the employers who are looking past the disability to see that vision loss does not inhibit someone’s ability to finish a task. It might take a different approach or a few extra seconds, but the results are the same.

Going into my senior year, I realize my intern years are over and I will soon be thrown into the real world. Like most college seniors, I have yet to discover where I want my future to go. I do know one thing from my experience here at Second Sense. When applying for jobs I want to find an employer that is accepting of all and creates an accessible work environment. And one day when I’m the boss, I will remember to tell my employee I am putting my hand out to shake their hand.

Jordan has just finished her summer internship with Second Sense and will be returning to the University of Missouri to finish her senior year majoring in Journalism.

1 comment on “Going In for a Handshake, Coming Out with a Lesson”

  1. Fred Nickl says:

    Thank’s for sharing Cheryl. It was interesting to hear how you were acquainted with blindness.

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