I love what I do because it is, quite simply, incredibly fun. Even on days where nothing has gone according to the plan or the schedule, there's always something to laugh about and find humor in. Having a sense of humor in this field is an absolute must, or else the potential drama and chaos that goes hand in hand with the job are going to take a negative toll. You also have to be able to roll with the punches (sometimes literally), and if this job has taught me anything, it's patience. Patience with myself, patience with clients, and patience with the systems that are so integrated in the lives the individuals with disabilities in our services. There's not a day that I don't learn something new or experience something I haven't before, and I honestly love being able to wake up every morning and go to work knowing that I have no idea what's in store for me, but it's going to be a great time regardless.
There are times where it can be very stressful and very intense, but no matter what, there's always going to be a small success that you can identify. Whether it's a client utilizing deep breaths on their own without prompting, walking away from a peer instead of negatively engaging, participating in an activity instead of refusing for the first time, being able to work a full hour without refusing or becoming disengaged....whatever it is, it feels so rewarding to witness all the hard work and consistency we put in to make sure our clients are living as enriching lives as possible. The smallest moments really do make the biggest impact, and help reiterate why I come to work each day. My clients are such an important part of my life and I truly care about each and every one of them. Their success is just as important to me as my own, and I am proud to work for an agency that does literally anything possible to offer meaningful and equal life opportunities for our folks.
Dana Knudson - Supported Employment Manager