We sat down for a short Q&A with Joe to talk about his new job.
Q: Tell me about what you do at your job...
A: The first thing I do when I get in the door is pick up my uniform. Then I sanitize, which is very important when working with food.
Next I spend the first half of my shift setting up the dessert section of the buffet. There is a section of sugar free desserts, six flavors of gelato, and four or five varieties of cookies. We also usually have crème brulee, cream puffs, flan or german chocolate cake. My job is to plate and place the desserts.
In the afternoons, after my lunch break, I prepare desserts for the next day and also help with serving customers.
Q: What do you like about your job?
A: My favorite part of the job is the customer service. I love interacting with the customers and giving them recommendations.
In my last job, I worked in retail where we had to approach customers within 10 seconds. This was somewhat stressful. I enjoy my new job because now the customers come to me!
Q: What has changed for you now that you have this job?
A: Well now, I’m getting paid more! I’m also getting used to a longer shift. This is my first full-time job so it’s been a little bit of an adjustment. Fortunately the environment here is great and four hours often feels like half an hour.
I’m also getting benefits, which I’m very grateful for. I realize that many people don’t have benefits with entry level jobs.
I'm glad to have found such a great place to work. Rivers Casino has actually been voted as one of the best places to work in Chicago.
Q: How did you choose this job?
A: I didn’t actually plan to work in this field, but I was looking for a new job and this seemed like a great fit. I liked the idea of working for a casino and the hours were what I was looking for (no overnight shifts for example).
My attitude in this job has been “I’m going to make mistakes but I’m going to learn from them.” That has helped me so far.
Q: Why is it important for you to have a job?
A: Having a job is a step towards independence. My long term goal is to move out of my parents house and to get my own apartment. This job will help me do that. It also is helping me become more financially stable.
Q: Why is it important for businesses to hire people with disabilities?
A: It’s important because when you look at anyone and see something that is on the surface - like the color of their skin or the fact that they have a disability - that doesn’t actually tell you anything about the person. That thing does not define who they are. There’s so much more to a person than labels and all anyone needs is to be given a chance to show who they really are.
Q: Tell me about yourself. What do you like to do for fun? Do you see friends or family? Hobbies?
A: I try to hit the gym regularly. I also collect and watch independent and low-budget films. Recently, I have been trying to attend meet-ups as well. I also go to weekly Pub Trivia, which is a lot of fun.