This issue is about employment, employers, and workplaces, and after reading all the articles, I’m feeling an overwhelming amount of gratitude for an employer who took a chance on someone like me when I was newly sober.
Back in 1993, I saw an ad in the newspaper and mailed my resume, with a stamp, to apply for the job (no internet, no email, no cell phone).
At the time, I was living in a half-way house called Evodia with 12 other women—all newly sober like me, so when Gary Lambert, owner of “American Speedy,” a print company, called me twice to set up an interview, he was actually calling the pay phone in the hall. I wasn’t home either time and the different women who answered the calls told him I was at a “12-step” meeting and to call back later.
Back then, there wasn’t the science that there is now to prove that substance use disorder is a chronic brain disorder that affects behavior. People like me were (and still are today) judged harshly, and the consequences of my behavior were seen as moral failure.
But, regardless, he asked me to come in and interviewed me eye-ball to eye-ball.
I cried when he asked where I was living and told him everything—probably way more than he needed to hear— and at the end I said that although I hadn’t worked in quite a while, I really believed I could do the job.
He decided to give me a chance, and hired me as a desktop publisher.
I started one day a week for four hours, then two days a week, and over time I worked myself into a part-time job and then a full-time job. Because of that opportunity, I was able to learn a new technology (Ventura Publishing) and because I knew that technology, it led to my next job with Healthsource Maine, and so on, and so on.
Gary took a chance on me, he watched me quite intensely those first few weeks but I could tell that he genuinely wanted to know how I was doing when he asked.
Thank you Gary Lambert and all the other Gary Lamberts out there who give people like me a second chance, and don’t let our history define our potential.
Are you looking for a job?
Check out the article, Considering an Employer? (page 12) by the team supporting the workforce development arm of the Manufacturers Association of Maine, to help you assess whether the role and company you might be considering is IDEAL for you.