Greatra Mayana

Career & Employment Opportunities

Rikki Poynter – Job Hunting While Deaf


Hello. So in this video I’m going to talk to you about my experience job
hunting while being deaf. So you know how society
always tells you that you’re gonna go to school,
you’re gonna graduate, then you’re gonna go to college or you’re gonna work
or you’re gonna do both and then you move on from there in life. So I had that mindset
because that was fed to me constantly when I was in school. I graduated high school in 2009 and I actually took a year off from that because I was just, I’m tired,
I’ve done all this school and now I just wanna rest. So I did that and I also
took that time to try to find what I could possibly do. During that year I didn’t really know
what I wanted to do, I didn’t know what skills I had, I just felt really down about myself. And this was back when
I wasn’t as confident as I am now as a deaf person. Like, I didn’t find deaf culture
back then or any of that. I was the only deaf person
that I knew, really. So, eventually once I
finally got my license, I got my license late,
which is also a reason why I didn’t do any job hunting
at that time or anything, I went and started looking for jobs. And all I could think about
at the time was applying to stuff like McDonald’s,
or Walmart, Taco Bell, basically your basic fast food
places and retail stores that don’t really require
a lot of experience. Those are the jobs that you apply for so you can get the
experience to move on higher. So I did that and I was applying to these kinds of shops
for four years, four years until I finally got a job
interview at Chipotle. If you don’t know what Chipotle is, that is like a Tex-Mex restaurant. Kind of like Subway
but for Tex-Mex food. And I finally got an email, four years later,
finally got an email, “Hey, come in at this time, “we’re gonna have an interview.” Okay, awesome. And what I did do is
I actually replied to the email letting them know that I’m deaf, so that way we can try to
figure out how to communicate before actually getting there and making it this big surprise. So when I got there I was like,
“Hi, did you get my email?” And they were like,
“What email are you talking about?” So, nobody knew that I was deaf and I had to explain it to them and I had to explain,
“Hey, can you look at me?” I need you to look at me, this a very loud, noisy environment,
I can’t read lips very well and yeah, I speak, but that has nothing to do with
my level of hearing loss, right. So, we get there and the interview
was honestly a disaster. She had a very strong accent first of all, and then she would also be turning her head. If I’m sitting right here and the woman is sitting over here, and then she’s like, looking down and if you’re deaf too,
you’re hard of hearing, deaf, whatever, if you have
hearing loss like me, then you know how
frustrating this is. Because I was like, “Hi,
I’m not understanding what you’re saying, “I don’t wanna mess this interview up.” It took four years to
get an interview, right. Because when I was
putting on applications, on half the applications
I didn’t put that I was deaf, on half of them I did put that I was deaf and either way I didn’t get
an interview at these places. And so, I was like,
“Hello, please look at me.” And she’s like, “Oh.” But she just kept doing
it over and over again. And it actually got to a point
where I was like almost, not literally climbing over the table, but I was kind of leaning
forward so I could try to look at her whenever
she would move her head, because I didn’t know what else to do because they don’t get it. These employers just don’t
get it sometimes, you know? When you have issues when
trying to get an interpreter, court or any of that stuff. And you’re just like, hi,
I am deaf or I have hearing loss, I am hard of hearing, whatever,
I need you to look at me because that is the best
way that I’m going to be able to understand what you’re saying. And even then, it might not be perfect, but it’s going to be better
than if you were just like, constantly moving your head around. So I could tell that she was probably
getting really frustrated with me, because I was constantly
asking her to repeat herself. And she wasn’t gonna
write anything down for me and needless to say, I did
not get a second interview. She said, okay, well if
you get an interview again, if you get a second interview, then we’ll contact you tomorrow. I was like, okay, cool, awesome. And I got an email that said, you will not be having a second interview. So, okay. But yeah, so it took,
after four years of applying to normal retail jobs, whatever, I thought, this isn’t working. For some people it could work. For me, it’s just not working,
I didn’t know what to do. So I moved on to YouTube, some of you probably
recognize me from YouTube. And I work for DTV News with
Deaf Professional Arts Network, you know, D-PAN, and I am a news writer. I write the news for them
and I have my own business, it’s a startup kind of thing with public speaking and what have you. This is to the employers out there, if you’ve got a deaf applicant
that is coming for an interview, work with them! We’re willing to meet you halfway with anything that we need
or even what you need. Write back and forth
if the person is oral, like I grew up being oral,
hence me talking right now. I can talk, you can type or write,
we just meet halfway. Because deaf people are
trying to find jobs, too. We all have bills to pay, we all have stuff
that we need to do, we gotta live and that
comes with having a job. But it’s very difficult to get a job if the employers are non-willing
to work with us. I guess if you’ve had any
struggles with finding jobs, especially in your younger years when you’re new at this stuff and it’s just really, really overwhelming, just leave them in the comments below. And I’ll see you later. Bye.

11 Replies to “Rikki Poynter – Job Hunting While Deaf”

  • My HOH daughter volunteered at the local library for about 6 months before they offered her a part time job. She does the job very well. She is still unsure and not very confident though. Still working on getting a license, hopefully that will boost her confident level. Thanks for your videos.

  • Your video is very interesting. I don't have a job and I never had a job because I had a little bit of doubt of communicating between myself and hearing people because most people I come across talk really fast or their voice is clouding the word that is coming out their mouths, so much more. It put a lot of pressure on me 😟… Now I watched this videos, it kind of make me want to give a go/get job. Thanks 😊 and by the way your very attractive woman 😄

  • Sounds to me like this employer was incopitant to begin with, dispite the fact that you ar deaf, because she was not paying attention to you and keeping her mind on the interview at hand.

  • It is very challenging to find a job when you're deaf. I can hear and speak really well. I have a cochlear implant but my weakness is phone call. Rehabilitation Services didn't help me that much because they don't reply your email as soon as possible like they should. I'm working at grocery store as a full time but want to have a better job. I had few voicemails from different places that said I have an interview but call to make an appointment. I had to get rehabilitation service to contact them to let them know that I can't do a phone call because I'm deaf. And then, I had an email that said they turned interview down because I'm not fit for this type of the job. I was so furious. My close friends and family think cochlear implant means you're not deaf because you can hear. They're wrong! I don't understand why people don't give us a chance. I was born and raised to act like I'm hearing which I'm not. I don't know what to do. I'm so confused with my life but I'm not giving up. I found out CaptionCall Mobile IPad could help me with a phone call. Hopefully, that'll change my life. I'm 25 and I'm from Alabama.

  • Oh I had trouble for many years, failing interviews, failing phone interviews. People who are being nice to you one, minute, until it dawns on then that you are deaf and they suddenly become distant. I only ever got temporary work. And some of them would send me home in the middle of the day. Your doing it wrong, because I misheard them. Your making too many mistakes. As a result I am unemployed still, in a bit of a financial pickle, living off peoples good will. I gave up looking for work. not because I did not want to work. But because I actually got nowhere, I spent time and energy, blood, sweat and tears on it. It just seemed I was wasting my time. where is my reward, for working hard to achieve employment?

  • So much this. I grew up oral, can speak well, and have been job searching for a bit post-college. I am sorry it took four years to find that sort of situation–props on the perseverance by the way (I'm on six months so far and I can't imagine 8 times the wait), but you certainly made the best out of it. You took to your experiences, changed your situation, and became vocally inspirational. Would you consider coming to Alaska and speaking for high schools in my area? I feel that our stories are similar, and students like motivational speakers that make the best out of poor circumstances. Wisdo message for deets if you're at all interested about it. Anyway, I dig your stuff, and I wish you the best.

  • Experienced much the same post graduation, each time, as a hearing person. I applied for I think literally 100 jobs with no bites. It was insane. It got better though.

  • My mum has been trying to find a job in her dream field for over 20 years here in the Uk. She has always wanted a job working with children but no one will give her a chance because she is very HOH. She would be so brilliant at it but it’s soul destroying for her that she keeps getting rejection after rejection. I want to go shake some employers into realising what a wonderful childcare worker they would have if they’d just give her a shot 🙁

  • My son is a junior in college and has looked for a job on and off for YEARS. He's HOH and speaks fairly well but still can catch a break. So he's 26 and has never had a job. To compensate he just stays in school – even in summer. He's changed his major a couple of times but who knows what will happen after he graduates.

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