Driving a forklift is not something that Jessie Cardinal ever imagined herself doing, let alone owning a license to operate one.
Nine years ago Jessie started working at the Bee’s Knees, a candle making business run by the Association. The business sold bee’s wax candles and other wax products to Canadian and American clients. Jessie moved on to the bottle depot when, after a few months, the Bee’s Knees business was discontinued.
Jessie worked as a clerk/sorter and occasional cashier in the bottle depot during her first five years with Recycle Plus. Once or twice a week, Jessie would work in the Fibre Division and eventually transferred to work there full time. She learned to operate the forklift. She is now a shipper/receiver and says she has a forklift license. Her family is amazed that she works as a forklift operator and asks her to send them pictures of her operating the equipment because they have a hard time envisioning her doing that type of work.
Jessie says one of the most difficult parts of the job is loading trailers. The first few times she loaded a trailer with a pallet of glass she was nervous, but her supervisor at the time just pushed her to get it done. She remembers that she had to close her eyes. ’It was just too much. I’ve been lucky; I haven’t had any major mishaps. Now it’s easy.”
Jessie likes the variety she finds in her job description. She has been with Recycle Plus long enough to have experience in many of the positions in the operation.
Jessie says she has taken training courses in customer service, dealing with the disabled and first aid. The day after she took her first aid course, she was able to help out when a client at work was having a seizure.
Jessie’s crew at Recycle Plus includes several of the clients. When she was first introduced the staff at the bottle depot, one of the clients came right up to her and gave her a big kiss on the cheek. Jessie says the clients who have been with the Association for a long time know right away if you are right or wrong about something. They love to help out.
Until you know them, you can’t believe how they know things. They’re good workers. A lot of them are really reliable.
Jessie says she has come a long way in what she has been able to learn since first working at the Association. She has come to “see people in a different way” and, considering her forklift experience, it is safe to guess that she sees herself differently as well.