A transition from dairy farmer to manager in a shipping/receiving department may seem quite a leap, but to Julia Lawrance, the similarities are obvious. She is no stranger to operating equipment and to long, fast-paced workdays.
Julia is a manager in the Shipping/Receiving Department at Recycle Plus. She began eight years ago as a sorter in the bottle depot. The experience she gained as a dairy farmer was instrumental in her promotion to her present position.
Julia supervises several clients in her department and says that working with the disabled is a very rewarding experience. She says that it has given her a greater appreciation for and awareness of differences in individuals.
I’m surprised at how clients can handle jobs that you may think they would not be able to handle. In the same day, though, you might give them a different job, thinking that they could do it and it doesn’t turn out that they can.
As a supervisor, Julia tries to be aware of abilities and limitations when dealing with her staff. Each workday is unique and she describes a need to be ready to deal with the unpredictable.
While sorting glass one day in the bottle depot, a client suddenly got angry. He did not want to be corrected and so took off out the side door with a box of glass in his hands. Julia chased him and tried to get him to return. He wouldn’t listen. She told him that she had no time to chase him through the park and mentioned that she would have to call the police to help get him back to work. Much to her surprise, he dropped the box on the road and “that was it, he was fine. It was all over.”
So we gathered up the glass and laughed all the way back. Just when you think it’s totally beyond your control, all of a sudden there’s a big turnaround.
The biggest impact working with the handicapped has had on Julia’s life is that she is now more patient and aware of others. She has learned to take the time to be sensitive to different people’s needs.