Samuel’s Perfect Job

I’m Samuel. I was 15 when I got my first job selling homemade cotton candy and caramel corn at a concession stand owned by my friend’s family. I was also very introverted. But I liked this work because I got to work outside, got to meet a lot of people, and I had to interact with the customers, which made me more sure of myself.

This made me realize that working was very good for me in a lot of ways: not only was I making pretty good money, but I was selling high-quality, homemade products. Even more, I began to see work as an opportunity to improve myself, like coming out of my shell and learning more people skills.

Unfortunately, the next three jobs did nothing to help my psyche or my self-esteem. It wasn’t the work—it was the management and the negative work atmosphere. The fast food places I worked in were rushed, chaotic and stressful. We were strictly micromanaged by being assigned one task then being pulled off it the next minute, and then again. The staff and management were habitually angry and stressed out during rush hours though they smiled to the customers.

The grocery store was worse: The management had the habit of getting personal in a very negative way. They always seemed to try and get a negative rise out of me regarding some of my personal issues. It ended up being too negative for me in the end, which was a shame because I liked the work itself and the interactions with customers, from whom I got some high compliments.

So I was very happy when I finally went to the Department of Rehabilitation, who sent me in the direction of Pathpoint, a nonprofit agency that helps people find jobs. Pathpoint actually found me this job at Morrocco Method.

I really like my job at Morrocco Method and I want to stay here!

This job is so comfortable—I come in here, sit down, and don’t have to worry about being bullied or talked down to, or worried every second about how fast I’d better move in order to keep my job because Anthony, the owner, cares much more about quality than quantity.

Since I’m part-time, I can set my own schedule. Where else can you do that?

Morrocco Method is different from all other companies: my employers, supervisors and coworkers are all patient and helpful. We interact on a daily basis like a family who wants to get an important job done. When I go home, I don’t feel stressed and feel like I’ve done something important—something both good for people and good for the environment.

Achievement House: Ron and Julian

By Angelique Eyles

Morrocco Method International (MMI) has partnered with Achievement House to glean new employees to our company. Julian, a brand new employee, came with his Job Coach Ron on his first three days of work at Morrocco Method.

Ron explains that Achievement House helps the developmentally disabled and the handicapped in many ways: With their living situation, cooking, riding the bus, and job development and searching. The day program offers many things, one of which is Mail and More, where their clients stuff envelopes and mail them out, and they get paid for this.

There is also a Job Developer who develops jobs for clients and places them on job sites at different locations. Once a client gets hired, an IP or Individual Placement Coach gets assigned to the client

An Individual Placement Job Coach goes to their place of work to see if they need any help in their job or need special clothing and so on. “Often we help those in retail, like those placed in grocery stores, in Old Navy. We’re here to encourage Julian and help him do his best in his job. Sometimes, as with Julian on the first day, we even literally help them with their job.”

Right in this local area, from Morro Bay to Arroyo Grande, about 50 of Achievement House’s clients are employed. They run an E-Waste Station behind Cuesta College, and also have a place called The Contracts where they put together catering packets (napkins, forks, knives, wet wipes, salt and pepper) for Café Runner. They have Shredder, where they shred people’s documents for pay. There’s also a huge hydroponics Nursery and Garden from which they sell artichokes and other foods at the local Farmer’s markets. Finally, they have opened cafes at Laguna Lakes golf course and Camp San Luis.

The IP Job coach also meets with clients’ managers to help them see where the client is coming from. “Recently we had one client who had difficulty with a manager, but after we talked to the manager, it seems to be working out pretty well,” Ron said. Often it is hard for the average person to understand the perceptions of the disabled or handicapped. Yet on the other hand, some companies, often thrift stores—even thrift store boutiques—ask for more of their employees. “A lot of our employees love arts and crafts, so this fits in well.”

“I’m amazed at how talented many clients are. They make beautiful art in the back of the Boutique, and they have all kinds of talent. One client was a great surfer before he contracted blood on the brain which made him partially paralyzed. He now works at a surf shop, and passes on his knowledge to other surfers. After work he takes his wheelchair or walker over to Shell Beach and walks up and down all those stairs to the beach. He tries surfing even though he doesn’t succeed very much. He’s so brave and persistent. As our all our clients.”

Just then, as if on cue,  Julian comes into the kitchen to take a short break.

“Guess what?” he says to Ron, happily excited. “My boss just told me to slow down and take it more easy. ‘You don’t have to move so fast!’ he said. Can you believe that?”

“That is so different from most jobs!”

After introductions, I ask Julian how long he has been at Morrocco Method. “This is my third day so I’m still getting used to things. But so far I like it! It’s easy-paced, and everyone is friendly and supportive.”

“I do a lot of maintenance work—stocking the shelves, sweeping, cleaning. So if I go home a little tired, I feel very satisfied that I did a very good job!”

Before Julian worked at Morrocco Method he had two jobs. He worked for United Cerebral Palsy as a camp counselor for their Camp Kelly Creek, a week-long summer camp for special needs adults. There he had his own group, and made sure they got to their activities on time and their meals on time, and so forth. “I felt needed there,” he smiles.

The next job Julian had was for a private client as a caregiver. “I had to watch him constantly because he was born without the chromosome that tells you when you’re full, so he could kill himself overeating. He used to try to sneak out and dig through garbage cans until I stopped him.  It was very challenging yet very rewarding at the same time. In between I stayed home and helped take care of my disabled older sister.”

“Coming to work at Morrocco Method makes me feel good every day. First of all, I can leave behind the challenges at home and earn some money. This gives me a big break.  It’s so peaceful here, and I don’t have to be quick about stuff, just pace myself. Restocking the shelves is my favorite because it’s enjoyable and relaxing. Here I find peace of mind.”