“For me, I was most concerned about disclosing my visual impairment to future employers. I didn’t know what to say, or when to say it. Employment Immersion answered these questions and so much more,” Lien Nguyen tells us about her Employment Immersion experience.
Lien graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a B.S. in Microbial Biology in 2015, and was eager to get a job pursuing her scientific career dreams. “After graduating, I knew I wanted a job doing something related to my studies, but it was hard for me to figure out which jobs to apply to because I’m a recent college grad, and I was worried about how my vision would affect my job search.”
Kate Williams, LightHouse’s Employment Immersion Coordinator, gave Lien the boost she needed to reach for a job she deserves. Lien tells us, “Employment Immersion gave me a safe, open space to meet other blind job seekers. We were able to share our experiences, and talk about our concerns. I was able to talk about topics unique to blind job seekers, that I wasn’t able to voice with my sighted friends and family. I learned a lot from Kate and the Employment Immersion staff, and I also gained insight from my fellow peers.”
Lien gave us a specific example of a concern she had, and how the program helped her overcome that concern. “For me, the hardest part of the job application process was knowing when to disclose my visual impairment. Everyone in the group had a similar concern, so we roleplayed to practice disclosing our vision. After playing both roles—jobseeker and employer—I realized my vision isn’t a dark cloud hanging over my job search if I don’t make it one. I owned my visual impairment, and improved my ability to talk about it with prospective employers.”
We’re excited to report that Lien landed a full-time position as a lab technician at California Microbiological Consulting, Inc. She explains, “I test the cost of the opioid epedemic to be sure they meet all the appropriate health standards. I’m excited about my position because I’m doing what I dreamed of: working in a microbiology lab.”
Lien shared some wisdom she gained from being a recent college grad looking for a job: “Don’t get frustrated, and don’t sell yourself short. You worked hard to graduate, and you interned, volunteered and probably have other relevant experience in your past. To that end, don’t stop volunteering while you look for a job. Volunteering grows your relevant work experience while expanding your network of people who may be able to help you in your job search.”
Kate sums up our excitement over Lien career success: “She’s a remarkable recent grad who reminds us all, you’re worth it, you’ve earned it, don’t slow down when you near the finish line.”
The LightHouse Employment Immersion program is for people who are blind or have low vision, from any background, seeking any job. To learn more, contact Employment Immersion Coordinator Wanda Pearson at WPearson@lighthouse-sf.org or call 415-694-7359.