Starting work at mHabitat – by Emma Steer
We’re delighted to welcome Emma to the mHabitat family, and she has written a special blog post for us about starting work here. You can read her official blog, Diary of a Disabled Person by following the link and like @diaryofadisabledperson on Facebook for more content.
After graduating from university in the summer of 2017, like most graduates, I needed to find a job. The role as host and administrator for Co>Space North with mHabitat was one of many I applied for, but was the only one to ask me for an interview. Some of those that turned me down did so because I lacked some of the required work experience, and some simply because of sheer competition. However, by far the most common reason for turning me down had absolutely nothing to do with my education or skills, but actually concerned the fact that I am a wheelchair user. Since many establishments still do not have wheelchair access, I could not possibly take a job there. After all, I couldn’t do a very good job if I couldn’t even get in the building!
When I received the email asking me to attend an interview I was extremely happy; after months of poor luck it felt like a miracle. Upon entering the interview room I was greeted by my future colleague and boss, who immediately put me at ease with their friendly and welcoming attitudes, perhaps helped by the presence of Bibi the dog. They addressed me as their equal, and were willing to accommodate any modifications I might need in order to do the job.
Less than a week later I was told that I had the job, and then began the long process of completing paperwork and having background checks done. Eventually, on 9th January 2018, I started the job.
mHabitat had moved buildings since the time of my interview, and the brand new site was even better for wheelchair access. With wide open spaces and smooth floors, plus perhaps the fanciest lifts I have ever seen, it was perfect. Within the first few hours I was set up on a laptop, and was sending out my first email on the job. This felt rather monumental, especially as this is actually my first proper job, having spent all my time and energy prior to this on my education. The office is friendly, if a little warm, and Bibi is still around to offer her slobbery help and support to those who need it. The unlimited supply of free coffee was an additional unexpected bonus.
After only a few days of work I already feel fully integrated into the team, bonding in particular over our love of animals, which in my case extends to my beloved pet hamster. I am still learning the ropes; some of the systems the NHS uses are not familiar to me, and are understandably complex for security reasons. Thankfully, my colleagues are patient, and are pretty willing to point me in the right direction as required.
All in all, I think this job suits me down to the ground (or wheels).