Prior to beginning her career at Peckham, Terra had a hard time finding a job that fit her circumstances, which included being a single mom with three children. Stints as a cashier at gas stations and Sears provided neither the income nor fulfillment she needed. Things changed for the better when, while on probation, she was told to apply for a position at Peckham’s manufacturing facility in Charlotte, Michigan.
As Terra recalled, “I applied, and got right in. And I’ve been here ever since.” Having never sewn before, Terra said that her initial hesitation faded as her training progressed. A major help along the way included the accommodations she requested and was granted — a benefit she hadn’t experienced with previous employers. She said when her supervisors saw that she was struggling with stress, they approached her and asked what could be done to help alleviate it. Terra made several suggestions that were implemented in short order, resulting in reduced stressed and increased productivity, and more importantly workplace satisfaction.
Her attendance also improved as she came to realize that as long as she was honest about her accommodation needs, her supervisor and others would work with her to make sure they could prepare for the day ahead. “Normally, you don’t get that at a workplace,” Terra explained. She said in previous jobs she was told to “deal with whatever you’re dealing with.” Having her work colleagues come and talk to her like a person instead of a robot made a huge difference. The sense of feeling at home, and that she could trust people, accelerated Terra’s progress from two different positions as a Level One sewer to a Lever Two position. But Terra’s career advancement was just getting started.
“I saw that the scanner packaging position was open,” she continued, “so I applied, and I got the job.” It’s one that’s more challenging, requires additional training, and keeps her on her toes, but a job that Terra enjoys and continues to improve at. Furthermore, she’s already looking ahead to her next step up the career ladder to Level Three. She said it will involve learning to drive a forklift, and she’s excited at the prospect of mastering another new skill.
Terra said that other accommodations, including a flexible schedule that allows her to pursue her G.E.D. have further reduced the stress that previously held her back from professional advancement. Without these accommodations, she said that she it would have been unlikely that she would have been able to find a career outside the home. “If it wasn’t for Peckham,” she concluded, “I wouldn’t be where I am today.” She speculated that instead, she would be working customer service somewhere and wouldn’t be enjoying herself. That’s certainly not the case at Peckham. “I like my job.”