August 17, 2009
The following story was written by Raymond Roy, from Tourond, Manitoba. In 1995, Raymond had a workplace accident, when a ton of glass fell on his right leg. Since that time, he has been walking with a cane, and he cannot work in construction. When Raymond's son began school a few years the accident, Raymond decided that he needed help to learn to read and write. He first enrolled in literacy classes with the francophone organization Pluri-Elles. He has also been learner spokesperson for Literacy Partners of Manitoba (LPM). As well, Raymond was Manitoba’s representative on the Learners Advisory Network of the Movement for Canadian Literacy in Ottawa.
I started by washing dishes at the restaurant. I had not told my boss that I had problems with reading and writing. It was easy to hide these difficulties as a dishwasher, but I was asked to become a cook and I had to tell him the truth.
My boss suggested that we develop a way of typing orders into the computer so that I would be able to recognize them when they reached the kitchen. I memorized the codes so I could understand the instructions. As I became familiar with the proper terms, I no longer needed the shortened codes.
Things were much easier once I was honest about my difficulties and everyone in the workplace knew about my struggles with reading and writing. Always be truthful about your difficulties. You will be surprised at how much people will help you and how far you can go.
[This story was taken with permission, from Write on!, May 2008, a newsletter published by Literacy Partners of Manitoba (LPM). Raymond is the "Voice" for a story written about workplace literacy. He selected this story because he could relate to the strong closing statement.]