Person of the Month – March
Your name: Philip “Chucky” Smith
Your position, with what company? Table Dealer, Baltimore Horseshoe Casino
What do you do? Deals: Blackjack, Carnival Poker (3 card, 4 card, Mississippi, etc) and Baccarat
What do you enjoy the most about your job? Being social; I get to interact with a lot of fun people.
What is your primary Language: ASL, but while working, I communicate with my boss, co-workers and players by lip reading/spoken English, and written notes.
Philosophy on Life: Ponder on the three top things that makes you happy; apply that to your career.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Good question. As of right now, most importantly, my focus is on stabilizing my daily life. One day, I hope I will be able to raise a child.
What’s your journey is like before obtaining this job, your barriers were?
Prior to obtaining this job, I found several common barriers. The most common, of course, was the assumption my most employers that my deafness would make it impossible to do the job. I recall one instance where the interviewer kept pointing to the section of a minimum job functions list for a position that specified ‘ability to communicate’. I was talking to him at the time, of course, which kind of indicated that I obviously COULD communicate. I merely replied “I can do that, no problem!” I think most companies are not so much worried about deafness, as they are about the extra time and/or expense that may be involved with things like initial training. It can be very frustrating.
Were you able to break through? How?
Mostly through persistence and being positive. I tried to emphasize what my skills were, and how I would be a benefit to the company. I found that not every company or interviewer was unwilling to consider a deaf person for a job. Recruiters doing the interviewer want to hire someone after all. I tried to remember that part of my goal in the interview was to put them at ease and get past the fact that I am deaf and move to the actual interview questions. The top thing on their minds, spoken or unspoken, is “how will he be able to communicate with my customers and supervisors?’ That is what needs to be addressed in order to move on.
How did ODHH help?
ODHH was helpful in many ways. First and foremost by listening to my concerns, and helping me to clarify in my mind what the situation was and how best to proceed. In some cases, they not only advised me, but researched current law for purposes of clarification. They also were able and willing to contact some of the principals involved. They kept in regular contact with me, and helped me stay focused. It was nice to feel that there was someone in my corner.
What advice do you have for others?
My best advice is to stay positive. It is very easy to let your frustration get the better of you. This can come across with a potential employer and make you look combative or like a potential problem. Sometimes I felt like giving up. But that solves nothing. Do reach out to friends for advice, or just to vent. They can not only help you make sure your resume and interview skill are sharp, but will help you stay positive. And don’t be afraid to reach out to organizations like ODHH. They have a lot of experience and are very adept at helping you to navigate hurdles as they appear.