Prior to the stroke, I was working on the railroad as a Signals and Communication Maintainer for PNR RailWorks. It was a hands on job and I loved it, considering I was a hands on kind of guy. I was working full-time and was given a truck through work. There was never a day where I woke up feeling like I did not want to go to work.
My employers visited me in the hospital after my stroke and told me that there would always be a job for me, whenever I was ready. Knowing this, I always kept in touch with them and kept them updated on my progress. After returning from India, my insurance company connected me with a return to work specialist on a return to work program. I started by working on my resume and cover letter, with my return to work specialist, for 4 weeks. She also prepared me for potential interviews. The next step was to try to obtain an unpaid placement to create some fresh references, considering I had been out of work for 3 years. It was also be a way to gauge how I could handle being back at work and in a workplace setting
As I am currently studying Retail Management at Ryerson, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to look into the retail industry or try and get back in the railroad. I decided to meet up with my previous employer, PNR RailWorks; I mentioned to them that I was working with a return to work specialist and asked if they would be interested in chatting with her to have a better understanding of a potential placement at their company.
After chatting with my return to work specialist, PNR offered me an 8 week placement on a graduated hours basis as an Administrative Clerk, supporting the Quality Manager and Safety Manager.
I started on May 9th, 2016. For my first day of work, I laid out all my clothes and shoes the night before and checked out the bus times, because I have to take 2 buses to get to work. I woke up super early so I didn’t have to rush myself in the morning. My parents gave me a shower and helped me get dressed. I then had breakfast. Once done, my youngest sister helped me get my shoes on, then I was out the door. I always give myself extra time in case of any unforeseen delays
Once I arrived at work, an old co-worker I used to work with was waiting to greet me. We caught up outside before I headed in to meet the Quality Manager. He walked me through what he needed help with and then set me up with a desk, with the help of other staff in the office. Once I was set up, the Safety Manager had me go through some orientation videos and then had me fill out some HR documents. It was truly exciting to be back to work; it gave me a sense of purpose. It got me back into a routine. I would go to bed early every night so I could be well rested for the next working day. I would set alarms to cue myself in the mornings, to let myself know I was on schedule. After the first week, I had established a routine and it was smooth sailing from there on. My placement ends on July 2nd, 2016. I am hoping to be offered something more permanent at the end of it. All I can do is keep doing my best and hope for the best.