Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

Believing in Yourself is the Key to Gainful Employment

Desiree Reed is a customer care associate at the ClearAnswer Contact Center.

My name is Desiree Reed, and I’m a Customer Care Associate at the ClearAnswer Contact Center. Although I’m currently working as a full-time employee, it wasn’t an easy journey getting here. I would like to briefly share a bit of my story with you so you can see that despite having a disability you can still receive gainful employment.

Prior to being hired at ClearAnswer, I was a full-time college student. I’ve always had a strong work ethic, and I knew that anything worth having never comes easy. As a result, I strived for excellence during my time in college. Nevertheless, I possessed a yearning for independence in every way, and have always known that visually impaired persons are equally capable of attaining the American dream just like our sighted counterparts. Gainful employment was the key to the success and independence that I was seeking.

Consequently, I decided to enroll in the Contact Center training class at CVI. I had no work experience before attending the training classes. Nevertheless, the excellent training that was provided by the ClearAnswer management team fully prepared me to be job ready. I learned that decent multi-tasking skills are certainly something that’s necessary at ClearAnswer. Since the agents are visually impaired, some of us use the JAWS screen reading software while others use the Magic Magnification program. We JAWS users use split headphones where we’re able to listen to the customer in one ear and JAWS reading the screen in the other ear. I’m sure it must give you a headache just thinking about it. However, it became second nature after taking the first few calls. Less than two months after completing the training class I was hired as an intern and soon after that I was hired as a full-time employee.

Although working a full-time job provides great benefits and endless possibilities, there is an extreme amount of diligence and dedication that applies. When working at a contact center one must be willing to work nights, weekends, holidays, and rotating shifts. For my 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift I try to make things a bit easier by washing and ironing most of my work clothes on the weekend. I rise at 4 in the morning in hopes of ensuring that I’m not tardy. Usually I’m out of the house before 6:30 and spend a little more than an hour in travel. When the work day has ended I repeat the long bumper to bumper nightmare commute all over again. Clearly none of the routine is easy, but it’s all part of living in the real world and working towards a goal.

The only way that we as a visually impaired community will change employers’ perceptions of hiring persons with disabilities is by taking action. We must prove that we’re ready and willing to put in the same amount of work as our sighted counterparts. We must come prepared with the proper skills and attitude. Most importantly, we must remain determined at all times.

About ClearAnswer
Located at the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI), ClearAnswer provides outsourced contact center services staffed with highly-trained, dedicated associates specializing in customer satisfaction. The majority of the ClearAnswer workforce is visually impaired and skilled in using the latest technology to offer superior service in phone, chat, email, and text communication. ClearAnswer makes it possible for companies to concentrate on growing their business while the contact center provides their customers with the information they need. For more information about ClearAnswer services, please call 1-855-CLR-ANSWER (1-855-257-2679) or visit