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First Day on the Job

The following is a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.

by Erica Buchholz, CLE Washington, D.C.

Ethan started working at Best Friends Pet Care on October 10th, 2014. His role is a Play Time Associate where he takes care of both cats and dogs at the facility.

Ethan began looking for a new job with the help of Rockville’s Career Development Coordinator, Jacky Cohen.

Ethan - first day on the job“I had another job before Best Friends, but I was working there alone for many hours.” “Even before I had the job, I practiced for the interview with Jacky. She came with me for the interview and for my first day at the job.”

“When I got the job, on the first day I watched a video of how to work with the dogs. Jacky gave me the idea of taking notes while watching the video so I could remember everything they went over. I also learned how to work with and handle aggressive dogs. There was a quiz and I did really good on it.”

“On my very first day, I didn’t have my uniform yet. I was being trained on all of the different tasks that I would need to do. Jacky was there for part of my training with the other staff. I had a coworker trainer with me all day. She taught me how to keep the dogs safe and secure. She is a really fun coworker.”

“Through the first day, I pretty much got the hang of it. I was feeling nervous about starting and what to expect. I was also excited to start a new job. My boss, Anja, treats me very well. She welcomed me with great respect. I like the job even more now than when I was first there. I also work more hours now than when I first started.”

“Working with customers at Best Friends has gone well, most are pretty cool and polite. At Best Friends we have the friendliest environment for our animals, cats and dogs.“


When Ethan was asked what he likes most about working at Best Friends, he said, “Playing with the animals, and I like walking them. I like my coworkers too.” When asked about what was hard about working, he answered, “Processing all of the information at once, but writing notes has helped.” When asked about what is easiest at work, he replied: “Asking for help when needed has been great. The staff have been really helpful. Best Friends is really awesome!”

Newsletter Articles – June 2015

Holiday Inn Austin

Work. For most Americans, it is the priority that fills the majority of our waking hours each day. Through our work, we are able to achieve other important milestones in our lives. James H. Douglas, Jr., lawyer and senior-level official in the U.S. government in the mid-20th century, may have put it best when he said: “A good job is more than just a paycheck. A good job fosters independence and discipline, and contributes to the health of the community. A good job is a means to provide for the health and welfare of your family….”

While there are times when we may dream of vacationing the days away and not having the responsibilities of work, the satisfaction of a job well done draws us back to realize how valuable our careers are to our well-being. Benjamin Franklin said, “it is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.” Through our work, we gain self-worth, confidence and the sense of contributing to our community at large.

Shaking hands at interview.

Malcolm Gladwell says that experts like Bill Gates, Roger Federer and Yo-Yo Ma have each put in over 10,000 hours of practice to become the authorities that they are. In learning how to interview and impress an employer, practice is the most constant and important ingredient in the mix of success. But what exactly do I practice and how do I do that?
Start practicing with the job application. Your first contact with an employer is through your job application. It is important that they are neat, clearly filled out and complete. Only apply for jobs that (1) you are qualified for and, (2) you are interested in and willing to do the work. Everyone fills out the same application, so you distinguish yourself through the cover letter process.

Tyler first paycheck 2

When asked to do an article for the CLE newsletter to highlight a career student’s employment experience it was a no brainer for me on who to pick. Tyler has been employed with TJ Maxx for just a month now, but has stepped into his new role with the tenacity of a seasoned employee. Tyler agreed to do an interview with me regarding his experience as an employee at TJ Maxx, giving me a better sense of what a new job looks like for an individual on the career development pathway.

Volunteering - CLE Austin

A volunteer experience is an essential part of the CLE Career Development framework across all centers. While volunteering is good for the community and can give students a great sense of pride, accomplishment, and connection, why is it essential on the Career Development Pathway?

Traditionally volunteer experiences are viewed like an extracurricular activity; something that is a nice addition to your daily routine, but not a necessity. The modern job market, however, demands more and more experience and having a consistent volunteer routine is an ideal way to stay competitive, relevant and create opportunities.

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