Friday, August 12, 2005

security candidate

Maya was a lady who came in to my office to apply with temporary staffing, but ended up applying for security. In the state I live in, you have to have a state certification to be a security guard, and my company teaches a training course that can put people to work after they earn their certification. I am the intake interview for security so I came over to the office where Maya was interviewing for staffing with Betty, my co-worker, and gave her a security application to fill out. At the moment I saw her, I remembered making her appointment for the temporary staffing intake orientation.

When she called the day before, she was nervous, and hesitant, but talking quickly and exhausted because, in addition from recovering from a horrible accident and sustaining brain and shoulder surgery, she had been shut down in her job search because of her issues. She experienced severe memory loss, and couldn’t retain anything in her short-term memory. She had to write everything down, or needed the opportunity to study something for at least a half hour to remember it. She also had spinal and shoulder surgery recently, and can’t lift more than 10 pounds. After talking in more detail about her specific conditions, it seems she is on the upswing and in recovery. She had been receiving physical therapy, and should be back to lifting things and living normally again.

She told me her husband was upset with her because she doesn’t remember their time together before the accident. I felt bad for her, and awkward, and said something dumb like “you’ll remember, it will come back.” Maya explained that her memory isn’t getting worse, but coming back very slowly. I set up her appointment to come in, and instructed her on what to bring and what to do when she got here.

When I interviewed her, I looked through her application, and asked her why she wanted to be a security guard. She lit up, and began explaining: she remembers being in the Army, and one of the jobs she remembers doing is security. She explained some of the outposts she worked at, and she was enthusiastic about having remembered that piece of her life. I think when she saw the word security on the staffing application she had an epiphany. She wanted to have the opportunity to earn her certification, and apply some concrete techniques. Observation. Procedure. Awareness.

She seemed to be in her early 40's, was well dressed, and had a military style short women's haircut. I was reading her military resume, and she was in many different places throughout the world. I think she was in the Army from 1978 to 1989, and was on a lot of different campaigns. She spent most of her time at various locations in Europe, and some time in Asia somewhere. I asked her about what she remembers, and she became very animated, remembering specific events and details, and relaying them to me. She self-consciously stopped herself after talking for a few minutes, and I ensured her it was okay to tell me more, it was interesting, not annoying or boring. I could see in her face that she was getting something back, even if it was a tiny little piece.

We talked for about a half hour, and I gave her the next instructions (wait for the security training supervisor to call you). She thanked me profusely, and left.

Today I talked to the security training supervisor about Maya, and he’s going to invite her into the next class. I hope this works out for her, and helps her retain her memory.

1 comment:

GrapeNut said...

Your profession is a noble one. People are fortunate to have a dedicated, selfless person like yourself working in your field. There are so many people who have no concern for anything but themselves.

The thought of memory loss is totally frightening. I remember numerous after school talk shows, the likes of Oprah, having this as a topic. One in particular about a woman who had also sustained a brain injury resulting in memory loss to the point where she just started her life over again. By the time part of her memory came back she had not just one but two families, each with two kids. The thought is totally unreal.