Robert Joiner Cutler Achievement Award Story

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Robert Joiner’s Story

Several years ago, I was put on Social Security disability due to dealing with and being diagnosed as having bipolar disorders, panic attacks, and paranoia. In 2014, the Social Security Department told me about the work ticket program, and with the encouragement of a friend, I decided to give it a try. But, I did so with doubt that I would succeed, for I doubted myself.

I was directed by Social Security to contact Employment Options, which I did. Unfortunately, due to my issues, the first job I attempted did not work out, which confirmed to me that I was correct about not succeeding in the working environment.   But my job placement counselor, Ms. Desiree Buffin, encouraged me to keep trying. Due to her encouragement, I applied at Kroger’s grocery store. However, the last time I worked at a grocery store it didn’t work out and I just knew it wouldn’t work out this time either.   I went ahead and applied and to my surprise, I was hired. I started my job with the thought that this will last about a week. Again, I was surprised when my first week came and went and I was still there. That first week was not only followed by yet more weeks, but by 12 months, before I ended employment with Kroger’s and moved on to another company,

While at Kroger’s, I found I had changed.  My paranoia had gone away and I had become more of a people person and was enjoying being around people. I had fewer panic attacks (I seldom have them now), and my bipolar issues have gotten better as well. While employed there, I had been recognized and awarded four times for being a team player and going above and beyond the call of duty. 

I no longer doubt myself and I believe I can do anything I put my mind to. I am now employed at the UNT Health and Science Center of Fort Worth and I truly enjoy it.  Within my first four months of employment, I received a certificate of recognition for being a team player. I have been at UNT for nine months now and am up for a promotion. I have truly come a long way from where I was several years ago. Those from my past and those that met me just three years ago, all see a change for the better as well.

Over the last three years, I have grown and have become an entirely different person. It is through all I have accomplished within myself these last few years that I feel I am worthy of being nominated and considered for the Cutler Achievement Award.