Friday, 3 February 2012


The saying, "easier said than done" is true of practically every endeavour. Work is no exception to that aphorism. High school and post-secondary students are frequently presented with rosy images of employment in glamorous careers by recruiters from various industries, all touting their company's virtues.

In December of 1975, a CNIB representative extolled the benefits of Caterplan, an employment scheme designed to place blind individuals in cafeterias and kiosks, to a group of us teenage patrons visiting the headquarters in Toronto. Being in need of a job, I applied to Caterplan for work the next month.

In my How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity memoir, I described my dismay when the promise of a rewarding career didn't immediately materialize. Here's an excerpt from my manuscript that describes what happened.


The phone rang one morning in late January. A CNIB counsellor named Bob gave me the good news that I would be employed as a dish washer in the cafeteria at the Alberta Legislature. That afternoon, I had my long hair cut short and beard shaved off.

My joy turned to shock on the morning that I reported for work. Except for two coffee breaks and a short lunch, I continually loaded the large dish washing machine's conveyer belt with dirty dishes and dried them when they tumbled out the other end. Additionally, I scrubbed pots and checked the racks by the kitchen for more dirty dishes. The pressure never let up.

By the end of the day, I called Bob at the CNIB from the nearest pay phone. "I can't do this job. It goes too fast," I complained.

"Don't worry, Bruce, it takes time to get into the swing of things. You'll get better at it as the days pass."

"I hope you're right. I didn't realize dish washing would be this hard."

"Just keep working at it. We don't have any spare stands for you to work at now so you'll have to stay where you are."

I did my best to keep up with the demands of the job. Even so, a constant backlog of dirty dishes and angry co-workers badgered me.

"If you think this is busy, wait until the Legislature is in session," one woman admonished. "This will seem like a picnic."

The manager dismissed me at the end of the month. Though I beamed with pride as I held my first pay cheque, and knew that I had earned every penny of it, I lost much of my starry-eyed optimism for the wonderful world of work.


How I Was Razed is the testimony of how God revealed his true character to me after charismatic house church elders misled me for more than fifteen years. You're welcome to contact me directly for more information about this upcoming paperback.

1 comment:

  1. As a newly-blind, thirty-seven year old, I fear the job market with a passion. I learned some great skills at the Cris Cole Rehab Center in Austin, Texas. I am also endeavoring on a college trek. Either way it all seems so out of reach. The recap of your dish washing experience kind of strikes home for me.


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