Challenging workplace misconceptions

By Tatiana Peralta 06/16/2021
Challenging workplace misconceptions

For years, Michael Daniels worked low-paying, part-time jobs. With Just $42 in his bank account, he wanted more. Michael, also known as “Mr. D,” was ready to be financially independent and have a fulfilling career that challenged him and helped him support his family.  

In 1986, Michael found what he was looking for at Goodwill Commercial Services working onsite at the Harrison Village Commissary. The organization is one of approximately 700 nonprofit agencies in the SourceAmerica® network. For three decades, Michael has challenged workplace misconceptions that made it difficult to get a job in the first place. He has moved through the ranks and showcased his diverse set of skills every step of the way.   

“No matter what the project, the need, or the amount of time required to complete a task, Mr. D. is always the first in line volunteering to help,” said Chris Borsch one of Michael’s former supervisors. “He doesn’t require direction — he takes the initiative on his own.” 

Since his first day with Goodwill, Michael excelled in every role he’s undertaken. His consistent strong worth ethic caught the attention of Goodwill’s leadership early on. He was quickly promoted to a full-time position within the AbilityOne® Program, one of the largest sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities.  

In his initial role as janitor, Michael was responsible for collecting, recycling, and baling cardboard. After mastering this role, Michael was promoted to stocker where he has thrived for more than 30 years.  

Michael moves products from the warehouse where they are sorted and then to the store floor for staging before they go to the shelves for stocking. Additionally, Michael is responsible for cleaning the shelves and ensuring that inventory is rotated before new items are added. In a single hour, Michael stocks more than 50 cases of inventory – the best rate among Goodwill Commercial Services staff. His success is a direct result of both his dedication to get the job done well and Goodwill’s training and support. 

“Mr. D. takes a tremendous amount of pride in his job,” said Amy Trueblood his supervisor. “There were nights that we were short-staffed, but Mr. D. would always stay late to ensure the work got done.” 

Michael shows no sign of stopping any time soon. His job continues to fulfill him with pride and a sense of purpose. “I am confident in socializing because of Goodwill,” he said, “I learned to meet productivity requirements by competing with other workers, learning everything hands-on. I trained on assembly which taught me to be more efficient for the stocking job. I was shy but have many family and friends now.” 

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