Abilities to Work – Oriana Saiz

Abilities to Work – Oriana Saiz

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[MUSIC] I served 22 years in the military. I’ve always had a spirit of service. Working for the Forest Service, why I do it, it’s giving back, making sure that my little touch on every little tree or every little part of grassland, it remains for future generations. When I was growing up, we used to go to the forest to just kind of get lost away from the city. I now get lost. It’s part of my disability. I go and get lost and be with nature, and it’s really healing for me. I’m 100% disabled. I have PTSD. You’d look at me, and I look like everybody else in the workplace. I think the stigma has to do with just ourselves, not necessarily that anyone’s placing that on me. Now there are stigmas and there are judgments, but I think the biggest judgment, in my opinion would be self. But I think speaking out about it and doing things like this can change stigmas, can change one person. Maybe they can feel more comfortable. Oh, hey, she has it too. You know, I can say something as well. The way that reasonable accommodations benefited me, I had a fantastic supervisor. In my instance, I didn’t have to apply for any formalized process. I was able to just be open, and that openness really led to a better communication and trust with my supervisor. Many on my team have no idea that I’m 100% disabled. I think because he’s allowed me to go to appointments, do my therapies and such that I’ve been able to bring my best self forward. I think more people will not identify than will, just over personal preference and society’s view of weaknesses, admitting a weakness, admitting that you’re hurt, admitting that you need help. Why we do things like this is make it normal. It’s not really anything to be ashamed of or hide. I’m hoping that I can bring connectivity and just bring closeness in the Forest Service, just bring my best self forward and hoping to inspire others to do the same. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [MUSIC]

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