Jessica Kong Interview (MP3 format)

Interview with Jessica Kong
Receptionist/Customer Service Representative, Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind
By Ryan Dawson, Tiffany Tynes, and Karmin Robbins

Ryan: Hello, my name is Ryan Dawson, and with us we have Jessica, who we’re interviewing. Hello, Jessica.

Jessica: Hi, Ryan.

Ryan: Ok. Now, can you tell us your job title?

Jessica: I actually carry two titles. One is a customer service representative and the other one is a back-up receptionist at the Lighthouse for the Blind.

Ryan: Did you receive any special training of any kind?

Jessica: I graduated at the University of Washington, and the degree I received has nothing to do with the job I am doing. [Laughs] However, I received a lot of trainings at the Lighthouse. The SOS program, the Service of Systems, a lot of customer service, computer, communication, writings…

Ryan: What was it that made you decide to go this route?

Jessica: I like working with people. That’s the main point that got me into customer service.

Tiffany: My name is Tiffany. How do you get to your job?

Jessica: I take access transportation. I also use the Seattle metro—the regular metro. That depends on the time of the year. Access transportation seems to be the safer routes during the colder weather.

Tiffany: Did you have any jobs before you got to the job you’re working now?

Jessica: Yes, I started off as a fundraiser for the Talking Book and Braille Library. Then I went into an agency which no longer exists, as an administrative assistant. That lasted three months, it was an internship. Right after the internship ended, I was offered a full-time job at a social service agency, and I was there for three years as a receptionist. And I got laid off and took a couple of years for doing trainings at the Lighthouse, and started working there as a full-time…

Tiffany: What exactly do you do as a receptionist?

Jessica: I answer phones, answer questions, transfer calls.

Tiffany: Do you use any other accommodations?

Jessica: Oh, yes. My work station takes probably $25,000 to set up that work station. I used AD braille display, I have JAWS, I have a braille writer. And for my front office, a receptionist’s work, I use a scanner because I read a lot of printed documents. And I use a split headset – in one ear I can hear the customer and in the other ear I can hear JAWS. It’s just multi-tasking.

Tiffany: How did you decide on your job?

Jessica: Oh, I like people. Knowing that when I work with a customer and everything went well, and they go away happy, that makes me happy.

Karmin: Hi, my name is Karmin Robbins. I have a few questions here to end up our interview. Is it hard for you to use anything that’s not braille?

Jessica: Oh yes, I don’t have vision at all.

Karmin: What’s fun about your job that you like the most?

Jessica: I like people, and a lot of them like to joke and tease, and that always makes the day go by faster. We care a lot about each other at the Lighthouse. It’s more than a job, working there, we’re really a family type of organization.

Karmin: What are the requirements to have the job that you have?

Jessica: The main requirement I would think is people skills. You have to like people and working with people, good communications, both in writing and speaking.

Karmin: Is there anything that we didn’t mention or asked any questions about that you would like to say?

Jessica: I would suggest when people criticize you on something, don’t take that as a bad thing, take that as something you can improve on.

Karmin: All right, thank you.

Jessica: You’re welcome. Thank you.

Interview taken at the Washington State Council of the Blind Convention, November 2006.

Interview provided by Jack Straw Productions, Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences, Washington State Council of the Blind and the Child and Family Program of the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind.
Copyright © Jack Straw Productions 2006.