At Work

Nate returned to the Bassett Hospital print shop for the first of several sessions with a job coach. When he was a senior in high school he spent a little time there, learning how to behave in a work environment and meet goals. He did very well. His usual distractions didn’t stand in the way of completing his work. In fact, he overproduced, finishing everything they had for him to do. His co-workers loved him and he even showed them shortcuts on the computer that made them more efficient. It all ended with a glowing review.

When we started looking at prospective jobs, my hope was we could get Nate back to Bassett. In an ideal world he’d have a paying job there. From our house he could walk to work and I have no doubt he’d be able to pull off a daily, normal routine.


Nate’s job coach gave me some insight into how he’s been doing at work. She said that the bag of documents that Nate brings – pictures of DVD covers, Disney movies, etc. – keep him focused, rather than diverted. I’ve always thought of those things as security blankets, but as we spoke I realized they’re more like family photos on a desk. These images are his friends, his family, the things that calm him and make him happy. He sneaks peaks at them like we all do at our personal photos, a brief moment of getting away from the task at hand, thinking of a happier place before we return to the job.

His coach had a further point, and a good one. While all other people chat with their co-workers as a way to blow off steam and have a brief respite, Nate is shut off from that interaction. Sure, he can tell someone something, but an energetic back and forth is still beyond him. So he turns to his documents instead.

Having an advocate who understands Nate is crucial to his success. We’ve got one, another in a long series of members of “Team Nate” and, after a year where it seemed the job front was locked out, we’re exactly where we wanted to be, in exactly the place we wanted to be.

It’s a nice end to 2013. See you all next year.


About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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