FAVORITE PORT CITY PRETZEL: Feisty Hot
Q. What’s it like to work at Port City Pretzels?
A. I went to school to be a writer, and now I’m finally putting that to use. I’m both blind and trans, and it’s been difficult to find opportunities that really fulfill me. At this job, I’m developing a community around a small business. I help build Portsmouth pride. I get to work with cool people and meet other great groups and organizations we do business with. I’m also keeping up on social media trends. Suzanne has taught me a lot, and she’s also open to my ideas.
Q. What is your role here?
A. I handle all the social media accounts. So Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I’m also working on some longer form writing, like permanent articles on LinkedIn about how we work as a company.
Q. How many times do you use pretzel emojis in your posts?
A. Haha…I try to mix it up. They don’t have pickles or mustard, so that’s a challenge when I’m talking about Tasty Ranch Dill or our new Tangy Mustard ‘N Honey pretzels. I have a computer that talks to me, but sometimes the way it describes emojis isn’t quite right. So I just pull out my big magnifier, take a look for myself and say “Yeah…that’s the one.”
Q. How did you get this job?
A. I found out about the company through New Hampshire Vocational Rehabilitation. My caseworker saw a job posting and I thought it would be a good fit. I started off as an intern so that I could learn the tasks of the position and decide what accessible technology I would need for filing, writing checks and doing other clerical work. After the internship ended and I was officially hired, Suzanne asked if I would take on a new role. I’ve been here for almost a year now.
Q. What is Suzanne like?
A. She’s so lovely. So upbeat! She allows people to find their own groove. She makes sure all of us here have the skills we need to do our jobs well, and then she leaves us alone to do that job. It’s just the right balance of support and independence. There’s no micromanaging. I have the freedom to create, which is wonderful.
Q. What’s your favorite part of your job?
A. I love responding to comments on social media. I start recognizing names. It’s great to meet new followers and then to see them returning to hit “Like” or share or make comments about all the ways they’re enjoying their pretzels.
Q. How would you compare this job to other jobs you’ve had?
A. We’re a business that makes pretzels, but we’re also really cool. There are a lot of other people here who also have disabilities, so from the second I started working here, it felt really homey. There are some bosses that won’t employ a “less-than-normal” because it’s too difficult or takes more time. But people here don’t get hung up on that. It’s like, “I get you guys.”
Q. What else do you want people to know about Port City Pretzels?
A. I really appreciate how Port City Pretzels acts a business, and how Suzanne acts as a boss. The fact that she might have to make accommodations for someone like me. For example, I have a seeing eye dog—my German Shepherd, Pluma. Suzanne had to call the health department to make sure it was ok for Pluma to walk around in certain areas. Other places wouldn’t necessarily do that, but Suzanne didn’t give it a second thought. That’s the kind of person she is.
Q. Does Pluma help you at work?
A. Yes. Although when I’m just sitting at my desk, Pluma gets to lounge under the desk and enjoy herself. But she has to stare at the pretzels on the shelf and think, “Why can’t I have these?”