Posted on June 28, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 27 of 36 in the series Michael

TBI Deficits: Part Twenty Seven

Michael and I discussed the different TBI deficits and what triggers them such as what would trigger his temper and tendency to become violent.


Let’s specifically talk about the kind TBI deficits that triggers your temper or what we might call a neurobehavioral problem at work. 

The biggest one is I have to figure out things for myself.  You can’t just give me a piece of paper and say: “Okay, here’s how you do it. It tells you specifically what you’re supposed to do.”  I have to (figure out my own way to do it.)

The last job I worked at was here in Fond du Lac was at Best Buy.  And they were very accommodating actually.  They would say okay, Mike, this is what we need you to do and just walk away.  And usually after 10, 20 minutes I’d figure out how to do it just fine.

Did you have some effort at accommodation for your TBI deficits when you got hired by Best Buy so they gave you some special opportunities to do it your way?

At that time when I was working at Best Buy I was working through DVR. Me and DVR and the person that was helping me through one of the – because they contract out – who that was helping me, we actually sat down of what I needed. She would actually sit down with me and she would sit down (with Best Buy) “Here’s how to work with Mike.  You just give him what you want him to do and then walk away.  Come back and check on him in half an hour.”

And one of the things you talked about last time we interviewed you is that you were much better with auditory learning than learning from reading becuase of your TBI deficits. 


Were you able to use that technique at all in helping there or was it just a matter of very slowly reading what you had to read?

Actually the only time that I really had to read to learn my job was when I was a salesman or something to learn the product.  But the last three jobs that I had, if you could just tell me what needed to be done and then let me figure it out was absolutely fine.

What happened with the job at Best Buy?

I tried to get hired on there permanently.  Actually they were hiring at the time.  DVR tried to help me get on there after I did my six weeks of working with the job and then seeing how I would do. I went back, I filled out the paperwork, was going to be interviewed for it but I wasn’t hired.  I have my suspicions, but …

And your suspicions are that your, you’d had just enough problems when you were there that they didn’t want to bring you on permanently?

Actually, I had no problems there.  When I was working there through DVR they didn’t pay me.  DVR did.  And I think for them that was a bonus.  They got a free employee.

Why do you think they didn’t bring you on full time?

I don’t think it was because of other candidates.  I was selling the stuff but I have, I call it the bipolar issue to where I can be very helpful with customers or I could be very aloof to them.  And I think that’s what they kind of focused more on was my aloofness.

To View: WorkAccommodationsHelpedTBI

Have you had a problem interfacing with supervision because of your TBI deficits if they didn’t accommodate the different pace at which you learn?

It has been a huge problem.


Let’s see, the one who was actually the most accommodating place I guess was the government, even when I was in school and the professors that I had, they were very accommodating.  The places that weren’t, like I said, they had a manual, this is how they wanted you to do it, and the order that they wanted you to do it in, and you could deviate from that order.   And when I started to figure out how to do it my own way, which was just as good, probably even, for me it was a lot quicker, they started having definite problems because I wasn’t following the prescribed (procedure).

Did you have difficulty taking criticism from your supervisors because of your TBI deficits?



I can usually tell by tone and by how people will be animated when they talk to me whether if this criticism was more, hey Mike, you’re kind of doing this a little wrong but we would like you to do it like this but hey no problem, learn how to do it.  Which is what I had at Best Buy and a couple of other places.  But if a person would come up to me, Mike, you’re not doing it the way that we want you to do it.  Get off the floor, you know, stand, do it like this.  This is how I need you to do it.  This is how I want you to do it.  I have definite problems.

Did you ever have any meltdowns at work because of your TBI deficits?


You told us about the one fight that you had with the residents.  Any others?

The two of them that I, the two jobs that my mouth went haywire and I quit were (one) Big Lots.  It got to the point with the manager there that I couldn’t take her anymore and I said some expluratives (expletives) and walked out (known as disinihibition a TBI deficit) .  (Then) there was that job, I think I was there only a day.  I don’t think I would count that as a job.

What job was that?

There was a big grocery, I think it’s Meijer’s in Kentucky. I was learning on the cash registers and I was always having problems because I couldn’t connect the dots of when something would come up right or a wrong price.  And they were trying to show me how to do it and I just got so frustrated because they weren’t patient enough with me and then my mouth kicked off again.


Next in Part Twenty Eight – TBI Symptoms Interfered With Work

By Attorney Gordon Johnson



About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447