Loving Life and Career: The Clarence Cruz Story
Clarence Cruz, a 22-year old Person with Autism (PWA), shares his dreams of becoming a Hollywood actor, and his thoughts on being different, finding a job, and staying positive in life.
1. As a Person with Autism (PWA), what are your challenges in applying for a job? These challenges were the undeniable discrimination I faced when I was still applying for a job. And by discrimination, I mean people who don’t hire PWIDs just because of their disabilities. How harsh and insensitive of those people. Sorry, I’m just being honest, and this only based on experience. I hope you don’t mind.
2. How did you overcome those challenges? I overcame these challenges by being positive, determined, patient, and kind. I knew that eventually, someone will hire me, someone who is not a stranger to PWIDs and disabilities overall. Thank God, I’ve finally found those people in DOH Manila.
3. Some people say Persons with Intellectual Disability should hide their conditions to have better chances of getting employed. You, on the other hand, are proud of being a young adult with Autism. Why? Yes, I’m proud to be a person with Autism, because honestly, of the benefits. By benefits I mean the discounts to movie theaters, fast food, etc. Also, because of my Autism, I’m able to stand in front of the MRT/LRT trains. Thank God, less hassle while traveling. PWIDs should never be ashamed to hide their disabilities. Having nothing to hide is better. I know it.
4. What adjustments did you have to make/are you making to perform well in your new job? I had to adjust myself overall, like my showbiz aspirations. I always wanted to work in the showbiz industry, like as a singer, actor, or filmmaker. But fate and God had brought me to a different kind of industry, one which is different from my ambitions. That was my only adjustment in my new job.
5. What do you love most about your job now? The weekends, which are my two days off. Because of that, I still get to fulfill my showbiz ambitions with my good friends, fellow schoolmates and filmmakers from Tupa Productions/Sari-Sari Stories Productions. Specifically, being one of their crew, and sometimes, actor. I can say that my life and career is great. Thank God for that.
6. Other people are still surprised to find PWIDs in the workplace. What can you say about that? Well, they just don’t understand and accept that normal people and PWID people must co-exist in both personal and professional aspects of life. Someday, eventually, they will. I have hope for these people, and I believe in that. After all, I’m a positive person.
7. Where do you see yourself five years from now? Five years from now, I’m working for the showbiz industry as an actor, singer, and filmmaker. Honestly, I still don’t know where I’ll be able to fulfill these showbiz ambitions here in the Philippines or in Hollywood. Well, we’ll see where God will take me.
8. What is your message to other PWAs or PWIDs who are looking for employment? How will you inspire them? Don’t lose hope, be patient and determined. Also, pray to God, believe in yourself, and be positive about yourself and others. Eventually, there will be people who’ll hire us PWIDs in the workplace. I know it and I believe in it. You’ll see. Thank God for these kinds of people.
Clarence Cruz, 22, works as an Administrative Aide at the Department of Health Office for Technical Services*. An ultimate film and showbiz junkie, he dreams of becoming an actor, singer or filmmaker someday. He stars in a trending self-titled videoblog "The Clarence Cruz Show."
*The Office opened a position for PWIDs, and dared to hire one, after being inspired by Project Inclusion.