Rocklin resident defies odds

Andrew Metz creates job niche in tough economy
By: Nik Pottier, Placer Herald Correspondent
-A +A
In today’s competitive job market, finding work is a difficult task even for those with impressive work experience and graduate level degrees. It’s even tougher for someone with a disability to compete for good jobs. “In today’s economy, I found the job market to be extremely limited. Add a disability onto that, and I, no doubt, was in a pickle – left with few options and feeling defeated,” said Andrew Metz. After earning a BA degree from Hofstra University and an MBA from Bowie State University, Metz became the controller and senior manager for Hands on Video Relay Services Inc. (now Purple Language Service Inc.). He then held several top management level positions with the Indiana School for the Deaf and worked as a contract specialist for the Department of Navy. After his employer downsized in 2009, Metz, 46, found himself in the unemployment lines. Despite his years of experience and degrees, Metz, who was born deaf, struggled to find employment. “People never say it, but they believe it will be more difficult to communicate with someone who is deaf,” Metz said. “They are scared to take chances.” What they don’t realize, he continued, is that there are many simple and effective ways to communicate with individuals who are deaf. Video Relay Service (VRS), for instance, allows the deaf to communicate over the phone with hearing people through an interpreter. There’s also Text Relay (IP), which utilizes a computer to convey conversations over the phone. In spite of these technological advances, Metz believes, most employers were reluctant to hire an individual who is deaf. In late 2010, a friend suggested that Metz check out Joy Life, a new nutrition company offering multiple health-related products. In the multi-level marketing business, Metz’s job is to advertise Joy Life’s health products (Energy Cup, Zing, Intense Anti-Aging Skin Cream, and Galaxy High Blend) as well as find people who enjoy the benefits of the company’s products. Metz also encourages users of the products to become distributors. Metz believes the business is a perfect fit for him, since he is very health conscious and regularly participates in triathlons. The business has offered many of the benefits he had been looking for as well as some unanticipated ones. “I was able to reconnect with old friends as well as make new friends,” he said, “I also discovered that this industry is equal opportunity for everyone, which means my deafness has become transparent.” Metz has become a founding distributor of Joy Life USA as well as a leadership member. Currently, he leads more than 225 Joy Life Distributors. Coaching, training, and encouraging the personal growth of others has also given Metz the power to create opportunities for others in similar positions. A very important personal benefit, Metz said, is that as his own boss he can spend more time with his long-time girlfriend, Kimberly, and their 2-year-old son, Liam, as well as her sons Adam, 13, and Joe, 12. Additionally, Metz is the proud father of three children living in Maryland: Kate, 18, Miles, 16, and Mary, 10. “Some people would look at me as a person with a ‘handicap,’” he said. “I would argue all of us are ‘handicapped’ in some way. We all have our own personal obstacles and challenges to overcome. If I can do it, anyone can!”