Jobs for bipolar people can be hard to find. That was the case for US Air Force veteran Ameer Habeeb when he left the military.

Ameer joined the United States Air Force in 1996, rose to Senior Airman Below the Zone, and became a Crew Chief on C-5 aircraft in his four years of service at Travis Air Force Base.

Difficult Transition from Military

“I enjoyed my time in the military,” Ameer said. “In basic training, they give you challenges that you don’t think you can do, but by the time you get out, you think you can do anything.”

That feeling didn’t last when, in 2000, the New York native decided to stay in sunny California for his postmilitary career.

“It was a difficult transition for me,” Ameer said. “I did every undesirable job in California before I found PRIDE Industries. I sold door to door, worked in collections, worked in restaurants, but I could never get very far.”

Having disabilities made it hard for Ameer to get ahead because employers didn’t know how to help him succeed.

“I have bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder that can be very severe, and there was a time I couldn’t get out of bed for three months. Employers don’t see you as a whole person, and some gave me a hard time for taking time off for medical appointments, for example.”

“I always wondered why I could have so much success in the military and not outside it,” Ameer said. “I was Senior Airman Below the Zone and a multi-million-dollar aircraft had my name on the side of it, but no one would trust me to do anything.”

PRIDE Industries Offers Jobs for Bipolar People

Then came PRIDE Industries, a company with a mission to provide employment for people with disabilities, including jobs for people with bipolar disorder and anxiety.

“When I found PRIDE Industries, it was a blessing,” Ameer said. “I was managing restaurants and hit the ceiling where I couldn’t earn more. Then I found out about a job in a correctional facility working with other people with disabilities, and I applied immediately.”

Ameer started as an Environmental Service Technician and loved the support he received. “I could go to my doctors’ appointments without fear,” he said. “If I experienced bipolar symptoms, I could take a break. They wanted me to be successful, and I dove right in.”

From a Job to a Career

His hard work paid off. In four months, Ameer became an Environmental Services Supervisor. Next came Assistant Operations Manager. A year later, Ameer was made Systems Operations Manager and is now Environmental Services Director.

“PRIDE Industries is a company where you can use what you learned in the military,” Ameer said. “Traits like hard work, dedication, teamwork, organizational skills, and looking out for each other are rewarded. We go by our core values in the Air Force: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do. Those words are on my wall.”

Those values drive Ameer to help others succeed.

“What I love most about my job is my people,” he said. “I love seeing potential in people whether they see it in themselves or not, training them, and giving them opportunities. We’ve done 20 promotions in the last 18 months, which keeps me going.”

“At PRIDE Industries, everyone has the opportunity to succeed,” Ameer said. “We will accommodate you with whatever you need. Accommodation is not expensive or hard. Seeing some succeed because you gave them a chance—that’s why I love my job.”

Advice for Employers and Fellow Veterans

Ameer has a message for employers.

“Veterans with disabilities are whole people. They do a great job. They are on task, know how to work in a team, are motivated, can structure work and get it done, and their production is excellent. If you have a chance to hire a veteran, you should do it!”

He also has a message for vets struggling to find work.

“Remember your feelings when you were doing what you were doing in the service. Those feelings of confidence, feelings of teamwork—those opportunities are still out there. You can do it.”

And he has special advice for any vets with the opportunity to work at PRIDE Industries.

“If you have the opportunity to work at PRIDE Industries, do it. The company cares about veterans, and it cares about me. When I met the president of the company, he knew my name. You are a whole person here.”

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