Job Days No. 8: Hire Yourself

I find myself almost exactly 17 years since my job-finding journey began, with a vast majority of those having been spent working for agencies that primarily employ blind and low vision people. If not for my transition period just prior to marriage, I would have reached eight years with LCI, hence this being my 8th Job Days post. And I think I’ve had an epiphany: the truth for me is if I want some other kind of career, I must hire myself.

What do I mean by this? Well, first I had to do an extensive interview with myself, helped by my coach of a wife as noted in my Finding My Passion post. Then, I had to figure out what my, as she says, “Glows” are, those areas I’m already good at and can use to propel me toward that next stage. Finally, I needed to ascertain at least some of my many “Grows,” the areas on which I must work if I want to improve whatever opportunities I am able to find.

And I’m sort of doing that. I’ve upped my book review platforms to two now, having done one book so far on NetGalley that I will probably port over here someday so that I can then link the two and maybe some big publisher will come to view my humble blog.

But probably the bigger thing I’ve done is to actually kick off the podcast to which I referred in the previous entry. That’s right, the first episode is live! It’s an introduction episode, and it took me hours to get all of the pieces lined up just so. Will it pass the true audiophile’s test? No, but I don’t have the fancy audio equipment required for that just yet, so tear me apart softly, please. Ha, ha. What I do have is an idea, and I think this idea just might take me somewhere. So it’s still worth doing, even with the stuff I currently own. I also have booked my first guest, so if I can get everything together the next episode will go up on April 5..

As for the actual job stuff, what I usually write about in these updates, it’s mostly the same old same. Still doing light sticks, or I guess as it is more appropriately called, Omni Glow. My own slightly overconfident evaluation is that I’m now stronger and faster than ever with my work. Or I’ve at least come up with my most effective strategies for making it through the day ever. The supervisor, and pretty much everyone else, says I’m still too quiet though, but a lot of that is related to my subpar hearing. This issue has not been made any easier with everyone now wearing sound-muffling masks. And speaking of, we’re finally starting to get back to full speed after COVID, and I could not be more thankful for that. Lots of boring days had been spent twiddling my thumb or doing some form of “re-work,” where we remove already-packaged items so that they can either be correctly packaged or disposed of. It kept the bills paid, but…

So yes, I think this is the first year I find myself, not just hoping that some magical opportunity would land in my lap, but really starting to lay down the foundation to make my own show. I think that’s an important lesson not just for me, but for so many of us with disabilities, especially if, like me, you’re and paper resume is kind of lacking. As I have stressed in the last few of these posts, sadly our perceived job abilities are still far too constrained: rehab counseling, assistive tech work, or government work. These positions are great and have led to rewarding careers for many, but I just think that those of us who wish to need to start pushing our own boundaries to make more for ourselves and for those who are coming up behind us. Hopefully I am a positive influence to others, as I certainly aim to be.