I am having problems with the whole disability concept. I know I really can’t walk well anymore. Actually, I usually forget until I try to stand or move. I told my doctor a few weeks ago that I think and feel I am me until I try and stand. Her response was that I am me. No, this is so not me.
I have been out of work for a year. People have been saying to me for much longer than that, that I should go on disability. Why? I am not disabled. I just do not walk well or fast. But especially now when it is clear that I have lost out on jobs because of my mobility issues, the disability question is raising its ugly little head again.
In the past when I didn’t have what I call a job-job, I temped or worked retail. Those avenues are closed to me now primarily due to the mobility issues. So, I can’t supplement my lack of income. It’s getting serious as I am living off my life savings which were not much to begin with. Most of the time, mobility should not be a factor in what I do. I am a technical trainer by trade. I show people how to use technology to do their jobs. In addition to the mobility, I am a woman of a certain age (double whammy); I was at my last position for 15 years; and I have now been without gainful employment for a year.
Now, I am not going down without a fight. I have either been blessed or cursed with grit and resilience. I consulted a career counselor and her advice was to network in my professional associations. I might be able to find out what other factors might be impeding me from working and of course, I might be able to network myself into a job.
My doctor told me to apply for the disability. This will not pay my mortgage let alone anything else.
So, I am fighting back.
Did you know that October is Employer Disability Awareness Month? Who knew! Through the HR society which I recently joined, there was a session this week on Disability Etiquette. My plan? Hike my disabled self with seasonally coordinated cane there and interact. What a perfect opportunity! Wrong! The attendees definitely did not want to deal.
However, the presentation was very thorough and informative. He raised the issue that we are people, not disabilities. In fact, the presenter stressed that we are people that have some limitations or issues. I love, love this way of identification. It makes so much sense. I do usually refer to myself as someone with mobility issues. I have always maintained I was trendy and ahead of the curve.
I did have a conversation with someone in the elevator on the way out. She disclosed she had RA. She loved my positive attitude. Being negative takes too much time and energy.
And yes, I came up with another Plan B based on this meeting.
And with that group of people, who had the limitations and/or issues? Me? Or them?