I just celebrated my 20-year anniversary with my current employer, Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley.
When I think about my work anniversary, I get kind of emotional. I had to jump over many hurdles before I landed my job. To know that I overcame those obstacles makes me extremely proud. As a person with a disability, I know it’s not always easy to find a job. Employers are sometimes stuck on what a “normal” employee looks like, making it difficult for persons with disabilities to obtain gainful employment.
Many things have changed since I started with Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley (GESMV). For instance, when I first started, I wasn’t blogging, matter fact, the blog wasn’t even thought of. We dream of a work place where we can climb the career ladder and I’m thankful for in the time I’ve been with GESMV, I’ve stepped up to a position that’s very exciting and has granted me great opportunities. Besides writing the weekly blogs, I now give tours and do presentations for the organization.
I must admit, when Covid hit, I was nervous about where my career journey was going. I was furloughed like so many others last year. I knew that I would be called back, but it still couldn’t stop me from thinking, what if I had to find another job? GESMV removed all the barriers I faced before. I did not want to jump through hurdles of, bias, discrimination, physical, and attitudinal barriers that I faced before.
Persons with disabilities often face barriers that are overwhelming. So, when finally landing a job, we don’t want to have to go back to the starting line.
Through research, I have found that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. Many workers with disabilities were in fear of losing their job and unfortunately many did during the pandemic. Don’t get me wrong, change can be good, but you must have employers with open minds to present doors of opportunity.
I find myself to be one of the lucky ones because my employer brought me back on just after a few months. Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley allows me to work from home. They recognize that right now, with the current COVID-19 situation, that many services needed for me to succeed would not be accessible. I was apprehensive at first, but I can say “I love it.” I’m a blogger and often creative juices don’t flow if interrupted. Working from home is peaceful and it has opened a whole other side of my creativity. Plus, there’s nothing better than your own restroom. That alone makes working from home an A1 situation.
At the end of the day, I celebrate being employed no matter the situation. Life is filled with changes, and one must learn to adjust. If people with disabilities are given the same opportunity for gainful employment as everyone else, I’ll continue to celebrate us being a part of the work force. It’s my hope to keep celebrating in the future.