How does a person with a disability — in my personal case, multiple sclerosis (MS) — make it in this economy? Find a meaningful, engaging place in the workforce; support a small family; save for a son’s college (?) education, contribute in a way that adds value to both his/her life and to an employer’s organizational life?
A journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first step. And these words — this blog — signal the initial notice of my reawakening and the incipient reinvention of myself and my life. For far too long, I’ve been mired in the quippy one-liner that I’m “overeducated and underpaid.” Get over it, pal: there are (scores of) thousands of people in the same boat. A wry comment and a knowing grin ain’t gonna help you. Better keep your head in the game and your eyes on the prize. NEXT PLAY, as coach Krzyzewski tells his Duke basketball team.
And with that thought in the forefront, I declare myself forging ahead, moving on. I realize it will be slow going, sometimes painfully slow. But anything is better than the emotional and intellectual stasis that has often characterized my worldview of late. Movement forward is key.
I’ve conceptualized this blog as more than just for my benefit or self-actualization. My ultimate goal is finding meaningful employment, but as this blog blossoms, my intention is to empower the disabled community, provide tangible resources, and foster the growing awareness that diversity absolutely includes the disabled. Phrased another way: disabled people have so much to offer an employer. Persons with disability constitute a vast talent pool that often isn’t encouraged, often not even noticed or acknowledged.
I don’t want to preach. I don’t want to rant. I don’t want to get all gonzo (“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” – Hunter S. Thompson) on you. I will show, not tell. More importantly, this is shared space: you have as much to say as I do. Say it. Write it. Post it here. And if we get off track sometimes, it’s okay: we’ll find our way back together.