Once I started losing my vision back in grade school it always took me longer than my classmates to get the work done. Although with the books on tape and advancements in technology, I was able to keep up. Yet, it was still frustrating to see my peers get the work done quicker, especially when it wasn't that I couldn't comprehend the information, my vision requires that I go at a slower pace.
Over the years I was able to master my skills and manage the work load. However, once I got into the work force, the rate of growth, and the advancement of technology, kept pushing me further and further behind. Once I mastered a certain program or piece of technology, there was a new version, with new icons.
Anyone who has vision loss can understand where I am coming from. If you move something even the smallest of distances we are lost. Multi-tasking or multiple monitors in the work place is a burden, not additional room to accomplish work.
Needless to say I have bounced around from job to job, trying to find one that I can not only get the work done as quickly as my peers, but also a place where I can grow and spread my wings. I left my last job doing data entry, as even with two monitors, and a close circuit television; at my best I was only producing about half of the amount of work as my peers.
There was a lot of resentment especially when there was forced overtime on our entire team. My eyes were starting to bother me on a daily basis due to my staring at 3 monitors for at least 8 hours per day. After seeing my eye doctor, he explained that my vision was getting worse. Coming home at night my eyes were so strained that often I left most of the lights off in the house.
After sitting down with my manager, she explained that the expectations for me were not the same as my co-workers. As nice as that sounds, I want to be able to thrive in a work environment, not hold the team back. Additionally, the life I had outside of work with my eyes being so strained at nights, I knew it wasn't the job for me. Plus with my vision getting worse, and the doctor not being able to give me a firm answer on how quickly it would go, this wasn't a career for me. That is when I decided to make a life style and career change.
I remember hearing once “focus on your strengths, and you'll find success in life.” What were my strengths? My degree is in broadcast communication, I had found myself writing, and I had spoken publicly a few times as well. I had been running/managing an adult competitive softball team for years, and we traveled to nationals and worlds, including winning nationals twice!
It was at this point in time I decided to become a “life coach”. I wanted to pick a career where the advancements in technology, the speed/pace of the world, and my vision’s decline, would not have a dire impact; one that would allow me to not only maintain my career but also help me succeed and thrive; a career where my disability wouldn't hold me back, but rather push me towards success. Currently, I am taking courses through “Coach Training Alliance” to become a certified life coach.
This December I will officially be a certified life coach. Along with my writing and speaking, I felt it was the perfect trifecta to have a solid foundation for a successful career, despite what happens with my vision over the next few years. I have noticed my vision start to get worse. I was in Ikea, this past weekend, and it was rather tough to get around. Nonetheless I know my coaching, writing, and speaking create a nice support system so that despite my disability, I am able to focus on my skills and how I might contribute in society.
Whether you have a disability or not, I feel it is always important to focus on your “strengths!” If you are 20 or 50 looking towards finding your career or changing your career path, it is important to focus on your strengths in order to have success in life. I also practice what I preach. Discover what your strengths are in the work force and find a job/career that is suitable for your strengths. As a result you will ultimately find success and happiness in the work you do on a daily basis.