As a woman who is blind - the opportunity to be assertive and an advocate for myself and others who are blind presents itself daily. This week I made some transitions - quit one of my employers (love them and left on great terms). I needed some additional time to pursue some other opportunities that have presented themselves. It has me reflecting on my career journey and the spunkiness that it sometimes takes to push through some of those barriers that I hope are being shattered. Presently, I am in such a great position -- being self-employed I have incredible opportunities and am often approached to consult with others on how they might market their business. I love this aspect and enjoy sharing with others. As I have this opportunity, I don't recall a time when my blindness is even brought up -- other than my requesting that we meet at a location that is accessible or they might acknowledge Cricket as a cute dog before the conversation is turned back to professional.
With the transition this week, I reflect on the subtle and not so subtle messages that I have experienced in my career journey with blindness. Each employer became an opportunity to educate and at times be challenged to advocate. I think a trait many would say about me is tenacious or persisitent. I see 'no' as a challenge! I reflect on the employer that when I shared I had Retinitis Pigmentosa - encouraged me to quit; the employer that when I asserted myself about an advancement opportunity told me that because I was blind I should just be grateful that I had a job; the employer that told me they would like to hire me but because they had a client who was allergic to dogs, they could not; the employer that told the receptionist they must alert clients as they called in that the therapist was blind. All of these employers became positive experiences, friendships formed and lessons learned with the hope that the next time an employee that is blind comes along they will know the possibilities and capabilities. The challenges were handled with assertiveness and respect and perhaps because of those potential barriers that were placed, I welcome opportunities to be an advocate for my self and others, who happen to be blind. I hope this open room in my schedule will also give me a litle more time for advocacy and helping others who are blind be advocates. I appreciate so much those that helped me in those earlier days when I wondered what could I do when someone told me no, I couldn't do something. I learned yes, I can.