7 Ways your Disability is an Asset to You Becoming the Best Employee You Can Be
If you want to be the best employee that you can be, you have to know your strengths. It is as simple as that, whether you are disabled or able-bodied. In the case of being disabled, I have found for myself that it can be hard to know how I benefit a workplace when I do not feel like I fit the general mold for what makes a good employee.
Except, the thing is – I do. And so do you.
One of the things that I have been struggling with is how to love myself when I do not feel like I see myself reflected in society. So let me first say that you are loved. I see you. I know your struggle. I know your strength. I know that you are kind and empathetic and probably a little angry at the world too.
Second, let me say that it is because of those traits that you are a good employee. So let’s talk about these.
1. You have struggled and you have forged forward.
Dealing with diagnosis, symptoms, flares, doctors’ appointments, ableism, and medication side effects are no picnic. The same inner strength it takes to tackle these things, is the same strength to use to handle the stress and challenges of a workplace.
2. You know how to do project management like literally no other.
I know that my medication management alone is one LARGE project. Frankly, the rest of being sick requires a lot of project management too; getting the right referrals to the right doctors, recording flare ups and symptoms, planning out your day according to how many spoons you have, takes time management. You’ve probably perfected your project management skills and don’t even know it.
3. You are a creative problem-solver.
You have had to think outside-of-the-box because much of your life has been outside-of-the-box. Every company wants a creative problem-solver, and I know you have plenty of examples of how you have been one. We can’t always do things in the way other people can do them, so we have to be creative in solving problems!
4. You are efficient (because spoons)!
You have learned to do things differently than the average able-bodied person, and that makes you AN ASSET. What company does not want someone to help with efficiency? Remember: efficiency ≠ laziness. You can balance your time!!
5. You are resilient.
This one’s self-explanatory.
6. You have taken agency in your life.
You are here. You are reading this article. You are considering jobs. That is something to be immensely proud of! Not only are you taking agency here, but you live a life of agency-- even if it does not always feel like it. You go to doctors and pick and choose appointments and deal with ableism, but you keep pushing forward.
7. You have a community behind you.
Remember that you have a support group behind you. For me, I find the disability community on social media and the Intimately community for women and NB folx to be incredible resources. So many disability or chronic illness communities are specifically about the health and medical aspects. I love Intimately create spaces about the everyday aspects of living with an illness or disability. They provide you with a group of people to encourage you, remind you of your beauty and your strength, and help you feel confident. You can talk about travel, dating, fashion, beauty and more. Our life is more than the medications we take and the doctors we see! Strength comes in numbers and it so empowering to be able to unwind at the end of the day, connect with other folks on Intimately who just get what life is like.
(Another little plug for Intimately.co – they create adaptive lingerie for people with limited mobility! Who doesn’t feel more confident when they can be both comfy and cute in their undergarments? Adaptive undergarments let you manage getting dressed with more ease, and how does that not start your day off on a more confident note?)
Why do these things matter? They matter because confidence matters in the workplace. The more confident you are, the more you can take charge and the more confidence others will have in you.
All of this is to say: you are qualified and capable. You have a group of people behind you ready to cheer you on, and we are SO proud of you.
NDEAM celebrates both the past and present contributions of workers with disabilities in America. Importantly, NDEAM serves as a mechanism through which supportive and inclusive employment practices and policies for all workers, especially those who have a disability(s) can be showcased, advocated for, and encouraged.
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