Living Well with a Disability

Poor Health or Disability – I Still Want To Work

Whether through poor health or disability, finding, much less keeping a job in our work-obsessed society is a huge challenge for those facing already difficult obstacles. With what seem like very limited choices not to mention prejudice, (even if it’s unconscious), many people are reduced to facing a future of jumping through a variety of legal and medical hoops to survive on the most basic of incomes. And that’s only after being ‘judged’ in ways that are not only intrusive but often undignified.

Many disabled people just want a chance to work…

The kicker in all this is, that many of these people ‘want’ to work!  Take the case of a criminology graduate I recently read about.  This young woman lives with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, meaning her joints are very loose and prone to dislocation.  Ambitious eager and capable, during one job interview, she was actually asked why she didn’t “just stay on benefits”. (full story

Despite this, she’s been determined to be financially independent, resilient and not be limited by the physical challenges life has thrown in her path.  In her own words, “I have something to contribute and I want to contribute. So why should I be stopped from doing that?  My story is one in millions. I’m not the only one.”

There are approximately 13.9 million disabled people living in the UK.  The unemployment rate for people with a disability was 7.3% in April-June 2019. This compared to an unemployment rate of 3.4% for people without disabilities. That’s an employment rate of 50.7 per cent; compared to 81.1 per cent for people without disabilities.  And according to the Office of National Statistics Research there are over one million unemployed disabled people in the UK who want to work .

In today’s digital world there are more options than you might suppose…

At aged 15, I was lucky enough to survive Wegener’s Granulomatosis (yes, I’d never heard of it either), but the loss of my native kidney function and the inevitable health issues that ensued, impacted every aspect of my life.  For years, through a blizzard of hospital visits, major operations and taking enough meds to start my own pharmacy, I strived to support myself (I wanted financial independence, not a life on benefits!).  Despite many challenges, I did manage to earn a living, albeit a modest one.  Like so many though, I face an uncertain future, especially as my ability to work could be curtailed at any moment should my transplant fail (which I’m afraid it eventually will).

woman on dialysis, working on a laptop
Still determined to work

But the fact is, there are choices out there.  In today’s world of computers and high-speed Internet access, there now exists options for people who not only want, but ‘need’ the flexibility and convenience of careers that don’t require a strict nine to five; lengthy commutes to an office or working for someone else.  I certainly came to this conclusion as a way to deal with whatever limitations I might face in the future.

So, I acted.  I actually had no specific plan, except for me (particularly as a someone from the baby boomer generation) I knew it was going to be an ‘online’ adventure and I was going to have to face up to that fact.  So I hopped onto my digital board and ‘surfed’ the net, eventually stumbling across Six Figure Mentors (SFM). 

The things I’ve experienced and learnt since that time have completely changed my perspective and what’s possible for me and my life. Not just my working life either, but it has shown me I have choices that I’d NEVER even dared to imagine for myself before.

It’s been quite a journey so far and not a breeze by any means, but the rewards have been amazing. Better still, I no longer lie awake at night worrying about just getting by, or even contemplating that that’s good enough frankly.  I have come to feel my life can be whatever I want it to be.  Doesn’t matter if I have to hook up to a dialysis machine! Not now. The kinds of opportunities that now exist in the digital world mean that a laptop lifestyle isn’t just for people who want to travel the world, it can be a salvation for people like me, who might not have that kind of choice, but still want to be able to take care of themselves and live the best life possible, no matter what!

This is just one of many choices out there for people to make a living online; some of the links in this blog can help you explore the possibilities.

Don’t let circumstance dictate your life…

I was fed up being dictated to by circumstance.  I wanted my best life and I made the decision to bloody well go and get it.  I’m not suggesting changing your life is easy, but what I can say with absolute certainty is, that it’s scary and exciting and for me unequivocally; worth it! So I guess the question you have to ask yourself is, “what kind of life do I want?” And then, make your plan and go get it!

Love and work are to people what water and sunshine are to plants.”
Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom