We have another guest blog from the lovely Pippa, this time she’s talking about working with a disability; the challenges and the rewards. She’s also part of a team which are running an online career networking event especially for people with chronic illnesses and carers in York and the surrounding area. Over to Pippa!
During my final years of being a student that my thoughts began to turn to what would happen after university: how I would find employment opportunities that I could manage alongside my fluctuating health condition. I knew I was ‘well enough’ to work in some capacity, but was far from able to have a typical 9am-5pm job that involved leaving the house and being around other people every day.
Still adapting to the constraints that my health had imposed on my day-to-day life, back then I didn’t think I would have the luxury of choice over what job I went into; I thought I’d simply have to take whatever I could secure. By then, my self-worth had taken a serious battering. Everything had been overshadowed by my condition and the struggles of navigating an inaccessible society, and I was yet to fully realise that I still had all these valuable skills to offer.
Entering the world of work, and my experiences over the last few years, have been varied… to say the least! It’s been quite the journey but four years after graduating, I’m proud to say that I work freelance as a writer and blogger, and that I work for Astriid: a charity that matches talented chronically ill people with inclusive employment opportunities and supports them with their career development. In a way, we’ve almost come full circle.
I sacrifice so much in order to pursue my career, and there’s so much I’m yet to learn. I’m constantly paranoid that people look at my social media and think that I have it easy, that everything gets handed to me, when that’s far from the case. The simple fact is that I’m a hard worker who’s learned to get a little creative in finding and pursuing opportunities. When amazing things happen, I want to feel that I’ve earned them.
All of that said, I really do love my work. I’m excited to check my emails and delve into new projects, and being able to do so in a way that works for me and my health is more than I ever could have hoped for. Given the current climate in particular, I’m not naïve to what a privilege that is. I only hope more chronically ill and marginalised people are able to pursue similar paths in the future, and rest assured, I’m doing what I can to help make that happen.
Above all else, I want to have an impact. I want to help other people get their foot in the door. I want to make sure that other chronically ill individuals also have a fair shot at chasing their dreams. It’s about time the world realises just how much we have to offer.
If you’re currently seeking work, you may find Pippa’s blog post on finding accessible work with a chronic illness a helpful starting point. You’ll definetely want to put Thursday 11th November, 1-2.30pm in your diary. Pippa is part of a team which is running a fantastic event that’s been designed exclusively for York-based individuals with long-term health conditions who are seeking flexible work.
The event is free, online and is a great change to meet new work contacts and find out more about their specialties in a relaxed and inclusive way. There will be short talks from York Cares and Astriid, as well as people with lived experience of working with a chronic illness. In breakout rooms you’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable insight into different industries and be part of an open conversation around inclusive employment opportunities.