Preparing For the Working World
With college behind him, it was now time for Mike to apply for that first job in the business world. I know that if you are a young adult with a physical disability and getting ready to set out into the world, there are many more challenges to plan for.
Questions and challenges of working with a disability
Is the building accessible? What other physical barriers will you need to consider? Can you maneuver around the office in a wheelchair?
Is the bathroom accessible by wheelchair? Will the employer make the changes necessary for you to be there safely?
Disclosing a physical disability for an interview
This was Mike’s first learning experience. He was 23 years old and still able to walk on his own.
First off, he did not disclose his disability when the interview was made. I took the ride with him to give him whatever physical help he would need.
When we arrived he realized there was no way he would be able to get into the building. So sitting in his car, he made the phone call to the interviewer and explained his situation. A lesson learned.
As his parents, this was another time our hearts just broke for him. Not discouraged, he continued to apply for a position.
With this experience behind him, he realized to be open and honest about his disability. To his credit after a few more interviews he had two job offers to choose from.
Common sense dictates that whoever you are, working hard is the key to success. This was Mike’s motto and he did well sticking with that theory.
Stepping back as parents
Because the strains of movement did slow him down, he would stay the extra hours to complete his daily tasks. Of course as parents, we would worry about his health by him spending so many extra hours at the office.
But again we had to step back and trust his decisions. This was ALWAYS the lesson we had to learn.
The financial and social benefits of working
Besides the financial benefits of working, the social benefits are extremely beneficial. It was so satisfying for us to watch Mike spread his wings and enjoy the working world.
After a few years of experience under his belt in his job, he was promoted. This certainly was good for his self-confidence and continued to motivate him further.
I hope that in sharing our story a young adult would recognize how important it is to keep moving forward. To see where working hard and believing in yourself and your abilities a success story is possible for anyone who tries.
Living with the realities of the situation
We often wonder just how far Mike could go in his business life if it wasn’t for dealing with the effects of SMA on his body. Again it’s so easy for the "what ifs" to slip into our heart's desires.
We must always practice living in the reality of this life he has been given. In fact, Mike is our teacher dealing with all of these parental dreams and wishes.
Mike has truly been the leader in this family about living in the true reality. So the lesson here is to be honest and upright about any limitations when entering into the working world. And once the position is secured, work hard at it.
Have you found something to help you mentally cope with SMA?