Forever a small fish in a big pond

Friday 11 November 2016

My welcome to the working world

With preparations for leaving school underway, the feeling that I was entering the "real world" was growing rapidly. I had just got my head around the fact I was to leave my little school bubble and adventure out of my comfort zone..... I was just about okay with that... But little did I know, I was about to step out further than I could've ever imagined...

A week after leaving school, I received a message from a family friend, she knew I had just been accepted to study my childcare diploma in college and wanted to know whether I'd be interested in volunteering at her place of work, the local youth centre. I thought about it for a while but then agreed. Surely it was worth a try. The phone rang a week later, it was the manager. She said she was looking forward to me joining the team.. But by this point, I wasn't so much. The space where positive, excited, optimistic thoughts were clearly stored in her mind, were taken up in mine. Taken up by worry, anxiety, and nervousness about how I'd welcome my first taste to the working world, and above all how it'd welcome me.

The first day came, my worry remained the same. But as the first shift approached an end, maybe things weren't as I first thought. For the first time, I had done something where my size had not been involved, something where IT needn't be discussed, somewhere IT didn't stand in the way..... But this was just one day. Who knew what tomorrow would bring.

The shifts continued coming, but after four months, I left my position as a volunteer at the youth centre. I went on to become an employee..... At the youth centre! Clearly, the manager, who was now, in fact, MY manager had kept hold of the enthusiasm that she had held before, the question is, could I let go of the worry that I had?

As expected, the bubble eventually burst. IT was discussed. IT was involved..... As I began to explore different elements of my new role, taking on new projects, new responsibilities... with every new path, came new bumps in the road. Yet again my condition was finding new ways of presenting itself, in challenges I'd never be known too before. It was clear my journey of learning the ropes was to be longer than those of my colleagues and one that didn't look to be the smoothest.

At times I could feel in myself the effect of the bumps and detours within my journey. And on more than one occasion the thought crossed my mind... Could I keep sight of my destination?

Fast track 9 months after the phone rang, 9 months after I walked into the unexpected, unknown to the challenges that lay ahead. To an extent, it remains the same, with each day that comes I continue to go into work unsure of how the challenges may present themselves, and when working with such a wide variety of people in a range of services, I can never guarantee just how my job may welcome me, the only thing I can guarantee- is how I am to welcome it.

At the age of 17, I feel lucky to have already found a job in an industry I love, a position I'm passionate about, within a team I admire! All of which, when added together equate in my condition not mattering. But has it all been luck?

As I look over the past 9 months it hasn't been the smoothest journey, there have been hurdles as with any other aspect of my life, and frustrations and heartaches when coming up against them but I decided to keep going, I decided to put on my uniform each morning, I decided to not lose sight of the destination.....

With any disability, insecurity, or difference, one thing you can never control is its involvement with your daily life. For so long I worried about how I'd find a job where my condition would go unnoticed, where it'd go unspoken... Turns out I didn't, I couldn't. But what I could find was a job in which it didn't stand in the way. And not because it had no reason too, nor because at times it didn't try too... I found a job where it didn't stand in the way... Because I decided it wouldn't.

In life, we may not be in charge of the card we are dealt with, but what we remain in control of is how we play the game. 

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