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Thread: We have a work forum now...so let's hear about your work!

  1. #11
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    I work as a digital animator for a tv production company, after bouncing around and retraining in a bunch of different digital media jobs over the years. If I was writing this about 2 years ago I would have said what a great job it was and how it's great for a person with SCI.

    I still like a lot of it, but there are some things that have started me looking for a new career path. I can't do some of the finer/precison work using a tablet or stylus because of quad hands. Let me put that another way: I can't do that work fast enough to stay up with the high pressure workflow that our teams are juggling! So I work mainly offline, designing and supervising the project flows and doing special programming gigs.

    I used to have management that was flexible with my hours, so I could work on-site 3 days a week and from home 1 or 2 days. Plus they were cool about juggling time for medical appointments or days when my body just isn't co-operating. Overall, they're still understanding but I get shunted more and more to work on the sidelines. Anyone else notice that in their careers? That's it's hard to keep up the crushing pace with maniac over-achievers who live on Red Bull, so you get pigeon-holed as not a "go to" guy/gal?

  2. #12

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Glenn Research Center

    This was cut-n-pasted from my string 20th Anniversary under the Life forum.

    http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=79222


    ... I was discharged from the hospital on August 28th to my home after five and a half months now sporting a ‘chair. I started to pick up the shattered pieces of my life. My life was a total mess. I wanted to rebuild it. So instead of gluing back the broken pieces together I decided to make a stain glass window of my life and of my future. I couldn’t watch cable television the rest of my life like others do and collect a monthly Social Security Disability check. I wanted more out of life. I wanted challenges, opportunities and travel. I still wanted to learn more in and about life. I still had life to live! So I turned this tragedy into a strategy, and then into triumph!

    About six weeks later after my discharge I did get married in October, 10-9-87, in a private ceremony. Life was different now.

    I lived in an inaccessible house until doorways were widened. Bathroom and kitchen modified to wheelchair usage. Many days I spent hours on the telephone to straighten out hospital bills and trying to get my medical supplies. I ordered basic cable television and got stuck in that Mtv groove everyday. One morning I woke up and I said to myself, “This is no way to live your life. Do something with it.” After considerable thought I wanted an accessible career and I ran after it! I went back to college to earn a degree in Computer Aided Design/Drafting, CAD. I found free Federal and State dollars to go back to college. All expenses paid just as long as I found employment after graduation.

    I exercised some golden opportunities to go back to college and I earned two more Associates degrees (a total of 3) and a Bachelor’s degree. Federal and State tax dollars picked up the tab on all of it. Believe me, there are millions of dollars out there that are unspent each year. I found funds to pay for college tuition in any field, college textbooks, supplies, computers, laser jet printer, titanium wheelchair, showerchair, standing frame, vehicle modifications of Braun swing-a-way lift, remote control operator, power swivel seat, remote vehicle starter and hand controls. Plus a special CAD workstation desk with two power tilt tables to accommodate a 'chair. The money is out there. You have to look and ask for it!

    After finishing my CAD degree in 1995, I was asked to do a speech for the Lorain Leadership Organization where I was introduced to many businessmen and woman that I used this opportunity to network employment opportunities from. I did get two interviews from that talk but I was introduced to a board member who served on the Lorain Advocacy Board For Persons with Disabilities. Several weeks later I was appointed by our Mayor Alex Olejko to serve on this Board. As of this writing I have finished serving my third five-year term on this Board. The last five year term serving as the chairperson of the Board.

    I sought an accessible career and I went after it! After graduation June 1991 I gave myself six months to find employment. I became a soldier. A soldier fighting this crippling war on unemployment. On December 30th I started my accessible career at a small engineering design firm called GLA Finishing Systems. Victory!

    During the last six months I had many interviews one with NASA Glenn Research Center but they weren’t hiring at the time. Nine months with GLA I received a telephone call from NASA stating, “A window of opportunity is open to come aboard. Do you want to join the team?” I said, “Goodbye GLA! Welcome N-A-S-A!” The following year GLA closed its doors and went out of business.

    I job hopped to NASA and been there ever since. NASA has been very good to me. The funds I found to go to college provided me the skills and knowledge to build an even brighter future for NASA, while at the same time expanding my own horizons by strengthening competencies that will serve NASA into the 21st century.

    When I first got hired I was thrilled to work there. Then my job lost that “edge” of being challenged. I wanted something more mentally stimulating. So I went on a detail into another area of electrical design. My first assignment was the Nation’s Space Shuttle Fuel Cell Upgrade program. I couldn’t get enough of “connecting the dots!” I was immediately transferred over to the Space Power and Propulsion Testing Engineer Branch. More exciting work came my way. Work on the International Space Station, the Russian Space Station, two Mars projects and just recently the Space Shuttle replacement Crew Exploration Vehicle, CEV.

    Putting it all together.

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/business/index.html

    Everyday when the alarm clock goes off I can’t wait to get into work and at quitting time it is hard to shut off the computer and leave for home. My work is fun, exciting, challenging, rewarding and very mentally stimulating. I am very proud to serve my country. I work with some of the best people this great Nation has. They are very bright, talented, intelligent, smart and always pushes the outer edge of the envelope. I have earned the privilege to telework. That is to work at home when my work load is heavy. As an employee with a disability the United States Department of Labor, Office of Disability Policy terms this type of employment “customized employment” where it fits my lifestyle.

    Some of you would be amazed at some of the technologies NASA has developed and created “spin-offs” that help people with disabilities. You may even be sitting on one of NASA’s spin-offs!

    I went from loosing my job in 1987 and being on $625 a month on Social Security Disability, welfare, food stamps and free government food to a six figure income today. To being very active in my community, workforce and at the college I attended. I’ve been in newspapers, magazines (New Mobility, Paraplegia News, Career and disAbled, Action, NewsNet, The Chronicle Telegram, The Plain Dealer, and The Morning Journal), brochures, on the cover of and in employment brochures and infomercials. I have done three television commercials and have been on numerous web sites sharing my story, employment and photographs. I have also done several talks at rehabilitation centers and for NASA too.

    You think you have it made being on Social Security Disability? Don’t have to work and get a free check? Think again. I took a chance and changed the way I live.

    The real tragedy in this story is in the woman who said, “She’d be by my side in sickness and health…” She walked away from me for a man of wealth. She said, “My disability doesn’t go away!” It finally ended January 1995.

    In 1995 I exercised the first post injury opportunity to fly to Anaheim, California, on behalf of NASA to pick up the Employee Year award through Careers and disAbled publications. During this visit I attended the Abilities Expo ‘95 at Anaheim Convention Center.

    When I earned my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Akron, 2001, the commencement ceremony was held at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, Akron, Ohio, which holds 3000 people. The president of the university indicated to the attendees to hold their applause after all the names of the graduates have been announced. When it was my turn to accept my degree from the president I shook his hand and he handed me my degree. I was going across the front of the stage when I heard people applauding. I stopped center stage tilted my mortar hat to get the stage lights out my eyes and I saw everybody in the entire hall was standing and applauding me. Tears of joy rolled over both sides of my face. This is one of the happiest days of my life I’ll never forget. I smiled and said, thank you. Then I proceeded to leave the stage. The graduates, PhD’s, on the front row padded me on my back as I passed them. My mom and dad could not make it, so I asked a co-worker to accompany me so that someone would be there to witness for me.

    The same year, 2001, I earned the Silver Employee of the Year award from National Business and Disability Council. I was supposed to pick the award up in Austin, Texas, November 2001 but 9/11 happened and it was scrubbed until further notice.

    May 2002, I received a letter from the National Business and Disability Council that the award ceremony is going to be held at the Hilton Hotel, located in the Walt Disney World Resort,Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NASA flew me to Orlando, Florida, to receive this award and I stopped on by the house to say, “Hi to Uncle Mickey and Aunt Minnie too!” What a great time!

    Why did this happen to me? I don’t know? I don’t worry about that question. Maybe God wanted to teach me or make me learn or see: That this very shy, scared and quiet young man has a story to share that gives others hope, strength and courage to more forward with their lives and he now becomes an intrepid voice for them? Or doors of opportunity to go back to college would be there for me to open and run through? Or I would work for the most respected Government agency in the United States of America, NASA, have fun and get paid good to do it? Or maybe one day when I least expected it, I would get a telephone call from China, from a very kind and gentle Chinese lady who would introduce herself to me and chiseled a memory that would last forever! I don’t know why it happened? I can only speculate. I know God smiles at me today. He has used me as clay in his hands.

    This happen 20 years ago and I live with it each day of my life. I am not sad or depressed about it any more. I have dealt with those feelings long time ago. Some days are frustrating still and some days are some what exhausting but that is normal. Mostly what I face today is people’s attitudes, even on this web site. In grade school we are taught, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names with never hurt me.” It builds character. In this great Nation each citizen has the right to remain silent. That is our Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution. Exercise it! I just ignore them and try to understand the people I love in my life more. I laugh when people come up to me and say, “You drive?” and “You work?” I tell them, “Why not?”

    Last May I went globetrotting and took a trip to Qīngdao, China. After spending 28 days in Qīngdao, China, population 10 million people, near the size of New York City. Absolutely mind blowing! Extreme monster in size! I flew from Cleveland, Ohio to Newark, New Jersey. In Newark I got on a Boeing 777 connecting flight to Běijīng, China, then another connecting flight to Qīngdao, China. It puts the word globetrotting into perspective. A magnificent metropolis coastal city in East China's Shandong Province. I stayed in a beach front unit facing the Yellow Sea. The weather comfortable and cool from the Yellow Sea’s mist. If you have the opportunity to go, go! I did! A life changing experience!

    I didn’t go to China for a cure but for a different reason of the heart, a journey, an adventure and a cultural experience of a lifetime. I went and flew solo too. Continental Airlines took very good care of me round trip. Therefore, what came my way I dealt with it? All the Chinese people I met were very kind, personal able, friendly and helpful towards me. I had very little accessibility problems while there in Běijīng and Qīngdao, China. I have to say 28 best days of my life spent in China with a very beautiful Chinese lady. Life is good!

    During this past Christmas 2006 and New Year I was invited back to Qīngdao, China. I spent 19 days this time. The morning of my flight back home was delayed three hours due to heavy fog at Qīngdao Airport. My connecting flight from Běijīng to United States of America was missed and Air China put me up in the Capital Airport Hotel. Where I telephone my friend in Qīngdao and she flew into Běijīng several hours later. The next morning she hailed a taxi and we went to Tiananmen Square making the best of missed flight. What golden opportunities still exist for us out there to exercise!

    Someone said to me, “There are not poor people in this world, just lazy people.” I see that all the time. It is very sad to see people get on Social Security Disability or “get a free check and not work” and stop living their lives because of an event that changed their life? The good that comes out of the bad things that happen to you is to help you become your best, most authentic self. One thing this injury taught me is I am no longer afraid. All my brothers have guns in their homes to protect them. I have the biggest weapon of all that protects me. God. That’s all I need. He’s always behind me. I am at peace.

    Valuable lessons are always being learned and there are endless wonderful gifts waiting for us, especially as a result of the tough breaks we have to deal with. Some people just can’t deal with what has happen to them let alone to look to the future and move forward.

    This is the personal tragedy I suffered and the intrepid way I survive and dealt with it. Many see it as a success story. I just see myself as living my life to the fullest each and every day. Human life is precious. My heart is open and love is still strong. My mind is strong and still learning. My body is still the same, now I sit. My soul is at peace. I am at peace with God.

    This is the darkness in my life that I turned into light. Now through the stain glass window I have built, I now have colorful rays of light flowing into my life. I don’t see myself as handicap or disabled or super-crip or super-quad or extreme-quad. I have a spinal cord injury and I deal with it. I have a different lifestyle. I live with it and I still take very good care of myself as I did before. I eat natural and wholesome foods everyday. I call it the “No-shit” diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, water, coffee, tea, fish, no meats, zero alcohol, zero junk food and a clean lifestyle.

    Life is good!

    Life is great!

    Life is precious!

    Live life now!

    During my first flight to China dinner was being served in the cabin. A fortune cookie was given to every passenger with their meal. I left my fortune cookie for last. Eating my dinner I wondering what it would say? I was done with my meal and I just looked at this cookie. I opened it and it said, “We must overcome difficulties rather than being overcome by difficulties.” I sat back and smiled. What has life taught me?

    What’s in store for the future? The future is brighter than ever and very promising. Now that the stain glass window is built. I am working on another one for my new home. I am now in the designing phase of a new accessible home, very modern not high technology. Once that is completed I want to go back and earn a Master’s degree in Business Administration, MBA. I still want to travel too. In a short time I will be in a far away distance land where the people say, “Food is heaven.” Today’s modern medical practices I want to have a little ti with the beautiful love in my life. Life is still good! Life is precious. Hope. Never give up on hope. One day there will be a medical break through that will shift the paradigm of therapies of all spinal cord injured. We all must take care of bodies first. Never give up on hope and pray.

    Able-bodied or spinal cord injured, the bottom line is attitude. With the right attitude you still can run after and achieve your dreams, ambitions and goals in life. You don’t need legs to do that. What you do need is a sound mind. I problem solve. That is why God gave us a brain. Use it, don’t abuse it!

    Now? Someone posted, “What sucks about a spinal cord injury the most?” Absolutely NOTHING! You still have life to live. Stop complaining and do something to make that change!

    I have always said, ”I don’t want to be different. I want to make a difference.”

    What are you waiting for? A cure?

    Go out there and live life!

    Before it’s too late!

    Peace.



    titanium4motion

  3. #13
    Senior Member canuck's Avatar
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    Part time seasonal office clerk for the British Columbia Ministry of Forests Protection Program. Starting season #8 on Monday, trying to break into the dme field.

  4. #14
    This is awesome. It's really encouraging to hear what other people do.

  5. #15
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    I agree. So far I'm jealous of Liisa and T4M!
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  6. #16
    Senior Member canuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynnifer
    I agree. So far I'm jealous of Liisa and T4M!
    I work with forest fire fighters, & I'm on a flex schedule, that should raise some jealousy Jen......

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuck
    I work with forest fire fighters, & I'm on a flex schedule, that should raise some jealousy Jen......
    Sexy Canadian men in uniform and flex schedule too....Im jealous!
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  8. #18
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuck
    I work with forest fire fighters, & I'm on a flex schedule, that should raise some jealousy Jen......
    True that! lol
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  9. #19
    Senior Member canuck's Avatar
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    Well I prefer the sexy canadian women in uniform personally.......

  10. #20
    Senior Member Hunker's Avatar
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    Why is no one jealous of my job "Telemarketing?" 20+ no insurance and just giving people who are in a "bad time" $ to get out? I had a job for the State Patrol offer me a job, yet SCI. My morals told me to live an honest job? I have only fired "one" person in over 20 years. I believe there is a job for everyone. Some people like my X just uses my,our tax dollars to get a free ride. I work, insulted by the ADA, Fire dept, Police etc. - Yet here I am.

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