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New Career

Kris-NYKKris-NY Posts: 2,207
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Water Cooler
A few days ago I mentioned the term "differently abled". Not sure where it originated or how many have ever heard it but I think it should be the anthem of all people who have any type of disabling condition. And I include mental, physical and emotional disability.

So we know we are differently abled and we are all in different phases of treatment and recovery or maintenance. When I went out on disability last month my employer decided that they were unable to hold my job so when I am able to work I will need a new job.

Even though I am still seeking a diagnosis and treatment I am beginning to think about what type of job I would be able to do in the future. And I think about this with the realization that time and my aging will only further limit my abilities. I know I am not alone in this thinking so I thought it might be useful for us to share our ideas.

So what would you like to do when you are ready to return to work? And what limitations would this job accomodate? Be specific if you can or general if necessary...


My perfect job would be something I could do primarily from home via the internet and telephone. Maybe some type of account management. I would like to have some contact with co-workers or clients - maybe one day a week or so as long as the distance is not great. And the day would need to be somewhat flexible in case of "bad days".

This job would allow me to sit/stand/move around as necessary since no one is watching. A headset and a laptop would be needed. I think the physical contact is really important but by having it once a week it would limit driving time.


  • Howdy Kris,

    Great thread idea! I've had too many people to count ask me to write several books. I have already started it. I can sit, get up, watch soaps, sleep in, or work on it vigorously if having a good day. Sure it will be a while before I would see any $$$ from these efforts, but I can live with that.

    Even though I can no longer fly, even without a medical I am able to keep my CFI (Certificated Flight Instructor) license current. There are 3 colleges and one university with aviation departments. I am holding off on part time Adjunct Professor due to the "don't know what kind of day" is today type of thing. The other is they are all near an hours drive with the traffic down here - so I am not leaning too hard in that direction.

    I've also had a few lawyers ask if I was willing to be a consultant, and as needed an expert witness for aircraft accident law suits. Still thinking on that. I guess if I look to do some of this, I will have to evaluate on a case by case basis, as no way am I into travel anymore - so that might be a 'deal stopper' for some lawyers. Options are all over, but right now my 'career' is trying to get my stinky spine under some sort of control!!! :) :) Again, great thread!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,833
    Actually being in that position and in that situation many times, I can tell you that it is so important to return to a job that WILL not create additional problems for your spine.

    With the many surgeries and flare ups I had, when I returned to the job, I was always asked, "Is this what you believe you can continue to do?" For years , I told them, I could do the same job I did before.

    All that did was set me up for more problems and more problems. By doing that, I know for a fact I enabled a situation to cause more spinal situations.

    It was only after I retired, that I fully realized that the type of work I was doing (computer programmer) was only adding to the deterioration of my spine. Once I switched that entire field, I started to see a plateau of my condition.

    So, whatever you decide up, think of your body first.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Kris,

    If you find that type of job, get me on too. Working in a sit/stand situation now. But I cannot move around. By the end of the night, my pain levels are through the roof and by the end of the week....well, you can imagine. I just keep trucking along. Good luck finding the ultimate job and keep me in mind :)

  • Your post brought tears to my eyes, but *not* "bad" tears if that makes sense? As you can see by my post, I too am putting in that now I have physical restrictions or better stated as they change daily, issues, and as such am considering strongly if I can do various jobs with ummmm... reliability?

    Book writing is something I can "decide" what my working hours are, so that is controllable for and by me. The others, consult, witness, teaching, (GGGRRRR) I just don't know if I can tell said judge, lawyer, school that I can and will be there on 'x' date. That in some way saddens me, but the logical side of me isn't sad - does that make sense? I too am now retired. It is under Federal Disability, which in the grand scheme, isn't much off than my 'regular' retirement would have been in 2 years, so for that I am blessed. Money isn't an issue, and that too in this day and age is another blessing. I think that's why I can calmly decide what I can and can't do.

    You made a post somewhere (can't remember right off but it was recent), where if you were aging "regular" you would know there are things you can't do now that you did when younger. I absorbed that statement you made, because that is the spiney life as well. To embrace a change, even if by reduction is an 'okay' if accepted. Thanks by the way for that post too!

    What was hard for me (and my stupid gray matter) to accept was that I could *no longer do a job I have done and loved for almost 30 years. It did finally sink in, and I am in a better place. I was starting to get depressed over the pain, restriction on my body and (gag) future health. Once I realized that if I put the mindset similar to 'getting older' things change - the depression for that faded. Threads like this make me continue to think I have other options should I wish to take them. Funny though, I don't have a personal self worth thing in my head that I *have* to be a productive part of society, as I contributed in saving and protecting lives for most of my adult life. I am in a good ...no GREAT place now! Thanks PapaRon!!!! *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I know this thread is brand new but I can see already a common factor in our job need. We have incredible skill but can't guarantee delivery every day 9-5. This limitation/accomidation has to be key to our job requirements.

    So what else is out there for us. Or how can an employer deal with this limitation? Would you take less pay for the option of flex work? and how flex would that have to be?
  • Hi Guys and Gals,

    I've been off work as a Prison Officer since February 2009.I had Percudyn Stabilisation surgery in February this year and after weaning off the MST morphine I returned to work on 'light duties' on May 4th.
    I lasted til May 31st but the pain returned and I had to stop again. My surgeon thinks one of my implants maybe working itself lose but I'm waiting for my CT and bone scan results.
    In the meantime I've been informed that my Governor is looking into trying to dismiss me for something called 'Medical Inefficiency'.
    With all the government cutbacks I think I'm for the chopping block but only time will tell.
    At present I'm trying to stay positive but actively looking for another career opportunity-hopefully to do with the food industry-so fingers crossed eh.
  • I have tossed around about waiting for disability...
    I have chosen to keep my brain active while most of the time my body is not..
    I have found the perfect fit for me..I am a independant rep for a great company which I can't mention..(pm me if you want to know)
    Just started few months ago and altho I don't make much.. I am paying for my month pool fees and all the extra's my kids couldn't have..

    I have been able to get my son a math tutor and swim classes...and I hope to help my d with her extras for school..
    I work as little or as much as I want and I have my son do the heavy part of lifting boxes and delivery my books....
    Its a start and makes me happy to help my family in some little ways.. and my brain keeps active...I take
    online classes for free to keep learning ...
    I am not done yet...(I try to tell myself that daily)
    I so agree with ya brenda it takes awhile to let go of the person I was...doing everything for everyone ..working 2 pt jobs..
    At times I miss the old me .....
    .........but gotta keep moving.. life is about change (as in marriage for better or worse)in sickness and health


    Dream job if I was able or when I'm able would be working on a cruise ship..perhaps management or food
    (I have my food sanitaion license) and also would love to be an inspector of hotels and resturants ...(very hard to find in our county...have to know someone...)
    but thats my 2 cents...
    ty my spiney friends
    neck,bone spurs pain started 04, back issues and fusion l4,l5 06~hardware removed.
    good few yrs. 09 pain sharp, numbness feet,legs, diagnosed fibro, neurop. legs.lung issues.
    daily goal do good thing for someone.
  • I've spent much time thinking about this very thing. I am finally after almost 4 years resigned to the fact that I will not be able to go back into the field of work that I loved so very much. I can remember what seemed like yesterday, working 16 hour shifts, doubling back and coming in 8 hours later. After my back issues I continued nursing, just from behind a desk. That is the worst possible thing I can think of doing right now-sitting!

    I've spent so many days and sleepless nights worried about what was going to happen once I got better. Then when that point came that there wasn't going to be a "better", I spent much time reflecting.

    If it weren't for this back injury and all of the associated problems, I would not have been able to be home with my children for the last couple of years. Being there when they get on and off of the school bus, being able to sit down with them after school and do homework and listen to how their day was has been a true blessing.

    Chronic pain has taken away so much from me; my health, my time, my profession, and sometimes my sanity. But the silver lining in that cloud is just enough of an incentive to never stop trying to get better physically, mentally, emotionally, and spritually. Had it not been for this pain I may have, in 20 or 30 years, looked back and regretted the time I missed with my children.

    My next goal, after this PLIF is taken care of, is to go back to school. I want to be an artist! It's something that I can do at home, in my PJs, standing up...works for me! :) I do some painting and sketching now, but one day I'd love to get paid for it lol.
  • Stacey I think you got it just right. I have stayed home with the kids when they were young and then only worked part time since. I've been here when they leave and get home. I have been able to be able to stay home if they are sick. Somedays I think about the career I could have had. The money I could have made. And I get a little sad but then I remember how important it is to be there for the kids. Today many people are not able to do this and some just want more. But they don't realize what they are missing until 20 years latter.

    I love the idea of art. Too bad I don't have any talent :(
  • For the past six years with all my neck issues there was no way that i could work outside the house and i kinda fell into babysitting for everyone else who had to work.My daughters friends from school had been telling there parents that i stay home and i was getting calls from there parents asking me to watch there kids before and after school until they got off work.It wasn't something that i ever expected to do but i always had some extra money on me and i never had to worry that i had to stay seated or i always had to be constantly moving i could do whatever i wanted to around my house.I'd love to go back into the work force but right now i know its not practical and if i were to i really don't know what i could do.
  • Kris-NY said:
    Stacey I think you got it just right. I have stayed home with the kids when they were young and then only worked part time since. I've been here when they leave and get home. I have been able to be able to stay home if they are sick. Somedays I think about the career I could have had. The money I could have made. And I get a little sad but then I remember how important it is to be there for the kids. Today many people are not able to do this and some just want more. But they don't realize what they are missing until 20 years latter.

    I love the idea of art. Too bad I don't have any talent :(
    Kris, I was a dealership auto technician for 12 years after highschool, then when we got married and had kids I was a stay-at-home dad for 11 years and fell into my current job by answering a simple add for casual labor to load in traveling road shows. That progressed to full time work with benefits the dealers never offered.

    Even if I had never found a decent job after staying with my boys I would not regret doing it.
    One is entering his 3rd year of mechanical engineering in College, the other will be a Senior in High school this year, his GPA is ABOVE a 4.0 (how they do that nowadays I do not know) He is also being sought out by several Lacrosse coaches for various colleges. I could brag a little more but that is not the point, never regret helping children learn to be their best, NEVER. It is our legacy.
  • Hello all,

    I'm fairly new to spine health but has recommended it to a friend who recently had his first 2 epidurals and still has pain.

    I also want to say thanks to Kris-NY (funny, my daughter is AKA Kris and she was born in NY)for starting this thread. this as been my main topic since June 23rd when my GP said to me "maybe you may need to change jobs." Since then this has been an on-going conversation with my partner. I am the program supervisor for a non-profit company that provides services to SED children, children diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, autism, CB, and other diagnoses. I recruit, facilitate trainings (includes set up and pull down tables and chairs), interview, hire, monthly reports, and home visits plus supervise somewhere between 45-60 providers. My day varies, so if I schedule a home visit with a busy parent who has a child diagnosed with autism and cancel due to pain the parent gets upset because they had scheduled other things around this visit. I've had A/P fusion plus a microDis. all in March of this year. I continue to have some back pain but mainly thigh and leg pain, also thigh and leg numbness. My pain gives me a total of 25-30 mins standing or siting. I can't sleep on my left side, and when I do drive I get more back pain. My GP recently started me on neurontin (did I spell it correctly?), it helps at nights but not during the days. My GP suggested that I get my 4th epidural to help with pain. I also have IBS and has been experiencing rectal spasms which is just as painful as any back pain and so far there's no relief.

    At this point I really thought I could go back pt and work myself back up to fulltime but I have to be honest I can't do this job anymore. I'm thinking of going to grad school online for MFT which will give me a job where I can have my own schedule. It's a huge decision. I guess my supervisor knows I can't continue working in my old position and is waiting on me to resign. I will need to make a decision soon.

    Thanks everyone for listening :)))
  • After being injured on duty twice, the last time requiring surgery on the knee and back; I am not sure if I would want another career if/when I am forced to medically retire. Being a detective, I do not often have to deal with physical altercations. But when I do they can be nasty (see second injury comment). One more altercation like that, and I will be out of service for good.

    When / if that happens, I will most likely try writing or teaching justice studies / or other law enforcement classes to fill my time. Just not sure if the institutions of higher learning would accept someone with real life experiences; and expectations of the students.

    Worst case scenario, my new job would include the statement, "Welcome to wally-world. Now get your stuff and get out!" :) (quote from Jeff Dunham slightly modified)
    View my history for all the gory details.
  • Kris,
    Change is always difficult and always imposed change I know that the duration of my physical job was on the decline and once I had my operation knew as you that a career change was mandatory. I had invested so much time and emphasis in my present role and ran a small office within the telecommunication industry, as you, I was pushed rather than jumped. I used what I like to call my downtime to develop other opportunities and develop myself giving me a wider choice when my time came again.

    Brenda’s point that when we miss opportunities we do live to regret not grasping it with both hands, many factors are important when these imposed changes arrive. The ultimate job for us perhaps does not exist and chronic pain is not conducive to the working environment, it is difficult and those jobs that could cater to our specific need perhaps do not exist in adequate numbers. I adapted a job to suit my needs rather that the other way round and as Ron said, had that limited capacity element as part of a new job, potential employers perhaps see us a risky investment, based on our potential.

    Here we have diverse and enhanced skills, unacknowledged, the measure of our employability is not just what we cannot do, rather the special things we can, it takes a special employer to recognise those attributes and see part the physical limitation that are only one aspect of our capability. Waiting is ineffectual and every day of my imposed immobility I thought about what I needed to do to get another job, I planned and examined every possibility, I tried jobs I might like and equated how suited they were to my needs.

    What saddens me is the notion that some here think they are past it and even in constant pain as I am it is not easy, what is sad, is not to have tried and been adequately supported, bang on doors impose yourself, you are worth it. The old you may have gone, the new you looks to the future, to seek everything we missed the first time. I have that understanding employer who accepts and adapts to my bad days, an independent support worker who assists my all encompassing needs. Doing what you want is only the start of the development process, you have to make it happen, be the person you want to be and value yourself, find the right support network and use them.

    My thoughts are with Traci, I too cannot stand at times even at work, my family and I pay a high personal price for them supporting me in wanting to continue working, the pain I have has never eased and I do have my moments, you are worth more to yourself, I have had those years watching my life go past and any meaningful status and inclusion is better than that.

    Here we have voluntary organisations that enable individuals to develop those hours to try and see if working is possible, from home or elsewhere, the benefit of inclusion far outweighs the monetary aspect and a way in to the return to work objective. As some know my son is disabled and his disability in employment has not been used against him, some of his colleagues were still unaware of his physical limitation and that was not seen as a potential restriction or distracter from employing him.

    Take care Kris and good luck you have worked hard.

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