As I write this, I am at my company's national sales meeting. I have traveled over a thousand miles by airplane to be here for a 3-day meeting. I am the only person in this company (of over 1000 employees) in a wheelchair.
Does that stop me from trying to do what I am good at or what I want to do? Do I a get a "pass" on these types of events because I am a paraplegic? Heck no! They knew hiring me would be different but they knew that I was more qualified and had to put more heart into the day-to-day than the next sales rep. I could care less whether or not people think I can do my job. I'm going to prove it in my effort and the numbers don't lie.
I know some people think I could pick an office job that doesn't require me to transfer over 20 times a day and still be sharp enough to present to physicians and their staff on my products or services. This job is not easy from a mental standpoint, but it's even more difficult when you dump on top the physical aspect of the job.
I chose this career path because I liked it when I was doing it before I got hurt almost 9 years ago. I love medicine and I love sales even more. I love meeting new people and I love the challenge of the job. This blog is not about me, but more about you, the reader, and what we, as people dealing with disabilities, can accomplish when we set our mind to something.
The hardest part about being in outside sales and being in a wheelchair is the actual job. If you are strong enough mentally to overcome rejection like any salesman does, then it will teach you more mental toughness than most jobs will. I am proud to say that I am the only employee in my company of over 1000 in a wheelchair.
Please understand this next line: employers want to give people with a disability a chance in their organization. They want to help us, and not to mention, it makes them look good in the public eye. I have been doing outside sales and from a wheelchair for over 6 years. Customers that deal with me always remember me and its not because I'm extremely handsome, smart, or funny. Its because I am rolling on 4 wheels.
If you can learn to adjust to working your job from a wheelchair and not give up—and I mean ever—then you are a very desirable employee. And one that other employees will admire to look to as a source of inspiration.
I will be honest with you. If a doctor wants to give me his business because I am disabled, and he's never seen someone like me selling to him, then hell yeah, I will take it every day. Go ahead and feel sorry for me if you like. I'll laugh all the way to the bank and back to my boss.
Just know that there are jobs and employers seeking out people with disabilities for their organizations. There are even agencies that will help you find employment that suits your physical or mental limitations.
If anyone has questions about my job or employment in general, please reach out to me. I would be happy to share the good and bad of work. God bless you all and never ever give up on your dreams! They can still be a reality.
Image credit: DAN DONALDSON