Acheiving your goals even when facing barriers
I’ve always wanted to work in journalism. In fact, when I was in high school, I even job shadowed at a local radio station. However, the summer before my final year of high school, I was involved in a car accident, breaking my back and ending up in a wheelchair.
After that, I figured that I would have to rethink my plans. I was at a loss. I wasn’t sure what to do, or even what I could do anymore. After a long period of uncertainty, I decided to follow my dream of going into journalism and haven’t looked back since. During my undergrad years I began interning in a newsroom. Once I finished my degree, I applied for journalism school, was accepted to a graduate program in Toronto and drove across the country to get there. I finished the two-year program in April 2005 and have since worked in two different TV newsrooms and now have a job in radio news.
I thought that being in a wheelchair would make things impossible, but it hasn’t. Admittedly, it has made some things more difficult…but not everything. I currently do a lot of work at my desk, which means there is no difference in the kind of work I would have done prior to my injury anyway.
How adapting to difficult situations creates new opportunities
Going out of the office to cover stories was trickier and it seemed that people were hesitant to let me do it. However, I managed to figure out how to get in and out of a camera van and after that, not only was I asked to go, but I was recognized for taking the initiative to try. In some situations, interestingly, being in a wheelchair has even proven to be an advantage.
Once someone who was being interviewed by a group of reporters actually stopped to see if there was anything else I wanted to ask!
There are some careers that would not be a good fit for a person in a wheelchair. I am obviously not able to become a firefighter or a wrestler, but most careers are possible. It just might take a little more ingenuity, strategy and perseverance (things that anyone who has had to get around in a wheelchair has plenty of). There will always be people who don’t think you are capable of doing things, but you have to believe that if you really want to, there is always a way.
And after all, thinking outside the box is something that most companies want their employees to be able to do!
In the big picture, it’s your attitude that really matters. Everyone has obstacles; some are just more obvious than others.
Tara Weber is an Ambassador for the Rick Hansen Man In Motion Foundation. Call 1-800-213-2121 for more info or visit www.rickhansen.com.
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