Career Change

Don’t worry, Sibyl hasn’t had to give up her job as a guide dog yet!
Though her crazy lively behaviour recently, (which included running into a swamp of horrible dirty water and nearly not being able to get herself back out), makes me wonder how this dog can be so trustworthy sometimes.
Anyway, I’m the one having the career change, not her. I suppose I can’t call it a career change just yet, because I haven’t actually moved to a new job.

A few weeks ago I left my job in the Donegal Centre for Independent Living, where I worked for the last five and a half years. I needed a change, and I want to try and find out what my long-term career plan is. Since I left, I’ve been researching courses and things to study, doing career interest tests, looking for volunteering opportunities and jobs. I have lots of ideas but no clear idea of where I’m going or what I’m doing, but I’m excited about what will happen in the future.

I loved the majority of the work I did in DCIL, especially delivering disability awareness training in schools. There’s a huge need for that type of work, and it has so much potential. I loved seeing the attitudes of students and teachers change as the workshops progressed. I loved the honesty of the students and the questions they asked. Just like the students, I enjoyed having the opportunity to learn new things. I was fortunate to be able to avail of two training courses in particular which were a great addition to my CV. I enjoyed working in the disability sector, which was something I previously would have ran a mile from if I’m honest. I learned a lot from my work colleagues and the people who use the personal assistant service. Many of them inspired me, and some became good friends, who I’ll hopefully always stay in contact with.

My colleagues were lovely to work with, and always more than welcoming to O.J and Sibyl. Being blind was never an issue. I mean it should never be anyway, but working as part of an organisation which provides services to people with disabilities made blindness non-existent in our office. I suppose that’s one of the reasons I’ve decided to make an effort to blog more about my search for employment and a career direction. I’ve moved from a situation where being blind was mostly forgotten by my colleagues, to it being one of the first things people notice. This became obvious twice during the last few weeks, when I met with two people working in the area of careers advice. One was talking me through study options in her college, while the other was supposed to help me focus my interests in particular areas. They both didn’t know where to begin, and one in particular spent more time admiring the dog. When we talked about education and I mentioned that I finished my degree from Queens University in 2006, their attitude completely changed. They were surprised that I could achieve such a thing, being blind and all, and suddenly they became more serious about wanting to help. As it turns out, neither of them have been any major help, but it was worth a try. Maybe they learned more from meeting me than I did from meeting them. They were nice girls and they didn’t annoy me, but they just got me thinking of some of the attitudinal obstacles I might face while looking for a job. This doesn’t bother me, but I think it’s just an interesting observation.

So now I’m on the hunt for a job. I need a challenge. I need something new. I have no idea what that will be yet, but hopefully the search won’t be too frustrating, and I’ll eventually find something that’s right.