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Is having a disability an advantage in the workplace?

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The quick answer is no right?

Growing up with cerebral palsy, I had to figure out how to think outside the box to get things done. I couldn’t stand and vacuum so I learned to do it sitting in a chair. I couldn’t make a wedge for a snowplow turn I learned how to parallel instead.

When I needed to make extra money for airfare and initial living expenses for an upcoming year abroad in Ireland, I had to go outside the norm.

Obviously, waiting tables, tending bar or working retail were out of the question, I needed something else. Without a car, and having already maxed out my work-study hours, I had to find something unique that I could do regardless of my disability.

One afternoon, I saw a dumpster bulging with cans…

I got permission from campus administrators, talked some friends into helping me haul them in their cars and in a year I made $800. I came back my senior year and made $1,000.

The point? My disability forced me to: Think outside the box, create a plan, get support, execute the plan and make a profit. All are skills that an employer looks for in productive employees. If you’d like to learn more about me, reach out on Twitter to @fiddlenetwork. 


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