Everybody’s Working for the Weekend!

Let me tell you a secret. Lean closer and I’ll whisper it to you.

Ok, here it is: A lot of adults with a Congenital Heart Defect work for a living.

Surprised you, didn’t I? Well, you shouldn’t be. I know several ACHA members who are teachers. Jim Wong, who I recently mentioned, has his doctorate and works for Hitachi on the West Coast. And we have at least two of our members who are medical doctors. Talk about giving back!

As for me, I used to work at a small museum. The museum was small enough that sooner or later, everyone did everything. I’ve moved items from the storage area to the exhibit floor (and back); ran the Admissions Desk; been a Cashier in the Gift Shop; led tours; put together Educational Programs; and even helped build exhibits.

My heart defect was never an issue – it didn’t need to be. It was assumed that I was a fairly intelligent adult, and if I needed assistance, I’d ask for it. No one rushed to my aid at every turn, and I appreciated that. Rather than being “coddled”, I was accepted for who I was.

I finally left the museum after working there for a little more than ten years. Tourism took a big downturn after September 11, 2001, and since I don’t have a wife or kids to support, I volunteered to be the one to bite the bullet. I was already selling surplus for the musuem on eBay, so I just started selling for myself. I’m not making a fortune (yet), but I have a roof, all the bills are being paid, and I’m comfortable.

ACHDer’s – and almost all people living with a disability – want a chance to prove themselves. And often our ability to hold a job is our personal proof that we can make it on our own; that we aren’t just exisiting. I have a friend with a different type of defect than I have; he’s looking for work and not having any luck. His weak heart often confines him to a wheelchair, but he’s a great fellow and a real trooper; much more than I could ever be. But you can tell that he feels incomplete without work. When he finally does land a job – and he will when the economy bounces back – he’ll be the best employee a company ever hired.

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One Response to “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend!”

  1. Treehousedweller Says:

    Hey there – me again. Yeah – I also work. I”m a kindergarten teacher. I used to work in childcare, 9am-6pm. After the children left we had to also clean the childcare centre – right down to cleaning toilets and mopping floors. I find any strenuous work with my arms tends to set of irregular rhythms. After a year there I was exhausted and ended up in hospital. I changed to kindergarten (no cleaning!!!), and get paid for 32hrs (though we do more like 40 if you consider the work we take home). I do get really tired and unfortuantely have a VERY fit colleague who tries to understand – but struggles. I’m about to go overseas for 3wks and my colleague and I have a number of research papers and presentations to prepare before I leave – I’m TIRED!! So before I go overseas I’m gonna visit my doctor, get bloods done, and a basic Warrent of Fitness. Always have at the back of my mind (often it comes to the front) is what I am going to do when I can no longer work with children – computers is a great start. All the best for your working endeavours – hope your selling techniques take off!! and you earn heaps.

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