Learning how to make a fuss.....
During these interesting times, putting aside my husband's cancer diagnosis and treatment, homeschooling, too many hospital visits to mention, all the mask wearing, temperature taking challenges, zoom call etiquette - I thought - why not add to my stress levels and look for a new job? I currently work part time but needed to increase our income.
It has occurred to me that for too long I've been hiding and not telling people I have a disability and I have actually not been doing myself any favours. I've struggled in the past because I've not told teachers/lecturers/managers that I need to lipread because it feels like I am drawing attention to myself and I am someone to likes to blend in with the background!! I remember one lecturer who faced the whiteboard for almost the whole hour and I hadn't heard a thing!! I've sometimes told myself that I don't need to say anything but will speak up if I need to further down the line and then somehow I've talked myself out of it as it's terrifying to speak out in a lecture hall with a hundred other students! It goes against every fibre of my being to stand out and say to everyone, look at me!! But I am different from hearing people, I am unique and there's no one like me 😂
My deafness is a part of who I am and even when doing something like filling in job application forms, I've dithered over whether to put down that I have a disability. Sometimes I've ticked the box and sometimes I haven't. I personally feel it's almost too extreme to put disability - I've wondered about whether it's possible to change the wording and just put deaf. I don't see myself as 'disabled' but I am deaf. I am perfectly able. Anyway, I ticked the disabled box in this instance and explained that I needed to lipread and see peoples faces.
I actually ended up applying for two jobs and ended up having 4 interviews in total. Two with zoom and two face to face. I 'made a fuss' and I explained how to make zoom accessible to me and therefore I felt comfortable chatting online and could see their faces clearly.
Both the face to face interviews were outside and in that environment I was able to have a conversation without masks. They were happy to repeat something if I missed it and were aware of the noise from the road stopping our conversation while the lorry drove past!
I have to stop worrying about what other people think and I have to get rid of that mindset that I'm making too much fuss. If I'm booked to go on a training course I have to make the trainer aware of my needs and to be honest, it still feels uncomfortable doing it. I always wonder what the other people on the course think and whether they think I'm just making a fuss. I still have to do quite a few zoom calls and will let people know from the beginning but again, I wish I didn't have to sometimes. I'm used to hiding in the background but by doing that I've let myself down. I need to tell people so I can make my life easier and it puts me more in control of the situation. I need to stand up for me.
By the way, I got the job and I can't wait to start!