Work From Home

I can vividly remember the life I had almost a decade ago. I was one of the many hopefuls and was excitedly anticipating to graduate from college. I was naively wondering about the world outside my microcosm as I counted the myriad possibilities of the life I wished and wanted to have after I receive my diploma.
Unfortunately, there are circumstances beyond my control that no matter how deliberate and cautious I was, the unexpected transpired. On the eve of New Year in 1996, my family and I met with a motor vehicular accident that fractured and dislocated two levels of my spine. Seemingly, it has caused permanent paralysis to the lower extremities of my body after I was operated on.

Acquiring spinal cord injury at the height of my youth was exceedingly formidable. There was a sudden halt in my existence as negativity started to engulf me. Questions began to creep in my mind as to whether I would walk again and when I would get rid of my wheelchair. My therapy sessions were the most dreaded since my legs hurt. I was immensely uncomfortable with the sudden changes. I had countless and sleepless nights that compelled me to slowly accept my fate and find meaning in the life I have now. The journey through those weary, confusing and melancholic days were a blessing in disguise with the assistance and support of my family and my church mates. What truly mattered I eventually
perceived was the insurmountable lessons learned and my intimate relationship with Jesus Christ who continues to sustain me to breathe, to live and to look at the goodness of life.

I made myself strong and looked at it as a ticket to a brand new tomorrow. I ceased dwelling on what was lost, but on the numerous things I can do and achieve. Soon, I started creating dreams for myself and plotted ways to obtaining them, as I prayerfully offered these desires to our good Lord. I went back to school through distance learning, graduated, pursued a program for graduate studies and worked.

Having a job, however, did not come my way instantly. I submitted many resumes to various entities and clearly stated my physical limitation in the application letter. I eagerly waited for their response as I continued to search for other desirable jobs, maintained my optimism, fervently prayed for a possible employment and was accepted in a language school as an ESL (English as Second Language) instructor.

I was immensely ecstatic when the head teacher inquired, “when do you intend to start teaching?” and I happily replied, “tomorrow!” I was fortunate since my youngest brother was not working then and he was helpful and considerate enough to send me to and fetch me from the school everyday. There was a conscious effort on my part to wake up earlier. I moved slowly. To make things easier, I sought for the assistance of my mom.

My teaching job was from 8-5. Consequently, my health was at stake. I would be on my wheelchair for approximately 10 hours a day as the pain in my lower back progressed due to prolonged sitting My pressure sore aggravated and I acquired another one in the long run. I frequently had urinary tract infection and was taking in antibiotics for the longest time. The compensation was sufficient; yet, it gave me a sense of fulfillment that I was finally earning my own money. More so, it was adequate to purchase the gas, my medications, my personal needs and enabled me to give in to my occasional indulgences and cravings.

Finally, I was compelled to make a crucial decision for the sake of my well being. I was preoccupied and was earning but my health was slowly retrogressing which extremely affected my mobility while I was constantly feeling fatigued. Thus, I mustered sufficient courage to quit my job with the reasons enlisted and opted to work from home.

I have been working from home since 2002 with CAP College as a freelance writer, a faculty checker, and an e-group facilitator. Concurrently, I was employed with BASIC, Inc. as a verification officer. Working from home is liberating. It allows me to have many jobs at the same time without risking the quality of my goods and is financially rewarding too. My schedule is flexible notwithstanding the turnaround time delineated by my supervisors. I can work in my PJs without nary a care. I don’t really have to wake up too early to prepare and avoid the rush hour. Most importantly, I can cope with disability-related fatigue and pain, better manage and maintain my health, do the tasks in a comfortable position, pause and rest whenever I feel exhausted and resume my preoccupation when I have rested sufficiently. With this setup, I deem my employers have high regard with the output I do, where I am most efficient and productive, despite my physical disability.

The collective expression "persons with disabilities" includes many brilliant and gifted people, some of whom have overcome many barriers to establish a position of fame and influence in society; it includes people who already make a positive contribution in less visible ways. But it also includes far too many people who are excluded from contributing because we see the disability first and cannot see through the ability, or because the way we have shaped yesterdays' world simply presents too many barriers. Still, there are those entities that are open to the idea of hiring people with disabilities, who are at par with any able-bodied and are willing to contribute if only given the chance.

Working from home sounds like an ideal arrangement for many people — no more commutes, pesky co-workers, or hovering supervisors to deal with. It also gives employees more flexibility to balance personal demands with professional ones. It is especially beneficial to those people with disabilities. It gives some disabled employees the ability to tailor their work environment to suit their needs and affords them the flexibility to schedule physical therapy sessions. Similarly, a disabled person would be safer by performing their work from home and not commuting to and from their employer's workplace, if they can do their work adequately from their home workstation, and work can be performed at home without causing significant difficulty or expense.

In addition, working from home offers employers with energy conservation, environmental preservation, savings of space, increased productivity, employability for disabled & mobility restricted, allows work to continue during emergencies, and reduces commuting time.

I may have treaded a different path after my injury and may have achieved some of my objectives in life. However, I continue to hope and encourage everyone this afternoon to consider and give a chance to persons with disabilities the opportunity to work, to earn, to live, to be an integral part of this society.

JULY 18, 2006

Illustration from Toon clip 

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