Surviving the job search jungle! Releasing the tigress!

Presenter: Bernie, ANUK member

My name is Bernie! I’m a Mum of 2 teenage daughters Katie 16, and Abbie-Rose 15, and have a 20 year old son Chris. My husband Marcus and I both have aniridia. I inherited it from my dad, who was the first in his family to have it. 2 of our children – Chris and Abbie-Rose inherited aniridia from me. Our experiences of the condition are unique. My analogy is that we are all like a tube of Smarties. When you tip them out, they all come out in a different pattern, but at the end of the day, we still have the same Smarties in our individual tubes!

The tigress denied she had stripes! At one time I was that tigress! I was a captive, hemmed in by my own fears and misconceptions of how the world saw me – the strange geeky girl with the wobbly
eyes and that funny little telescope she used to read the blackboard with! I yearned to hide in the jungle of life, hoped I’d blend in with my surroundings, but it isn’t that easy being a tigress! You just
can’t help being noticed! But in trying to reject my differences and wanting to hide and “fit in”, I had no idea how much of the amazingly rich jungle of life I was missing out on and that the only Big Cat with the keys to getting out there was me!

Having lost my residual sight at 25, I felt pointless and worthless. jobs I’d done in the past, had been sight reliant so I felt I had no skills to fall back on as a blind person. I thought I’d never work again! Many challenges later, I now have a job as a Technology coordinator for Action for Blind People, which I love, supporting and empowering other visually impaired people to make informed choices and to maintain their independence! During this session, I would like to share with you a tiny sample of my own observations and experiences which have shaped this long and difficult journey.

  • Thinking about your skills – you have more than you realise!
  • Volunteering: building your confidence.
  • The Enabler project (DVD) – tips and advice for getting back into the workplace.
  • Technology which can help support sight impaired people in employment and which has transformed my own independence.

Watch out for the tigress! She’s on the loose!

Browse the other sessions at Conference 2013

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