Much of my stress, though certainly not all, and certainly what’s related to my job, is self-induced. To put it simply, good enough is never good enough.
There is one simple truth I’ve known for a very long time. I will always work twice as hard for half the credit. Always. That’s just the life we lead. With the deck stacked against me, blindness being as feared and misunderstood as it is, I have to be superior to be perceived as equal. Tell me that this is not true and where my perception is wrong, please. The fact is, we can’t be as good as anyone else to achieve the same results, we have to be better. Just as an example, in order to do the job I’m currently doing, I have to be absolutely, intimately familiar with the technology. There are no shortcuts. You can’t learn to navigate your screen on the job and expect to keep up, you simply can’t. Because you’ll get behind. Even if you *are* a very good screen reader user, there are times when the struggle to keep up is very, very real. These are absolute truths in my world. No two ways about it, I have to work harder just to keep up. It isn’t good enough to be “good…for a blind guy”. That simply isn’t acceptable. In this world, and I’ve learned this loads of times, there are no excuses. You can either hold your own, or you can’t.
And here is where my current employer is different. They’re mainstream, yet they also are giving all of us the best opportunity to succeed. yes, we have to perform, and we have to maintain standards, and yes, we’re expected to do the job we’re hired to do. But we’re given the grace to learn, to improve, and to address problems, along with all the support we need in order to do so. In many, if not all, of my previous jobs, I was my own tech support, my own problem solver, my own advocate…I did it all. It’s kind of nice to offload some of that, at least a little bit, to people who really have a heart for supporting all of us to succeed. Rather than “Do better”, we get “This could use improvement, here are some suggestions, how else can we help”. Apple really is a different kind of company.
And yet…I still put all of that pressure to do better, to be better, no…to be superior…on myself. That isn’t necessarily bad, but it can be, especially when it isn’t in its proper proportion. Which, in this case, it is not.
I don’t have to juggle all the balls.
I don’t have to fix everything.
I don’t have to *do* everything.
It’s OK to let a ball drop sometimes.
There are people who will catch them.
These are the new truths that I have to learn.
I have Angie to help with the selling the house and helping me keep my sanity.
I have my managers, my coworkers, my work colleagues and friends, to keep me encouraged and tell me that yes, we all are, and have, had the same struggles coming to grips with all the newness.
I have all of my friends, meatspace and virtual, near and far, to prop me up, tell me I’ve got this, that everything will be all right, that it’s always just one foot in front of the other, one moment to the next. Oh, and to help me look really, really good, and better than I really am.
And family of course, even the ones that make me crazy. It’s what we do.
So…thanks y’all. The struggle is real. But so are all of y’all.