4 September 2017 - NINA-MARIE BUTLER - Guest Blogger

- Guest Blogger -

G'day folks,

Today, I welcome a blogger who has offered to write an article about her life in the workplace - as a disabled employee. Nina is an Australian living in Perth, Western Australia. Her ultimate ambition is to be living proof that you can’t judge a book by its cover. She hopes that in accepting herself and loving the life she lives others will too. Nina blogs about life and how she sees the world in a humorous and thought provoking way.

Welcome, Nina-Marie ....

While most children were nagging their parents to buy them colouring books, all I wanted was an invoice book. And I made good use of it too.

I was invoicing people for Friendship Bracelets (a.k.a. plaited pieces of wool) which they did not actually want, aprons and other hands-sewn items which I would then "volunteer" my Nonna to make.  And custom-made cakes, which I did bake myself, but that came from a packet mix supplied by my mum.

I was very entrepreneurial and I loved doing paperwork so there was no doubt in my mind that when I grew up I was going to be a career woman

I wanted to be a teacher, a fashion designer, a journalist, a real estate agent, teacher again and an advertising executive.

In short, I thought I was going to rule the world.

When I did try to enter the workforce however, it was not as easy as I had imagined it was going to be. I had an awesome looking resume for someone so young (even if I do say so myself) so I pretty much got an interview for every job I applied for, but I never ever got the job itself.

No one actually sent it but I am sure it had something to do with the way I look.  You see, until I open my mouth most people assume that my disability is intellectual as well as physical. It is not

In fact, at one interview I was not asked any questions at all. Instead, I was given an envelope and asked to copy an address onto it. Just to see if I could. 

Eventually I did get a job (all be it with the help of a disability job recruitment agency), and I am very proud to say that 13 years later I am still with the same (private sector) organisation.

Occasionally people tell me how lucky I am to have been given a job. I do take exception to this because it always seems to imply that I do not deserve to be there. I assure you, I do.

I can honestly say that the job I am doing now is the best job I have ever had. , Partly because I can use my writing skills, I get to do a lot of content editing and write articles, (almost like a real journalist) but mostly because of the team I work with.  They trust me to do a good job and I have not had to fight for it

It took a while for me to get here though.   

I had to fight off the "helpful" colleagues who kept trying to fix problems that did not actually exist, and put up with colleagues who saw me as a disability and not as a person, so thought it was okay to hug me every five minutes or pat me on the head when I did something well. I also had to prove myself to those who did not believe I could do the job.

At times, it was hard and often it was frustrating. However, I got through it and have been able to further my career in many different roles within the organisation since then. At one point, I even had two directors fighting over me.

I have always said that my goal in life is to be living proof that you cannot judge a book by its cover.

 Not long ago my manager did tell me that I came very highly recommended.

It has taken me awhile, but I think I am getting there.

Clancy's comment: Thanks, Nina-Marie. You have a great style and attitude. Keep rocking. Love ya work!

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