Blazing a New Trail…

In honor of Rare Disease Day 2018, here is a little of my trailblazing story. Learn more about Rare Disease Day.

After one too many doctor’s appointments, I realized that I was going to need to make some life changes. I had just been told that I might have mitochondrial disease. There was not a magic cure or even a straightforward treatment. Since we couldn’t just fix my body’s energy crisis, I needed to reevaluate my priorities. Work was taking everything out of me. I came home and crashed everyday before getting up and doing it again. I was so stressed that I dreaded getting out of bed for work. Weekends were spent recovering and catching up on chores I had ignored during the week. I didn’t want this to be my life.

So, one of the first things on my list was to reduce my stress and the physical demand on my body. Not being independently wealthy or having any hope of winning the lottery, I had to figure out what to do about my job. I needed to find a career that would be a bit more accommodating. While I could flex my schedule around appointments, I had to be in the office most days. I did a lot of very physical work, spending time working in a warehouse loading pallets, checking inventory, supervising container loads and more. I knew I was making a difference for others but I was burnt out. The time had come to find a career that wouldn’t take everything from me every day.

As I started exploring making the career move, I quickly came to realize that my accidental admin background offered me a whole new world of possibility. Becoming a Salesforce consultant might just offer me the opportunity I needed. As a consultant, I can consistently work from home. I can conduct meetings with clients around the world from my home office or while laying on the floor when sitting is too painful.

I do not have to expend extra energy commuting. And when I am having a rougher day, if I don’t have a meeting scheduled or a critical deadline, I can take a break and catch up in the evening or the next day. At the end of the day, I still have some energy and I am no longer as stressed about work. I may not be the “techie” one in my family, but I have found my niche. I get to spend my time helping others grow their businesses with Salesforce.

A few months after I made the move to working full time in Salesforce, I had another hip surgery. This time I did not have to figure out how to juggle a physically demanding job with a slow recovery. At two weeks post-op I was comfortably reclining on the bed… my temporary office during my recovery, conducting a client call and loving every moment of it. When I have had to go to the hospital for day long treatments, I have been able to bring my laptop and work. This means I do not have to take PTO every time I need to deal with my illness. That means I can use that time to travel, see the world, try new foods, and experience new cultures. Beyond career opportunities, Salesforce gave me the opportunity to say that “I Lived“.

Salesforce as a company has made a major commitment to creating an inclusive workplace. That has trickled down to their implementation partners. They don’t always succeed in making their product accessible, it isn’t for lack of trying. They take recommendations on accessibility seriously. Stop back by to read about my conversation with the accessibility team at Dreamfore ’17. Yes, you read that right, there is a whole department dedicated to accessibility. In the mean time, join the conversation on the Trailbazer Community with Disability Topics and Admins with Disabilities groups.

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