employment advice

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employment advice

Postby kae63 » Tue Dec 14, 2004 7:57 pm

Hi,

Im 16 years old and I have RR MS. I just wanted to know, does anyone know of some career paths I could follow which would enable me to work from home. Just general careers and specific occupations too.

If you're not too sure, can you suggest some jobs that MIGHT be suitable for someone with mobility issues.

Thanks.
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Postby BioDocFL » Tue Dec 14, 2004 9:27 pm

Sorry to hear about your diagnosis but I can mention a few occupations that can be done via the internet. I don't know if you were planning on going to college but strength in English grammar, writing, and computer skills (including typing at a fast rate, say 20-50 words per minute) would help for the jobs I would suggest.
One thing I have been involved in is translation of foreign language medical and science articles into English and from English to a foreign language using the internet. There are possibilities as a translator or as an editor. Of course the translator requires a strong knowledge of the language and the editor position usually requires strong English abilities (grammar, puncuation, rewording for clarity, knowledge of the technical terminology for a specialty, etc.). There are also possibilities for technical writing if you get a degree in an area of science or business. Some of these can be helping to write articles, term papers, and brochures. There are many non-native science students who have to write their thesis or articles for publication and they have great difficulty with their wording. They are highly intelligent people but English takes a long time to master so they sometimes need help for clarity.
One thing I would especially suggest is start writing short stories. You might find you have something very interesting to convey through stories. I think you will find it useful to create your own scenes that you can control. The writing can be done at your own pace and the thinking of plots can be done out on walks to get your daily exercise. When you have maybe 15-20 short stories, you might be able to get a book published. Whether you can make a living out of it, I don't know. But practice will help improve your writing and eventually you might succeed.
You might also try writing articles for magazines. Not easy but some people make a very good living at it once they learn how to work efficiently.
I have worked in software development and there were a few people who were able to work at home on assignments, usually women taking time for pregnancies. Of course they had a college degree in software development and were quite disciplined. For work-at-home jobs with a large company, you will probably need to be able to demonstrate that you have a good work environment and that you are disciplined enough and that you can resolve problems independently (getting your computer to talk to your printer, backing up your work so you don't accidentally erase your only copy, writing code and testing according to the company's standards, etc.).
I think what you will find in life is that whatever really excites you and whatever you really enjoy doing, that is probably where you should be and the doors will open for it. It just takes perseverance and preparation.
And aim high. It might turn out that MS won't really hold you back.
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Postby kspackrat » Thu Dec 16, 2004 5:51 pm

Great question! I am 39 and look back at the jobs I had prior to my Dx, most would be much harder for me now, but that is not so for many people. I also look back at all the careers I considered and many many of them would be impossible for me now. When I was dx'ed I was getting my feet wet at a job for a website that I had lucked into while I was PG with my second son. In the end I did have to give up the job because it was too hard for me mainly because my first major attack was such a big one and caused so many problems. Some are still with me others are better or come and go.

I was very lucky to meet a Dr. who also had MS and was scooter bound. She was a young very inspirational person who was also able to see things thru MS eyes. She supported me and tried to help me find ways to keep the job but was also able to point out the down sides of the work. Working from home allows you to pace yourself and also use your energy for what needs to get done...I did not have to spend all my energy on gettng ready, dressed up , and driving to work. I did have to worry about a job that required the same basic sitting, posture, and repetitive motions, which stressed certain things for me. My eyesight was effected for a while and also the computer screen gave me motion sickness.

I love Wesley's language suggestions, you could do so much with a skill like this, and it does not seem to have a main focus on one area of your body. Also finding your gift is a great idea. You are wise to take your MS into consideration before jumping into a long term education for something you might not be able to use. Then again you might do so well that you can choose the job that appeals to you w/o worry of MS. For me the stress level of the job and or training for it is a big factor on what I can do so be honest with yourself or ask your Dr about getting a occupational therapy eval.

I do have mobility issues and one thing I had to do was accept that at times I need to use some kind of aide to get things done. If I want to take my kids to the zoo or somewhere where alot of walking is needed I have to take my scooter or rent one. I have trouble using a cain, tend to trip over it and/or can not move it in rhythm to my feet so it is not where it needs to be when I need it. I have come to find my walker is a great assistant for me, in fact I did not realize how slow I walked until I started using it regularly and was leaving people behind. They were use to the slower unsteady me, lol.

If you work from home, especially if you work for yourself, please be sure and keep records and get your SS credits recorded. I was a SAHM for a few years before my dx and had I not gone back to work when I did my SS coverage would have lapsed. If that had happened I would have had to find a job I could to re-earn my SS for my disability. I never would have guessed that I would file for disability when I was in my 30s, with 2 young kids and a new promising career starting. You never know when you will need it and trust me you do not get a letter from SS telling you that your coverage is about to lapse, it will just drop off your benefits section.
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Postby art » Fri Dec 17, 2004 1:45 pm

My wife is in software sales and works from home (although she is not mobility impaired). It's an interesting career, with lots of interaction with people, and she makes great money. It also translates to other industries so she has some decent job security.

I'd imagine anything that involves working over the phone such as sales, support, travel booking, etc. would be good. I think being a counsellor/psych person with their own office would be good - you don't need to move around much for that.

Software engineering is another. There are many, many, careers that mobility is not a large factor. Stephen Hawking is a physicist, e.g.
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Postby Sharon » Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:39 pm

What about accounting or bookkeeping? I did this from my home for years - had my own computer and accounting business. You can "tap" into a company's computer system and work online.
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Postby kae63 » Thu Dec 23, 2004 5:21 am

Thank you for the replies. How does someone become a technical writer? I'm guessing you have to do a science degree and also a degree in journalism?
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Postby BioDocFL » Thu Dec 23, 2004 8:40 am

kae63,
Rather than give you any misinformation on it from my own opinions, there is a website from which you can start your own investigation: American Medical Writers Association http://www.amwa.org .
Check out the Links section also. It lists several other science related writer websites and organizations. If you contact any of these, explain your interest and I would imagine they would be very glad to help you learn about their trade. They would also probably have some good suggestions on how to proceed in preparing yourself. If you are lucky, perhaps someone will help mentor you, giving you advice on a regular basis as you go.
As far as the education needed, a PhD or masters would be great but I believe a bachelor degree in biology, chemistry, business, or computer science would be sufficient. That would be the background, and then for each article, corporate product description, medical brochure, science textbook, owner's manual, or whatever your assignment, you will do further research. It might be possible to get an associate degree in biology or science and an associate in journalism and that could be sufficient to get you started but it is more the writing practice you do on your own that will help you become a better writer in explaining ideas. That's why I suggested some fiction writing and perhaps join a local writers' group where they meet weekly to critique/encourage each other.
Get as much education as you can but, i feel it is not how many facts you can remember, it is that education shows you how to learn on your own when needed, how to present ideas (written or oral) when you have to, and how to work persistently and efficiently on projects to achieve goals. As a technical writer, you would get to go into alot of different areas of science or business whereas the typical lab worker or business worker works on the same topic everyday, month after month. Technical writing is probably a more secure future than some areas of science where you are competing for grants on a regular basis.
Also check out some colleges to see if they have a major in technical writing or suggestions. Another suggestion is to try your hand at writing a short article on MS and see if you can get it into a local newspaper. You will at least learn more about the disease from the research.
Hope that helps. Wesley
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