Saturday, April 2, 2016

So, what do you do?

Today, on  Facebook group page, someone asked, how do you answer that question when you are disabled. I have been disabled since 2002, and I still have no clue. When you meet a new person, the first thing they want to know is your name. Then they ask the question.

So, what do you do?

It seems that in our culture, your value as a person is tied to your job. Doctor? Lawyer? NASA engineer? Big important job equals more value. Cashier? Burger flipper? Pizza delivery guy? Less value. Disabled with no job? No value.

Answering the question with the word "disabled," is almost always followed with the Look. You can see it in their face and watch the wheels in their brain turn around.

"You don't work? Must be nice to just sit around all day."

Well, actually it isn't, and I don't. Between multiple doctors visits each week, physical therapy, and doing household things with my home aide, I really would rather be working.

I don't like having the identity of the sick person. Or the disabled person. Or the person who uses the motorized cart at Walmart because she is fat and lazy. Or the person using a food stamp card because they refuse to work.

How else do I answer the question?

I read a lot? I have birds? I like to cook? I used to own a child care center?

None of it really seems to matter to people as much as "what is your job?"

It's frustrating.


  1. Or, you are a job provider. Doctors without patients are nothing. Health aides without clients are unemployed. You are articulate and smart and caring. You're a survivor. You are the world to your pets. You're a daughter and you have a boyfriend. You're a friend. I value our onlinine interactions. You are a valuable person.

  2. I definitely agree with you. And I know friends and family see who I am, rather than what I do. It really is just an issue when you meet a new person. Or even online, chatting with someone you don't know well. I don't see it as being my problem, or a reflection of my self-worth. It is more a societal problem. We are people, we are not jobs. Women have been devalued this way for years. "Just a mom," etc. Nobody is "just" anything.