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Gem Turner Guest Blog: “What do you want to be when you’re older?”

  • Posted on Jun 29, 2018

We’ve probably all been asked at some point, “What do you want to be when you’re older?”

What did you say?

Recently, a friend asked me to take part in a study. It was about being disabled and my experience of employment.  I was asked a number of questions, which included how I felt when I was younger about employment and jobs.

I’d always answered the same way, “I want to be on the radio”. This was mainly because I genuinely loved talking, my family listened to the radio everyday at home, and it seemed the most accessible job to me: Even from a young age I was always thinking about the environment I was in. So when I was asked this question, I just answered how I thought I should answer but would always keep in mind what seemed to make sense logistically.

A job in an office seemed hard to comprehend. “How would I open the doors? Reach the phone? Go to the toilet? Get into the building?”

It might sound daft now, but for me, I couldn’t figure out how it would all work.  When I was younger, I was so busy trying to conquer the next small hurdle, like zipping up my little yellow coat, or clicking a flower clip into my hair; thinking about a CAREER was too mind-blowing for me, and something I just couldn’t imagine.

It wasn’t because I didn’t think I was good enough – I was just preoccupied facing challenges throughout my everyday life. For the most part, I have needed someone to support me throughout each day, and I’d also be breaking bones left right and centre. Not to mention the Very Important Drama in school such as ‘who’s in your top 5?’. My career was the last thing on my mind!

As my friend and I talked about employment, it was obvious that I had delayed focussing on my career more than other people might. It was only until I got to college that I realised I needed to really think about what I wanted to ‘do’. It was between being a nail technician or studying media – and I’m really glad I chose the latter (however I still LOVE doing my nails).

This eventually meant that I would go on to graduating at University, still not knowing exactly what I wanted to ‘do’ but learning to live and be independent – from employing PA’s to making lifelong friends. Most doors are automatic at work, sometimes I reach for the phone with my pen (and I still answer in time!), and I can even have a wee, wehey.

So what’s the point of this blog? I want to reassure you that if you’re feeling a bit behind in life, that is OK. I’m still feeling a bit behind. But in a world that’s not catered to you, things can take a bit longer. The thoughts I had when I was younger were normal, but I wish I could show myself where I am now: I am successful with a part time job that suits my lifestyle, as well as being a blogger. I am employed. I am happy. And I can still bust those daily challenges!

If you find yourself supporting someone who currently feels, or has felt like me in the past – whether you’re a friend, a family member, or an employer – be the cheerleader we need, just like my family, friends and colleagues are for me.