M’s & N’s

I’ve had colleagues at work one at Microsoft and one at my current gig who can’t get their head wrapped around me. In the Microsoft case it eventually cost me my job. Not being what is expected will likely cost me my current job as well. Being blind you can’t work in ways that sighted people can. I am an extremely visual thinker but I can’t work visually. Paradox? Believe me I know I live it, riding the razor blade of legally blind / totally blind.

There are many common things I can’t do well at work. I collaborate very well with people in remote locations where we are sharing something on our own screens and working on it. I can’t deal with meetings with projectors or collaboration sessions around a laptop. Its not a happening thing. If I’m not facilitating or presenting, if you expect me to interact with the written word in real time it won’t happen. I can’t do it.

I’m not what you’d expect. I’m arrogant, yes, but extremely smart. It helps me to adapt and I think confuses people more. You see when your blind you supposed to be shiftless listless and dumb. I don’t think many blind people are.

When I read emails I can generally handle one topic at a time. If someone goes on and on or there are multiple topics I’ll miss something. My rule of thumb if its important enough they’ll call or send another email.

When I read text I read by word shape. If your a regular reader of my blog you know my spelling grammar and punctuation sucks. If your still reading hopefully the content is still worth the investment of getting around my grammar. Thank you….

The other day I sent out an email to my colleagues and one of them emailed back, by the way, the customers company name is spelled with an “m” not an “n”. A little aside. As if I’m an embarrassment. I’m not ashamed of it. Its a reality for me. I know as in the past that this colleague will be a problem for me. Thank god this time their not my manager.

At Microsoft my last manager wasn’t accommodating at all he went out of his way to ensure that meetings, collaboration and communications were handled in such a way as to ensure my failure. You just know its a matter of time for your job tenure when these things start happening. I don’t think it helped that my guide dog took a dump outside his door. I didn’t notice but the whole department was in a frenzy by the time I found out about it. As they say “oh well, shit happens”.

In my experience if you don’t do things in the way that people expect them to be done. People will view it as incompetence or disrespect or whatever. In the end its all bad.

The truth of the matter is these people are small. They live in small little worlds with neat little containers for things. The problem is I don’t fit, I can’t be categorized. These people will try and figure out what I can and can’t see. Then their heads will spin when I answer it depends, as what I see is dependent on many factors.

The truth of the matter is I have never been successful at finding a way to bridge with this type of person. I just try to move along before anything stupid happens, like being told I’m incompetent. Or like me being marginalized, again.

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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