All Play and No Work Would Make Mike Royal Broke
Fortunately, my job with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in The Woodlands, Texas allows me some flexibility to train and the cash flow to compete. Most of my work can be accomplished using my laptop. This allows me to arrive late or leave a bit early one day a week to get some water time and make up the hour or two after my children go to bed. As for the cash, don’t worry, there is still room where You Can Help.
Royal Overcomes Challenges with Blindness
An often-quoted statistic is the 7 of 10 blind people are unemployed. This fact makes Mike Royal, IT Audit manager, feel very fortunate to have a good job with a great company. We asked Mike to come up with examples of work-related challenges hard-working disabled person has to overcome. Following is Mike’s response:
The Challenge of Accepting Blindness
Getting my first Leader Dog not only improved my mobility, it forced me to face the fact I was blind. The first challenge I faced was getting comfortable with my blindness. Born with a progressive eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), with first symptoms of “night blindness”, I knew I would be “totally blind” most likely sometime in my 30’s. It was not until the summer before my last semester of an MBA program that I realized not facing my blindness was limiting me. I had managed to earn a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in 4½ years with a double major in Accounting and Management Information Systems, run 70-plus miles per week training for marathons, and worked virtually full time since my undergrad sophomore summer internship. While I was “legally blind” during my college years, I could still read normal print and get around fairly well in the day. I went out of my way to hide my blindness and put myself in some dangerous situations by refusing to use a white cane.
The Challenge of Accessing Information
Going from 100 percent sight right out of college to not using any sight now to get work done, I have passed through the magnification, reverse images, large font and fatty pen stages of blindness. Along this journey, I had to come up with creative solutions and use the right tool at the time to get the job done. Today, the tools consist of screen reading programs and voice synthesizers on both my laptop and mobile phone. Other blind specific gadgets are used for reading books, newspapers and taking notes.
The Challenge of Changing Other People’s Perception
About seven years ago, I lost the ability to use any of my vision for functional work. I decided to take the Certified Internal Auditor exam without using any vision. At first representatives told me there was no way. By applying a bit of pressure and agreeing to travel to The Institute of Internal Auditors (The IIA) headquarters in Florida, we jointly came up with a solution allowing me to take the exam. I sent my screen reading software and was allowed to take the exam on one of The IIA’s computers.
In summary, Mike believes focusing on those things he can do, using tools to come up with creative solutions and refusing to let others determine his limits has helped him overcome blind-related challenges.