Using your talents and skills is the best medicine

“…but what I have are very special skills. Skills that I have acquired over a very long career. —Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), “Taken

Every time I watch the movie “Taken” and this scene comes up, I’m totally into it. Neeson’s character’s daughter has been kidnapped, and anyone with a daughter can sympathize with him as he seeks her safety.

Sometimes I feel like that when my daughter goes to work. As a father, I can’t help worrying. But I taught her well, and she’s a smart young lady, so I play my emotions close to my vest. I don’t want her to know that I’m worried – she’ll bother me endlessly. I taught him well, as well as his brother!

Like me, I think my children often forget that I have pulmonary sarcoidosis. They are used to seeing me on the move. My previous job consisted of physical jobs that involved running around with video cameras, pulling cables under floors, working late nights, and traveling to various locations.

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When I got laid off, I decided to go freelance. Trying to hustle jobs was a job in itself. Between travelling, filming, editing and trying to get paid for the work, it’s a wonder I stayed focused. But I trusted my abilities to take care of my family.

A few weeks ago, I was talking with my kids about jobs. I told them about some of my adventures working with the Pennsylvania Lottery for one of Philadelphia’s local advertising agencies. They asked me how I managed to get the job, and I said it was a combination of my resume and my chemistry with the people I met during the interview process.

I also let them know that every resume I’ve written for someone has always landed them the job. After about an hour, here are my children, resume in hand!

At first, I was apprehensive about offering suggestions or reworking what they had. I suspected my offer of help would stress me out more than it would help them, but I did it anyway. One of my rules is never to stand in the way of someone who is trying to improve themselves, no matter how stupid they put you through.

Well, I’m done helping out my two clowns and shared some cover letter ideas and interview tips with them. In doing so, I came across my own resume. I had been fired six months before I had the first of three spontaneous pneumothoraxes, which occur when air collects in the space between the lungs and the chest cavity. As a result, I was feverishly looking for a new opportunity.

I remember reworking my resume while recovering from the Temple Health Lung Center. All I could think about was getting back to work to pay my mortgage and other bills and support my family. It didn’t work out that way, but I believe when God has a plan for you, hang in there.

After showing my kids their reworked resumes, I sat there looking at mine. I saw all the skills I had acquired in over 30 years. I thought about how badly I wanted to get back into the game, but the fear of how sarcoidosis could affect my performance left me questioning my abilities. I kept thinking that this condition would be the fat lady singing to end my career. More than thirty years would be lost for an invisible predator. I can’t go out like this.

I started working on my CV again, taking a closer look at my experiences and my LinkedIn profile. I have to admit, at least to myself, that I have some serious skills.

“…skills that I have acquired over a very long career.”

Skills I can’t waste on a chronic illness. The disease may be with me from now on, but my skills will always be mine. I would say the playing field is slightly evened out – in whose favour, you decide!

My skills have taken me on a long journey, and I can’t let them go now. They allowed me to buy a house, raise a family, travel and enjoy life in whatever way I could afford. Every day is hit or miss for me, and I have more hits than misses.

Although I am partially disabled, I am still able to do what I love to do. I started sending out resumes for remote job opportunities to see if anyone would be willing to give me a shot. If I don’t get an answer, I’ll keep taking risks on myself. The best part is that I get to show people what I’ve accomplished and what I’m capable of.

Do you see me now?

I may not be the person you’re looking for, and that’s cool, but at least I got your attention. My skills show you that I’m still in the game. I am more than sarcoidosis. I still have skills and I’m not afraid to prove it.


To note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a disease news and information site. It does not provide medical advice, diagnostic, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnostic, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of anything you read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and aim to spark discussion about sarcoidosis issues.