I found my dream job recently, I am a freelance writer who has been legally blind since birth; that is, I have one-tenth normal vision after correction by refractive lenses.
Despite my rare and abnormal eye condition, I have worked as an independent contractor for nearly a year, contributing educational articles to a privately held medical specialty service and interactive healthcare portal called AmericasDoctor. Among my most memorable moments with the renowned company: one-on-one interviews with the chief executive officer of an ethical review board and a research subject who was cured of deadly hepatitis C.
I’ve often been asked if I get paid for this. The answer is yes. In fact, recurrent checks are sent directly to my home. I am not wealthy, but I do earn enough money to pay the bills, eat three meals a day, and build my savings. It takes a lot of energy, though. I spend considerable time preparing each assignment, gathering relevant information, jotting down notes, and plotting a course of action.
Given the magnitude of the subject matter, which is geared toward a well-read audience, my finished product must be credible, reliable, and above reproach. As a prerequisite to publication, a doctor reviews each submission, following strict editorial guidelines.
Why is this my dream job? Four primary reasons immediately come to mind. First, I avoid the commute to and from work, which, for me, is an arduous task in itself, because I do not drive and thereby rely on alternative modes of transportation-bike, bus, cab, etc. Second, I have the luxury of using my own personal computer, giving me the option to apply colors and fonts designed for easy reading. Third, I like being my own boss and toiling at my own pace. Fourth, I enjoy the work. It is very liberating. In truth, there is nothing I would rather do.
How did I land my dream job? I became involved with freelance writing in the fall of 1997. While attending college, I was hired as a stringer for a regional daily newspaper, covering municipal meetings and other local events.
Truth is, up to that point, I had no experience beyond school publications. Before long, however, I succeeded in getting a feature on the front page. It turned out to be a pivotal chapter in my life. I established a rapport with townsfolk, media personnel, and municipal officials.
After graduating with a degree in communication, I chose to go it on my own, making regular contributions to several online publications, including eBility Inc. (ebility.com) and Halftheplanet.com (halftheplanet.com).
Armed with optimism and self-confidence, I eventually secured my most recent periodic gig with AmericasDoctor.
Jim Howard is a freelance writer. He has worked as a correspondent for a regional daily newspaper and authored more than a dozen articles on disability-related issues for a number of electronic publications, including eBility Inc. and Halftheplanet.com. He lives in Massachusetts. His URL: