Choosing My Career Path
From a young age I never let my disability stop me from doing anything I wanted to do. I was always determined to defy all odds that were put against me and let’s be honest when you have OI the odds can most of the time not be the best. But from a young age I was always very creative and loved all things girly such as make up, nails, fashion etc. During my time at secondary school, I had no idea what path I wanted to take when it was time for me to be nearly finished. I remember thinking it was so easy for my friends as they could be anything they wanted to be without even thinking about anything else but for me it was a lot different as I had to think differently due to my OI and chosen wisely within my limits. This one day at school always stands out to me as I had a careers meeting with one of my teachers at the time and I remember her specifically saying ‘now Vanessa you’ll have to have an office job so maybe something in Human Resource Management or Business would be a good route for you, isn’t that right?’ now we all know she meant no harm and was just trying to do the best for me but I remember that horrible gut feeling I felt that day all I could think was that she just seen my wheelchair and instantly decided that my opinions where so limited that I wouldn’t be able for anything else. When I suggested possibly going into beauty therapy as that is what I’ve always been interested in she gave me this look (anyone with a disability knows the look) and proceeded to say maybe it would be too much for me and scored it off her list.
“The Best Broken Leg I Ever Had”
So, let’s fast forward a few months to after I completed my leaving certificate. I unfortunately, of course, broke my leg (I swear it wasn’t due to high heels or while I was on a night out) which needed surgery at the time. I therefore had to postpone university for a year – which now I can easily say was the best broken leg I ever had as it meant that I had to take a year out and I really got to think about what I actually wanted to do with my life. You all know where this is going of course my heart kept going back to the beauty so I followed it and went to an open day in our local college where I got to see their facilities and how they were so wheelchair friendly and how any of my questions or request where never a problem as of course when you have OI you do have concerns and worries that maybe it was all too much for me. But much to my surprise I found an environment that showed me my passion, determination & excitement for an area that I had a lot of love for and not just my wheelchair.
Pursuing my Career Choice
That September I enrolled onto the Level 2 Beauty Therapy course and from then I spent 4 years doing serval different courses from beauty therapy to make up artistry to hairdressing then to finding my niche at nail technology. I absolutely loved doing nails. It brought out my creative side and my tutor at the time soon realized that my standard and passion for nails was quite high among my peers. After getting all my qualifications I decided to open my own business with the encouragement from my family, friends and tutors. We renovated a room off the side of our house which meant it was easily accessible for me to be able to get to work and in 2016 Polish Perfect by Vanessa was born.
After building my business and creating such a bond with my clients I’m very proud to say I’ve been successfully in business for 7 years to date. I am so grateful that all my clients are so understanding of my OI and when I’ve had to take time off due to any mishaps, they have waited for me to get better, their loyalty is unmatched. I do realize I am so lucky to have found a career that I love so much and is so suited to my OI.
My Teaching Career
Ok so that’s one side of my career… let’s move on to the next one… while I was building my clients in the salon, I was still at college… yep 4 years of beauty wasn’t enough. Now me personally I never saw this as an option for me – first of all who would ever listen to me if I was their teacher? Secondly, how could I even be a teacher? Would my OI let me be one? What if I needed time off? Etc. etc. all these thoughts were constantly going round my head. But my tutor (and now boss) brought me in to her office one day and said to me ‘I hope you’ll be applying for the part-time Nail Technology post that is on the college’s website. I instantly said to her no I can’t, sure I’ve a disability, I wouldn’t be able to be a teacher or work for the college, what if I needed time off etc. what if I broke my legs or anywhere else again and proceeded to tell her all my concerns and how I couldn’t. She looked at me and said, ‘Vanessa yes you can, and I strongly urge you to apply you haven’t come this far to only come this far… you won’t know unless you try’. So that night I applied for the job because of the words she said to me and the way she looked at me like I could regardless of my disability. A few weeks later I got an interview (definitely the scariest thing I’ve done in my life) and a week after that I received an email to say that I got the job. This September will be my 4th year teaching the Nail Technology Course at the North West Regional College and I absolutely love every minute of it.
Never let anyone tell you, you can’t do anything regardless of your disability you can be and do anything you want to.