Erin Hawley | Easterseals Thrive
I’ve always been interested in disability advocacy, being a disabled person and all. I wasn’t aware a Digital Content Producer, which is basically my dream job, was a thing that existed. It’s something I can do from home, too – that’s a huge plus. Right now, I’m working as the Digital Content Producer for Easterseals Thrive, an online community and support network for young women with disabilities.
My undergrad degree is in English Literature, and I am working toward my Master’s in Multicultural Literature. The plan was to teach disability studies and/or literature at the college level. I’m also a blogger, disability advocate, and involved in the disability community online. So when Easterseals contacted me about sharing something I wrote, I followed them on Facebook. And when they posted a job opening for the Easterseals Thrive, I applied.
I’ve only been in the industry for a year, so it’s hard to say too much about the advantages and disadvantages of the field. I guess a disadvantage is job stability (non-profits rely on funding and donations) while an advantage is working toward something I am passionate about. With my original career path, and my current one, I feel like I could juggle both if a teaching opportunity came up. A lot of professors work two jobs. So while I may not be able to teach more than one class, I can still do what I love.
The best piece of career advice I’ve received is - just go for it. It’s simple, but there are a lot of missed opportunities when we unnecessarily hold ourselves back. I almost didn’t apply to Easterseals because I wasn’t sure I had enough experience for the organization. Even if you think you might not have the experience for the job, apply anyway if you have the skills; experience can come from personal projects or hobbies (like a blog), volunteering, and school-related activities – it doesn’t always mean a 9-5 job.
As a woman, I have undoubtably faced obstacles that men in similar jobs would not. I’ve learned a lot from my job so far… Don’t start your content calendar three days before it’s due. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Celebrate your achievements with co-workers because it will make all your hard work worth it.
I draw inspiration from my parents. My mom is one of the hardest-working people I know, and my dad turned his passion of building electric guitars into a small business while also working full time. They encourage and support me in whatever I choose to do. They pushed back on the low expectations of me from doctors and teachers and society. A lot of parents with disabled children accept these projected limitations, but my parents never did. They fought and fought for my inclusion in this world, and for that, I am forever grateful and inspired.