When you struggle with chronic illness, holding down a job can be very difficult. Unseen disabilities can keep you down for extended periods of time. Voice acting has allowed me to continue to work after my MS diagnosis 7 years ago. Let me tell you how I make it work.
The Best Job for People with Disabilities? - Voiceover. - 5:15
Hey guys, it's Gabby. Thanks for joining me for another edition of the Gift of Gab. Today I'm going to talk about something that's near dear and very, very, very personal... chronic illness. Stick around.
Today's episode is kind of sort of a pep talk from me to all of you out there who might be dealing with a visible or an unseen disability. If you do not know I have multiple sclerosis. I've had this diagnosis now for about seven years and I can tell you from firsthand experience, some days are better than others. Some days... we're not going to talk about those days. Yes just know you're not alone if you're going through something similar. Actually, one of the coolest things about voiceover is the flexibility that this job allows us to have and the fact that, well, you can kind of make it work around your disability. You can kind of make it work around your illness. So if you're considering this and you are somebody who has a chronic illness or disease, it really might be a great industry for you.
There are voiceover actors who are amputees, who use a wheelchair, who are blind, talk about a challenge! That's that's a big one. We come in all shapes, sizes, forms, you name it. At any given moment in this community, there are people who are recovering from a major surgery, recovering from a major illness, right? There's all kinds of things that can take place that put us in a position where we're down temporarily or semi-permanently. I take a lot of naps, okay? I'm just gonna be straight up with you. I mean - I mean like A LOT of naps. Like I'm thinking about changing my voicemail. I have to take breaks throughout my work day. There are days where I deal with such extreme fatigue and exhaustion that I'm not functional for more than four hours at a cliff. I take breaks, I build them into my work day, I listen to my body and when it tells me I've had enough, I've had enough. I also have learned to be very upfront with my clients and dialogue with them about the kinds of limitations that I may have at any given moment, because it's all about expectation management.
Clients are pretty cool and pretty easy to make adjustments, as long as they know what's going on, they know that maybe, if they don't hear back from me right away, "Oh you know, all right, there might be something happening with her" but they also know that typically within a certain window, usually that three to four hour range, they're gonna hear from me. It's just those sorts of things that allow us to still be functioning business owners. There's a lot of flexibility to our work day. That flexibility is what enables me to go to a billion doctor's appointments with five different specialists and to plan around treatments and medication and all of these other things that take place.
So if that's you, know it's possible. The other thing is be prepared. Listen, I keep a chair in the booth just in case. I stand when I record, but you know what? If I'm really exhausted I may need to sit down for a long session. Cooling towels! Oh man, I cannot tell you how awesome those things are, because we literally work in a little, tiny hot box! And if you know anything about M.S., it's exacerbated by heat.
Make your own adjustments. Know what kinds of provisions you're gonna need to make things easier for you and plan ahead. That really is your biggest ally in making this all work, and I'm telling you, I don't really care whether it's a major illness or a minor illness, I'm telling you... you can do this.
Another thing to remember: ask for breaks! We're human. Our clients are actually mostly really nice people. There's nothing wrong with saying, "Hey guys, can I take a five minute break?" We all have to use the bathroom sometime! Again, it's just communicating needs and making sure that everyone is on the same page. Again, I can't reiterate enough, guys - there are so many voice actors dealing with so many different kinds of seen and unseen problems: dyslexia, mental illness, neurological problems, the list just kind of goes on and on. So just know that, as an industry goes, it's pretty accommodating, it's pretty flexible, and something that I kind of try to always remind people is everybody's fighting something, right? Everybody's battling some kind of thing and a lot of those battles are unseen. So the reality is... just be kind, because at some point, it's all of us. We're in this together.
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