Sometimes, disability comes knocking on your door with bells and sirens.
For others, it gradually sneaks up behind you.
Taylor’s disability came as a surprise to her. It wasn’t until she started to have trouble finding work and staying on her feet that she realised there was something bigger here.
“I have flat feet and it has caused over the years some deforming in my feet and leg bones,” Taylor said.
“The muscles in my legs are pulled incorrectly when I walk, and it makes the muscles and tendons all the way up into my back pull tight. This causes a lot of pain and stiffness, especially when I am standing still for long periods of time.”
Taylor soon realised they needed specialist support from someone who understood working and living with a disability. It took a while to find the help she needed, but eventually Taylor stumbled upon EPIC Assist.
EPIC Assist (EPIC) is a not-for-profit Disability Employment Services (DES) provider that supports people with disability like Taylor to find and keep a job they love.
“Too many agencies I have been with didn’t care about what I was going through and were only interested in shoving me into whatever opening was available, whether I was fit for it or not,” Taylor said.
“At EPIC you can vent your frustrations, and they actually understand and do something about it.”
With EPIC now batting on Taylor’s side, her career has been fast-tracked through the express post. Taylor has now landed a job she loves as a Post Officer for Australia Post in Maryborough. In other words, a jack of all trades, as Taylor puts it.
“You have to work retail, banking, certifying and processing documents for identity, lodging mail, redirections and holdings, leasing PO boxes, foreign currency purchasing, sending money through Western Union, processing bills, managing and sorting mail, meeting sales targets, and handling and balancing cash for the till.
“It can be very exhausting, but AusPost has been pretty great. They have been looking after me really well and everyone from the managers to the other workers have helped teach me and show me what I need to do.
“I have made a few mistakes and I can’t always remember everything but when I ask for help, they jump in and show me where I went wrong, how to fix it, and let me go at my own pace so I am not overwhelmed, which happens from time to time because there is a LOT to try and remember.”
Taylor’s disability still forms a large part of their life and is present every day at work. To help manage the pain, EPIC has purchased work equipment to allow Taylor to reach her best on the job.
“EPIC has helped pay for my current work shoes that have an arch support cushion built-in and have offered to help with physio once I set up sessions.
“I was also given advice and support when I applied for my position because the application progress was a lot more complicated than any I had done before.”
When Taylor is not being recognised around town as a neighbourhood AusPost celebrity, she’s moonlighting as an artist.
“My main interest is art, which is probably just as weird as my B-grade movie collection,” Taylor said.
“I have started to put my work out there on shirts and have had some small success. Some of my more popular works are my angry animals series, where I have been picking native Aussie animals that have the best angry faces and making them into cartoons
“I hope to get the funds to eventually buy a fancy shirt printer so I can better sell my work and not have to rely on printing places that cost more than I can afford currently.”
For Taylor, her job at Australia Post doesn’t just help fund her arts career; it funds her mental health and wellbeing.
“I work because I hate not having anything to do because it makes me feel useless and I get bored. At my worst, I fell into depression pretty bad.”
“I need to work to keep my mind healthy, so I don’t feel like a waste of space. There is only so much housework, hobbying, and exercising I can do before boredom and depression start settling in.”
Taylor can see a long future ahead for her on the horizon at Australia Post.
“I want to stick with AusPost for as long as possible, maybe even move into a different sector of the business if my physio goes well. I’ve thought about box sorting or a foot/electric bike postie.”
If, like Taylor, you’re looking for a job you love and have a disability, injury, mental health condition, or health condition, get in touch with EPIC Assist today.