Great advice on overcoming adversity
Leidos employees and volunteers from Special Olympics Virginia at the 2022 Dulles Day Plan Pull. Photo: Amanda Blevins
We asked a number of Leidos employees with special conditions ranging from physical impairments to chronic diseases to share their best advice on overcoming adversity and more.
Why you should know: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a perfect occasion to recognize and learn from our colleagues who are navigating unique challenges in the workplace and in life.
Here’s what they said.
If you’re going through adversity...
- “Never give up. Work hard, treat people with respect, be true to yourself, remain positive and ask for help if you need it. Use failures as learning lessons and opportunities to improve.” – Joe Sharpe, Orlando, Fla., User Experience Lead
- “For every person who wants to bring you down and see you fail, there are many others who want to support your success and will help you rise to your greatest heights!” – Stephanie Bell, Lewes, Del., Senior Subcontracts Administrator
- “Never give up! The pain of quitting is nothing compared to the pain you’re going through now.” – John Alvarez, Reston, Va., Vice President
- “Keep moving forward. You can’t change the past, but you can change how you choose to deal with what happens next. Remember you are strong, but you don’t have do it alone.” – Talia Spooner-Stewart, Kingston, Australia, Executive Assistant
- “No matter what happens, enjoy the journey.” – Robert Fecteau, Aldie, Va., Analyst
If you find yourself with a special need...
- “Be comfortable in your own skin. When people can’t readily detect that you have a special need, they won’t readily provide a solution for you. Explaining your situation to your peers can make a significant difference in your experience.” – Rob Hoitt, Martinsburg, W.Va., Senior Consultant
- “Remember that everyone is learning,” Hoitt added. “Try to give people as much grace as you can as they learn about you and try to adapt as best as you can as you learn about them.”
- “Be brave and speak up. If you’re not comfortable putting yourself out there, find an ally to be your voice. No one has mastered the skill of mindreading and you can’t expect change if your struggles or challenges aren’t known.” – Erin Carey, Reading, Pa., Marketing Technology Manager
If your colleague has a special need...
- “Bottom line—empathy,” says Alvarez. “Try to better understand the situation your work teammates may be going through in order to better support them.”
- “Educate yourself,” says Fecteau. “Ignorance is the number one problem I face in my day-to-day activities, both at work and in the community. Take the time to engage and understand what a typical workday looks like for me, and others like me.”
- “We can’t see the world clearly until we see it through everyone’s eyes,” says Carey. “Keep an open mind, act with kindness, ask questions when appropriate, never make assumptions, treat everyone equally and be proud of what you do for others.”
If you’re a business leader or employer…
- “Give someone with a disability an opportunity and I have no doubt you will be amazed and inspired by that person’s tenacity and self-belief to make it happen,” says Spooner-Stewart.
- “People living with a disability often bring assets like problem-solving, empathy and resilience to the workplace,” she added. “Great success will come when looking beyond the disability and looking at one’s ability.”
- “There are 61 million adults in the U.S. with a disability–that’s 1 in 4 people,” says Carey. “We can’t ignore those numbers, and we need to support those directly or indirectly effected by a disability for us all to be successful.”
Leidos was recently recognized as one of the best places to work for people with disabilities.
Please contact the Leidos media relations team for more information.