“I don’t want to be molded by my surroundings, I want to mold them,” said Chai, who has never allowed his blindness to limit his chances of achieving a successful and fulfilling career. Blind since he was 16 years old, Chai can see up to two feet in front of him. He describes his world as “very calming with no negativity or judgement.”
“When you can’t see, touch is what you’re best at,” Chai pointed out. So, focusing on this strength, he started his career as a massage therapist in a Chiropractor’s office for several years. While grateful for this experience, he realized that a medical office was not where he wanted to be long-term. After taking time off to explore career options and focus on his wellbeing, Chai decided to try massage therapy again – this time as an independent contractor. This would allow him to work at his own pace and schedule, and both at home and in the community.
"“Don’t let your surroundings mold who you are.”" — Chai
Chai turned to Lutherwood for help getting started and using a computer. An employment advisor helped him set goals and establish a course of action to achieve them. She helped him create a resume and strengthen his interview skills. “I hadn’t been to an interview in years, so the mock interviews really helped refresh my skills,” he recalled. He also received coaching on how to highlight his blindness as a strength when applying to jobs; something that he found quite helpful.
He checked in with his employment advisor weekly to share his progress which kept him motivated. “Lutherwood was my guide to get me to where I needed to be. They opened doors and ensured I was on the right track to achieving my goals.”
Now working as an independent contractor, Chai has aligned his career with his calm nature. He works part-time at a local spa where he focuses on the wellbeing of his clients, helping them unwind and relax. He also works part-time out of his home-based massage studio where he appreciates the flexibility to set his own hours and work at a pace he enjoys. During his downtime, he is a regular at his local park where he practices yoga and meditation.
For Chai, being blind is an asset. Not only does it allow him to focus on his sense of touch, but he is a great listener which has helped him build strong and lasting relationships with his clients.
“For me, the best part of my job is knowing that my clients are happy and leaving with a smile on their face.”