“She is blind”, was the first sentence my parents heard when the doctors checked me out after I was born, “And she has got albinism.” Not much was known about albinism in 1967, apart from that it was genetic, that it can occur in people and animals, and that it affected eyes and skin. The doctors were right with one thing: I was an albino, however I was not blind, I could see, not like everyone else with 20/20 vision, but I could see enough.
I loved school, got the German equivalent of ‘O’ Levels, and became a typist at the civil section of Stuttgart’s District Court following a two-year apprenticeship. I made new friends in the Cologne area and decided, aged 22, that it was time to leave home and start out on my own. My parents didn’t expect I would cope well living independently, but were impressed how I found myself a job and a flat.
After living in Cologne, I left the civil service altogether and moved to the Frankfurt/Main area. I got a secretarial job at a real-time software company, where I had to use my English language skills every single day, as the company was American and had its European headquarters in London. Moving to the UK and especially Scotland was my goal. The London office of that company offered me a transfer to a position in their billing department. I worked hard and played hard there before I moved on to work remotely for them in Inverness and Glasgow. Once they had no work left for me, I joined the last corporate position at the accounts subsidiary of an oil giant and after that worked in admin and accounts at a day centre for the homeless.
Motherhood ended my work career, I struggled with getting used to being a mum, but decided to stay at home to see my son grow up. When I separated from my then husband, I found that leaving work altogether meant there was not much of a chance to get back in despite all efforts, being age 40 and with a visual impairment.
Once my son and I were settled in the Midlands, I often had the thought of “I would start a business if the right thing came along”. I discarded that thought until a friend started in Network Marketing and introduced me to the products and the company. After my initial hesitation I also joined. Anything was better than running to the Job Centre every two weeks, doing courses that led to nothing ,and writing hundreds of job applications.
This is only a brief version of my journey of becoming a businesswoman in 2014, and my reason for sharing this is that my sight impairment never stopped me from doing what I wanted to do and moving where I wanted to live. I never asked for help, moved many times, emigrated from Germany and became a British citizen.