Annie-Danielle Grenier, 38, had to find a way to make a living despite her disease. Deciding on a career choice wasn’t easy after a diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos, a connective-tissue disease that affects the skin, joints and blood vessels. Grenier also struggled with multiple other health issues including migraines, gastroparesis, neuropathy, and memory-recall.
In college, Grenier had studied arts and literature and had earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology as well as degrees in cultural and corporate event production. During her studies she worked at a children’s hospital and as a clerk in a convenience store. When she finished school she started getting contracts as a stage manager and also served as an assistant director. But her symptoms put an early stop to her dream job.
Grenier had several skills she knew she could put to use—and one of them was obvious. As a bilingual individual she knew that working as a translator would be a great remote position. Speaking both English and French she was able to do proofreading projects working freelance about ten hours a week. She also took on a few gigs working as a grant writer and a volunteer jazz band manager.
“I only accept contracts that I think I can do,” Grenier says. “I calculate the time it will take me and leave a dew days in-between to buffer from unexpected flare-ups.” She admits that she has some days where her symptoms are too overwhelming to do any work. She works from home, sometimes at her desk and sometimes from wherever she can get most comfortable on her laptop. On most of her projects she charges by the word, instead of by the hour.
“On a good day I can work up to three to four hours straight. Charging my the hour seems most reasonable because then I don’t feel bad if it takes me a lot of time to do what usually doesn’t take me as often when I don’t have brain fog.”
Her advice for patients in a similar situation?
“Think outside the box. Think of what you LOVE to do, and what you can do. Don’t forget your limits and be realistic. If you have trouble leaving the house more than once a week and it’s been that way for years—don’t try to get an office job where you need to be there at a certain time every day. On the other hand, if just being able to get days off to go to the doctor and maybe a few breaks to stretch and rest your eyes during the day, there are many companies out there that can accommodate for that.”
Looking to hire Annie as a translator, proofreader or for public speaking? Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org