During this season of gratitude, let’s be thankful for our professional lives and career. Work is the place we spend most of our time (especially when we are passionate about finding advocacy solutions!). I am absolutely thankful for my professional life, career, and all the wonderful mentors, supervisors, and colleagues who have supported me along the way—and I’m thankful for you! My success is not my own; my career path as a solo practitioner, Social Security Administration attorney, educator, and now independent business owner has been supported by important people, including family, friends, mentors, colleagues, and supervisors.
As a solo practitioner right out of law school in 2003, I leaned on a few attorneys who helped me maneuver that first year. I immediately gained a newfound respect for the legal community because of the generosity of several attorneys in Denver, CO. I cold-called attorneys, asking for their assistance in a federal pregnancy discrimination case, estate planning, and Social Security Disability (SSD) law. They didn’t know me and worked as busy, solo-practitioners as well, but they took the time to talk with me in person or on the phone. A certain Social Security Disability attorney even took me to my first Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing. The support they provided was encouraging. If you’ve supported a new attorney, thank you on their behalf!
Throughout my Social Security Administration career, I have been fortunate enough to have excellent supervisors. When I worked my first SSA-OHA/ODAR/OHO assignment in Nashville, TN, my supervisor was highly supportive of me seeking opportunities within the Social Security Administration. I was quickly promoted to a position in Falls Church/OHA/ODAR/OHO headquarters. While in Falls Church, I received Social Security Disability adjudication training for two months, learning much about SSA’s organizational structure. It was there that I began my role as a national ODAR adjudicator, trainer, and mentor. Next, I moved to Houston and again worked under amazing supervisors in Houston-Bissonnet. Once more, I found their support as a national training instructor and mentor of new attorneys, which was one of the highlights of my career. I am absolutely grateful for each of these supervisors for investing me encouragingly.
Now, as a private Social Security Disability attorney/educator, I am thankful for the opportunity to build on my SSA experience. I am able to write Social Security Disability briefs and create SSD training material for colleagues while living abroad in Morocco with my family. I cover hearings for Social Security Disability representatives and provide face-to-face training while in the US. I enjoy connecting and networking with SSD colleagues in the states, as well as learning new technology, skills, and business management. It’s all very exciting!
Without a doubt, I am grateful for family, friends, and colleagues who continue to support my efforts, creativity, and drive to succeed. This adventure is still new and I know it will be yet another success. So, thank you for your support. I encourage you to consider who you are thankful for in your career and let them know in this season of gratitude.