There’s Always Something to be Done: Liz Henry on Being Disabled in Tech

Liz Henry, with plastic framed glasses, purple blue hair, and a hoody, sits in the Longmore Institute. Her motorized wheelchair is to her left.

Liz is currently the release manager for Mozilla, and has worked in two eras of tech: the 1990s and the mid-2000s to the present. She learned her computer skills from tinkering with computers from a young age, and having the freedom to experiment. In addition to her work in open source software, Liz is a blogger, writer and translator, and is involved in hackerspace projects. Liz deals with mobility impairments, and chronic pain from those impairments, that have a significant effect on how she can work.

The structure of Liz’s work at Mozilla has many benefits for her because of her mobility impairments. Instead of working on a traditional hourly schedule, she has longer timeframes, like six weeks to work on a project. This means that even if she is not productive over a specific hour or even a day, she is very productive over the course of those six weeks. In addition to this, Liz often works remotely with a distributed team who are in many different time zones around the world. It is not important that everyone be working at the same time. It’s more important that communication is strong, persistent, and frequent.  If she has a flare-up and is unable to leave the house she still has the possibility of getting work done. She often thinks, as she is working from bed, that this job is perfect for people with mobility issues.

In addition, the fact that her physical condition can change at a moment’s notice means that she is very good at contingency planning. And since software release, as she describes it, can be  “a constant disaster,” this skill is very helpful in her workplace. In her opinion, anyone with a disability who has managed their own healthcare competently, with all the medical, insurance, and government bureaucracies, has many skills needed in software project management – tracking a complex process and coordinating work across several teams.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: There’s Always Something to be Done: Liz Henry on Being Disabled in Tech – Disability Remix Blog

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