BYF Ireland - Marketing

Gloria Shannon

Role: Marketing Intern

Department: Marketing

Location: Microsoft Dublin, Ireland.

My Story

I am technically classed as disabled and I work at Microsoft, one of the world’s leading tech companies. Some people may be surprised or even shocked to know that even despite physical boundaries, you can have a great, well-paying and fulfilling job.

I am 24 years old and when I was 15, almost as if overnight, I got a condition called Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is not the same as the arthritis that comes naturally with old age, and even children can have it. It is an auto immune disease, so essentially my body attacks itself. As I explain to people, the only person strong enough to beat me is myself! It makes my joints swollen and sore, I often suffer from chronic fatigue and various other symptoms due to medication. However, that is enough moaning, I am alive and I am in a privileged position compared to so many others, so I am grateful for that.

There are definitely tough times still ahead of me and sometimes it’s a struggle but I never wanted to let this condition stop me from achieving. I went to college and got a degree, now I needed to find a job I could physically do and one that would also be understanding of my condition. I found exactly that at Microsoft.


I have been interning here at Microsoft since December, the work Is challenging, interesting and fulfilling. My colleagues are nice, helpful and kind and this alone allows someone like me to work in a successful, booming company like this. The hardest part of any day for someone with Rheumatoid Arthritis is the morning, you wake up stiff and you, well, have to do the normal everyday things like shower, brush your teeth, get dressed. Then you have to travel to work. As Microsoft has a policy where you can sometimes work from home, this means that I can cut out some of that struggle in my mornings during a flare up.
There is a theory called Spoon Theory, essentially we are all dealt a certain number of spoons to use each day. An ordinary healthy person usually has more spoons than someone with a chronic condition, they also use less spoons with each activity they accomplish. So say you are given 15 spoons, showering is 2 spoons, getting dressed combing your hair and brushing your teeth another 2 and traveling to work could be 3. You now have only 9 spoons left for the entirety of your day. To work, get home, maybe go to the gym, cook dinner, clean and if you have kids… well that is a whole other story.

Microsoft’s work anywhere, anytime policy is something I appreciate so much. It means I can reserve some of that energy that I would otherwise use traveling to actually do some work from the comfort of my own home. It also saves me having to take too many sick days as I don’t have to miss an entire day of work just because I am sore physically. My brain still works and it doesn’t like to be bored.

Another great benefit to working in Microsoft is flexitime. If I were to have an appointment with my Rheumatologist, I would be able to go and later make up the time. This means that I don’t have to take a day off work to do something that at this stage is pretty routine for me. It allows me to take care of myself and then come back to work and be the best I can be.

Companies like Microsoft are a dream for someone like me to work for, an understanding manager is half the battle.

Microsoft realises I still have value in the work place despite my obstacles. I can still bring something to the team, have new ideas and work hard. I am respected here and not treated any differently due to my disability. I am not treated as less of an employee, or seen as someone who doesn’t pull their weight because Microsoft has the aids in place to ensure that doesn’t happen.
I won’t ever be representing Microsoft in a race or deadlift challenge but I am valued here and that in itself means I am accepted, warts and all!

For other stories about my RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) trials and triumphs please follow this link.

The Girl with the Old Lady Bones

Thanks for reading,

Gloria Shannon, Marketing Intern, Microsoft Ireland

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