Using a nine-month longitudinal study of 20 disabled protagonists navigating (self)employment transitions during COVID-19, we inductively develop a dynamic model of being well at work while living with disabilities. This study engages and extends the literature on job crafting by adding an embodied mechanism to the cognitive, relational and behavioral paths to wellbeing established across occupations in the past 20 years. Theoretically, we foreground the role of the working body in countering (dis)ableist principles and practices at work. Empirically, we discover how disabled workers shift pronouns when self-narrating transitions. Our protagonists switch from I/me to You/yours when discrimination blocks their body from doing the task, and vice versa once they embodied task-specific abilities. They replace I/me with We/ours when they seek solidarity against bias; then reclaim first person self-narration after they embody belonging. By performing respect work, disabled workers skillfully engage their bodies as sites of resistance against (dis)ableism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Companion to Disability and Work
EditorsOana Branzei, Anica Zeyen
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Jun 2024


  • disability
  • disability work
  • respect

Cite this