As a kid, I thought it would be great to be a seagull because I would be able to swim and fly. Having the choice must be wonderful. Since I am legally blind, I was curious about birds’ inability to see glass. According to birdwatchingdaily.com, this is because rather than the glass, the bird sees whatever is on the other side or a reflection from the surrounding area. If it spots something enticing, like a plant, the poor bird gathers momentum and flies right into the window. Well, this bird has had similar experiences when looking for work!
With increased emphasis on non-discrimination, companies now display the letters EOE (Equal Opportunity Employer) next to their name. They proclaim that qualified individuals will be hired regardless of disability. I’m sure many employers fulfill this obligation. I’ve worked for several State agencies in the Northeast that claim to be Equal Opportunity Employers. In both states, administration guarantees that necessary accommodations will be provided for employees with disabilities. However, I had a terrible time with each agency when it came to accommodations.
Societal prejudices or a refusal to accommodate for a disability can trigger self-doubt and frustration in people with disabilities. It’s important not to allow a disability to define who you are or let others’ misconceptions discourage you from pursuing your career coals. Fortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is heightening others’ awareness. It is beneficial to research employers’ policy regarding accommodations, as well as exploring Vocational Rehabilitation programs, before accepting a job. Taking this initiative demonstrates to employers your willingness to do the job to the best of your ability.
When selecting a career, focus on your talents and interests, rather than your limitations. Each of us has a unique personality type and natural strengths. Personality type is in no way influenced by a disability or medical issue. Despite how interesting it seems, I could never be a forensic investigator with my vision! At the same time, for my creative, spontaneous personality, spending much of my time entering information into a government database equipped with magnification software was pure torture! For this wild bird, it was like being trapped in a cage! While working as a Career Advisor for a One-Stop Career Center in MA, I conducted MBTI workshops for job-seekers. Facilitating the workshops, creating materials for them and helping clients pursue a fulfilling career was the highlight of my seventeen years in State government. Now that I’m free, I’m helping others avoid being stuck in the wrong line of work. If you’re trying to decide what’s best for you, completing the MBTI and working with a career counselor is a great way to get your career off of the ground. Contact me today!