Blog by one of our anonymous bloggers on 'I’m disabled, am I unemployable?'
Having been a child of the 80’s I consider myself fortunate in many regards; the computer revolution was nigh, truly dire hairdos were just beginning to fade, Psychedelic clothing fashions and trends were beginning to balance out, and, society seemed like it was heading in the right direction with regards to thinking about the environment to which we live within. To me though the biggest benefit over having been born even a decade earlier was the advances being made, and, to which were soon to arrive in the arena of adaptive Technologies aimed at assisting those with disabilities.., adaptive, later access Technologies would be the difference between independence verse reliance, Autonomous verse dependence, for I am blind.
Being a child of the 80’s meant that I have grown up with talking computers, that I’ve developed with a tech savvy approach which enabled me to grasp the digital curve that was engulfing society and, well not so much run with, rather scramble with it desperately trying to keep up. Over the past few decades some amazing shifts have taken place, now in the second decade of the 21st century, much of the technology I use on a daily basis is inclusive in its design and nature, rather than the forerunner “access” and previous “adaptive” in their approach. This means that many of the worlds leading manufacturers are beginning to consider a far wider range of users requirements and needs at the drawing board often years before a single product is physically created. Yes, I honestly believe that its a far more manageable world today and the future is only set to get even more so with the advent of self-driving vehicles, self voicing interfaces and so very much more as Technology In-beds itself into daily living.
This said, from a scholastic approach expectations of me were low, attainment levels of persons with a severe disability remain well below national averages for none disabled persons, and, indeed unemployment figures for those who are disabled of working age have remained stubbornly high for decades now. This despite numerous endeavours by successive governments, acts of statute and various Legislative efforts. I had grown up in a family steeped in the tradition of senior level work, in fact, almost all of my progenitors going back generations, and, spanning the globe are all either business owners or at the pinnacle of their career progression. In brief, I knew I could achieve more and very, very much wanted to.
Aged now in my mid 30’s I’ve successfully launched a string of ventures several having been international in their success and the remaining nationally so. I have been recognised by her Majesty for my achievements with my very own gong, and, appear on numerous disability recognition lists of importance - blah, blah, blah.., so, why am I writing this article? My life changed suddenly back in 2013, I spent the next three years battling through an impossible personal struggle, which although not to my satisfaction, I am out the other side of (well as much as one can be) as of the summer of 2016.
Up and until this chapter in my life began, all of my career opportunities had always organically been cultivated through my existing networks, fellow colleagues and those persons around me. My problem was this, to allow me to focus on matters over the past three years I had allowed my career to very much take a back seat, in fact, die! Now I needed to get back into work and the question was how? Surely this is easy, as well as being a highly regarded and successful business person, I have a masters degree from a Prestigious university, and generally speaking, am very well qualified. I sat down and drafted a CV, and, began applying for various roles to which I felt I was suited for.
That was four months ago now, I’ve neither been long listed, short listed and certainly not come close to an interview panel.., what was, or rather is, wrong with me? This question has began repeating within my mind with ever increasing alarm, as the bills keep dropping through my door, my savings continue to prop up living costs, my families needs remain very much constant, and, the rejection letters kept flowing. “What is wrong with me, why can I not even get to be interviewed?”
If I wrote here that I was becoming depressed, anxious and even began having extremely negative thoughts as to my own personal sense of worth and abilities you’d think I was being extremist, but not so, things have got so dire of late, especially in the past few weeks, that I began Genuinely regarding my life assurance policy as a fall back option. The reality is that I have a family, a loving wife who I adore and who makes me genuinely happy beyond measure, our children have a father to whom they need and I could never do such a thing to them. In a fit of pure desperation I typed into Google “I’m disabled and want a job”, through communicating with organisations such as Diversity Jobs and Even Break I felt comforted, but, I still have huge anxiety over the future and whether or not their optimistic notions shall translate into a pay cheque.
More importantly, a job is far more though than simply performing a role and receiving a salary in respect to that work. A job is dignity, self-respect, acceptance and so very much more.., and yet, throughout this process I remain convinced that were I not disabled, that many of the roles to which I have applied to I would have been moved to interview status as a minimal.
I’m disabled - yes, but, am I truly unemployable?
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