The Questions We Have to Ask When Looking for Work With a Disability


Looking for a job is hard regardless of the situation. It’s more than a paycheck; you are applying to work for a company and with people you will spend the majority of your day with — more time per day than you may spend with family. The job has to be right. The location has to be right. The duties have to be something you can accomplish. The pay has to be enough. It’s a true struggle, and often an even bigger one when a disability is involved.

When you have a disability or a child with a disability, the whole search can becomes so much more complicated. You have to consider their building: are there stairs? Can you do them if there are? If you identify as someone with a disability, will they just overlook your resume even though you are qualified? If you choose not to identify as disabled or not disabled, do they assume you just don’t want to list it? Do you just lie? Is that ethical?

If your child has a disability, how long will it take to get there from a new job? Does the company have flexible hours and a good work-life balance that will let you leave in an emergency? Will they understand that with 15 doctors on his team, there will be doctor appointments? Can you work from home when he needs you with him?

All these thoughts run through your head prior to even applying for a position. So you make the big decision and apply. Then you may get a phone interview and a live interview, possibly two. If you didn’t mention it on the application, do you do it now? If so, how much do you say?

As an accountant, I feel the need to, and do. People trust me with their money; they need to know they can trust me. They can’t do that if they feel I lied going in. I have lost jobs because of this — both ones I had and ones I’ve applied for.

Looking for a job is hard, but you shouldn’t have to pretend to be something you are not. Good luck out there.

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Thinkstock photo by Bartek Szewczyk.

 

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