Don’t dismiss my disability
Fact although you can’t see it (i.e.) it’s not visible to you I have a disability.
This doesn’t prevent me from finding employment.
I should point out that I don’t highlight that fact in bold on my resume.
It’s one thing that weighs on the minds of employers, do we do the right thing and hire a disabled person or do we send out the generic email which reads;
From: Barry Ruiz
Subject: State Health Care administration officer position
To: Nick McAllister
Thank you for applying for the State Health Care administration officer position with State Health Care Now. We appreciate your interest in our organization and your commitment to sensible health care policy reform.
We received more than 200 applications for the position, and the hiring process has been a very competitive one. Although we were impressed with your qualifications, we have decided not to move your application forward. However, we greatly appreciate your interest in working with us and wish you the best of luck with your job search.
Chief of Staff
The second option is when they decide that they wish to interview you, do you at any stage during the interview process disclose your disability.
Or keep silent in the hopes that no one will notice and your secret (your disability) will remain in-tact until such time as you leave the company.
The answer can fall into two camps. The Yes and the No. Having done some research into this the answer all I can say is it’s for you to decide. But I would stop and consider the implications of revealing such an answer. Why on the one hand your disability shouldn’t ever be a barrier to work, unfortunately it can be a hindrance.
And let me explain why. If you disclose the fact that you have autism for example, are you seriously prepared to hold a seminar or hand out a booklet detailing how to talk to you, how your behaviours are normal, how you react in certain situations, what triggers a meltdown, what to do when a meltdown occurs? These will all need to be taken into consideration by you and are you prepared to go through that whole process? Doesn’t that signal you out as someone who has to be treated differently from your fellow co-workers?
Do we (and by WE, I mean the autism community) really wish to attract that sort of attention?
Well and here I go self-arguing with myself yes I think we do. How else can we break down barriers and stereotypes and be inclusive within the work force and contribute to society if we allow our thinking to prevent us from applying for jobs?
Companies shouldn’t be scared or fear the unknown, misconceptions from stereotypes they have seen or heard can add to a reluctance or fear to employ someone who may think or act a little differently. They should in fact welcome us with open arms.
A television company’s careers website has roles for people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, yet for people with disabilities no jobs are advertised solely for us?
Why are we singled out? Why are companies creating jobs specifically aimed at people with disabilities?
I for one don’t want to work in positions created especially for me so that some government organisation can fulfil its quota for placing people with a disability into a work program say for example working on a pig farm. Why would I want to work on a pig farm?
It holds no interest for me and certainly never been high on my career path. But I get why they do it, they want the autistic person to engage with a routine, recording data, and having a set time when they have to perform this task by.
Meanwhile the pig farm people smile and down at the pub over a few cold ones they can brag about how marvellous they are by employing autistic people whilst feeling smug and content that they’ve projected out to the world how liberal and non-discriminatory they are whilst they receive pats on the back and having beers bought for them.
What should happen (but sadly doesn’t) is whilst laws are in place to prevent companies not hiring people with a disability they can find ways around those laws (i.e. loop holes)
And come up with numerous excuses as to why you are a suitable candidate for the role that you’ve spent ages applying for online, you’ve sweated over the wording in your cover letter, you’ve gone through your resume with a fine tooth comb but once you disclose your disability they will find a way in not giving you the job for which you are qualified for.
So you have two options to disclose or to not disclose.
Which do you choose?
I sadly don’t have the answers.