Since the beginning of the year I have been on the job search market. I can confess, this is not a fun place to be with a disability, I have applied to numerous places (I lost count it is more than 200 by now) and when I finally get a call back for an interview I am excited. Getting an interview for me is few and far in between so I want to make sure I put my best foot forward. My resume is very transparent. I have links to this website, my social media accounts and blog that shares my disability. During the online application process, I also disclose on the form when asked if I have a disability.
However, with ADA laws protection when I am on a phone interview with a HR hiring manager or recruiter I do not disclose my visual impairment. I figure that with all the above, there is no need to "beat a dead horse". For me, my visual impairment/blindness is my biology and has nothing to do with my career trajectory/goals. I just do not feel it is important. I am very equipped with technology and tools and take typing tests, quizzes, etc during this job search with no problem. Some employers application websites are not accessibility friendly with voiceover but again I quickly pivot and adjust to get help to navigate those platforms.
That brings me back to the main topic: So I make it through the online application process, the pre screening of qualifications, the phone interviews with HR representatives, the typing tests, quizzes and etc and to get a call back for a face to face interview...... It is like reaching the end of the rainbow and getting to the pot of gold. My percentages to get to the face to face interview is very low. My transparency of my eye genetic disorder has hurt me more than give me opportunities.
How do I come to this conclusion? Because I decided with one prospective employer not to disclose anything and I got hired. On my first day I disclosed my visual impairment (could not hide it, my voiceover was loud and proud) but was prepared with my tools and was not stressed about doing the job. Later that day I was called to HR advising I needed a driver's license. Needless to say, I have a State ID with a handicap placard for my husband to use with me in the passenger seat in his car. My visual impairment/blindness prevents me from driving (obviously). After a day, I was back on the unemployment line and I vowed never to do that again. I will unfortunately will have to hear all the no's to get to a yes one day.
So will I take Roxy to any of these end of the rainbow moments of face to face interviews? No I do not. It is not that I am ashamed about my diagnosis, I am not. I just don't want to shove it in the prospective employers face. My white cane is good enough for me to navigate and it definitely a symbol that quickly shares my diagnosis. I am learning more everyday to use my peripheral vision even with the warped depth perception and blurriness as well. I am getting her done!
My interviews lately have been focused on my diagnosis and less and less on what I can do and the job at hand. But I am confident that one day I will get a job with my skills, talents and be given an opportunity to excel. Once I get hired, and as the days go by at the new job; Roxy will be by my side like all the other times.
It may take this whole year or years to find that place, but I no longer hide my disability. It is part of me, what makes me stronger, and so loyal. Once given a chance, that employer will be very happy to have me and Roxy part of their team.
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, do you take your guide dog to job interviews? What has been the interviewee reactions? Did you get the job?