Growing up is a little scary for everyone. The idea of being on your own, having a job, a career, owning a house and starting a family of your own can be both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. If you have a disability, gaining the independence that comes along with adulthood has its own set of unique challenges. How will you manage your care? What will you do for transportation? What kind of work can you do and who will hire you? That last question is one that I heard a lot while working for people with disabilities; and one that I heard in my own head after I was laid off from my job of seven and a half years in April.
I am not going to lie, finding a job in today’s economy is hard work. I applied for at least one hundred jobs while I was out of work and got exactly three interviews; two of which never got past the initial phone interview stage. Finding a job might have been a bit easier if I did nott have a disability to consider; not only did I have to find a job that I had the skills for, but I also had to consider my transportation options, as well as whether or not the job would be able to accommodate my disability.
At first, I tried working from home, figuring that that would be the easiest solution. I had some success in that. I found a few writing gigs that I enjoyed, (ODesk is a great site if you have writing, editing, graphic design, or translation skills.) but they were not enough to pay the bills. Additionally, my attempts to sell on etsy did not yield much in the way of income either.
Ultimately, I was able to find a job that was perfect for me. I was not able to work from home, but I was able to work part time. My experience searching for a job was enlightening and I learned a few valuable lessons I would like to share.
- Don’t waste your time applying for jobs that you know won’t meet your needs. Sure, you want to apply to as many jobs as possible, but applying for jobs you know you can’t get to, or preform, is a waste of everyone’s time.
- Don’t get too caught up in what people might think about your disability. Once you land an interview, it is easy to get worked up over how you might explain away your disability. The simple answer is don’t. You got the interview based on your skills. Skills that have nothing to do with your disability. Your interview is less about you and more about what you can do for the company, focus on that and you’ll be fine.
- Take rejection in stride. Just because you didn’t land one job, does not mean that you are hopelessly unemployable. Keep trying, learn from those failures and eventually you will find something that works for you.
- Use the services offered to you. There are several ways to get help during your employment search, and most of them are free. These services can help you write a resume, identify your skills and even help you figure out what your limitations are and how to accommodate them. Contact your local Center for Independent Living, or unemployment office to find out the types of resources available.
By keeping the above points in mind, the search for a job should seem less daunting and overwhelming. Just remember that everyone has obstacles to overcome when applying for jobs, regardless of their abilities.