Good Sunday afternoon, everyone.
Today I want to talk to you about a serious topic. My discussion is about the unemployment rate and where blind people stand, where finding a job is concerned. Now please don’t think that I am judging employers, but there is a problem, that I feel needs to be solved.
As a blind person, finding a job, whether as a writer, or in any other industry is nearly impossible. I say nearly, because I did find a few writing jobs in my nearly eight years of experience as a freelance writer. However, when I look for a particular job that I am interested in, there are several things that stop me in my tracks. For instance, many company managers/clients want pictures added to their blogs or websites. When I write the article and tell the potential client that I cannot add pictures to my pieces, due to my visual impairment, they choose to give me the silent rejection. What do I mean by those? These potential clients don’t reply to me, or they don’t respond to my application.
Here’s another example of a blind person not getting a job, because employers won’t give him a chance. My husband has tried to find jobs in a variety of different places. For instance, the church we used to go to offered to give him a chance to start a ministry for people with disabilities. However, when he asked about getting a job within the church, he was turned down. This is a large church, with many business people as members, but no one would give my husband a chance. I tried to work for a member of the media team, who runs his own business. I was hired to write op-eds for a web site that his company started. However, I had to remind him that I had sent him the article, and I had to ask to be paid for the article. I sent a second article, with no results.
Although I have had mishaps during my job hunt, there are a few people who did hire me based on my high-quality content. First of all, I want to thank Ernest Dempsey for hiring me to write for his blog called Word Matters, which can be found at the following web site:
I also want to thank Dan Antion for hiring me to review his company’s web site for accessibility. This job I thoroughly enjoyed, and I learned something interesting about a nuclear power plant. Finally, I want to thank Mia Bysinger from a web development company called Rushcube, for hiring me as part of the team of writers, who created landing page content for various websites. If you look at my professional writing services” page on my web site, you’ll not only see links to some of these landing pages, but you will also read her client testimony.
There are several blind people looking for jobs today, who either have no success, or have to work for the industries for the blind in their state, who hire more blind than sighted employes. This is a problem in the blind community and is the reason for the unemployment rate amongst blind people to be at a staggering rate of 62.3% according to the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) in 2012.
I am starting my own business, and here’s my take on hiring people to work for me. As a blind business owner, I will need the assistance of a sighted employee, and I would hire him or her, if he or she is qualified to perform the duties I need him or her to perform. I would also treat my employee(s) with the utmost respect, while monitoring their work. I would hire people to help me run my writing business, based on their qualifications, not merely on the basis of their disabilities, or lack thereof. If sighted employers would give blind people the same respect as we would give them, the economy would be in much better shape, and the unemployment rate would be much lower for blind people and people with disabilities as a whole.
Here’s my point: there are companies that claim to be equal opportunity employers, yet they reject qualified candidates with disabilities. Why can’t all companies, regardless whether the businesses are large, midsized, or small, treat applicants equally? Why can’t employers without disabilities base their hiring decisions upon the applicants’ qualifications, instead of discriminating against them on the basis of their disabilities? For those of you who are business owners, would you be willing to hire a person with a disability, based upon his or her qualifications, or are you hesitant to hire a person with a disability, because you don’t understand their needs, in order to provide them with reasonable accommodation to help them perform the duties of the job you wish to hire them for? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Please answer this question in the comments also. If you are a business owner, looking for qualified employees, are you willing to give candidates with disabilities an opportunity to work for you with reasonable accommodation? Let’s break the cycle of discrimination against the disability, please give a disabled person a chance to work for you, dependent upon their qualifications.
Thanks for reading and considering my opinion post today. Until next time, happy reading, writing, and please reach out to help blind and disabled people become employed, so we can lower the staggering unemployment rate.
God bless you my dear readers.