Blind people and unemployment. The things everybody else is too scared to say

Hi folks.

Its time to touch on that most touchy of touchy subjects. Blind people and the fact that most of them seem happy to do nothing and live on governments.

Please note. This post is likely to offend some people. Its likely to give a bit of a confidence boost to others. If you don’t like it, do not start flaming over on twitter or in my comments section. Thanks.

That said, lets get stuck in.

The why:

So believe it or not, I can actually understand why people are happy living on benefits. It kind of makes sense. You get comfortable. You’ve got enough money to scrape by, and that’s enough for you. Am I right? Granted, I know not every person is like this, much less every blind person. I know plenty of blind people that go to work, bring in money, and live happy and comfortable lives. The fact is, most of them don’t. And personally, I think its all down to lack of self confidence, confidence in the system, or both.

Changing the belief:

So lets take a look at this for a moment. If people are going to stop being so happy living on government money, lets look at what happens to it when you get a job.
Nothing.
Nothing happens to that money, at least in England. You keep receiving help because you’re disabled and yes, you have a right to it. I think that’s what people are scared of, personally. I know I was until I started my own experiences — more on that later. Employment is a scary prospect, yes. But its not something you should be scared of, necessarily.

What we should and shouldn’t be scared of:

We should be scared of a lot of things. The government cutting benefits. Donald trump. The internet. But more specifically, we should be scared of job related things. Its a scary world, after all. We should be scared of becoming redundant, or being fired because we’re not seen as being an asset to the company. We should not, however, be scared of interviews. But we are. And there is very good reason for this.
We are judged as soon as we walk into the room.
As a blind person, I walk into a room with a cane, tapping and bumping my way along the walls. This, unfortunately, does not make me look very confident. At my last interview, I walked in using a sighted guide. This probably looked terrible. But I persisted. And you know what? I smashed that interview.

Confidence is key:

Confidence is the absolute key. With everything. When I started writing, I lacked the confidence to publish anything. Then I started publishing, and people liked me and started following my work. I’m still not very confident, but I’m here, nonetheless . Its the same with job interviews. You have to be confident. You just have to be yourself, actually. If you don’t feel confident in your own skin, that’s alright. Have confidence that you’re going to get the job you’re going for. Have confidence in your skills, and just explain that yes, you’re blind. But you can still use a computer, a word processor, or anything else that might be required. After all, if you’re going for the job, you know how to do it. You don’t walk into a programming position with no idea of programming.

In conclusion:

Blind people feel comfortable on the benefits system, and that’s okay, for a short term. But its absolutely necessary to get a job, some how. The only way you can do this is to show everybody you can. Keep trying, and you’ll absolutely get a job this way. It might take a year and hundreds of interviews to do so, but you have value, and you need to show a potential employer that.

Like what I do here? I write unoficially on my twitter, code publicly over on my git hub, and a fair bit more. If you really, really like what I do, please consider donating and checking out my professional website, both of which can be found below. Its not mandatory, but it helps me out more than you realize.

Thanks for reading!

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3 Replies to “Blind people and unemployment. The things everybody else is too scared to say”

  1. I wish it were that simple. There are a few factors that need adding to this. None of what I say means people cannot get a job, or shouldn’t look for a job, but, we really are not on an equal playing field, and never will be. Firstly, not everybody is a coder, or has some specific expertise that gets them ahead in a field. This is as true for blind people as for sighted. The very talented people are always more likely to do well, and that is possibly more the case for blind people than sighted. Next, all surveys I have ever seen say that blindness is the most feared disability. Just think about it, people think visually, they use their eyes to do everything. They can imagine how to deal without the other senses, but they cannot imagine how it is possible to do anything without sight. I’m sure many of them know that they should give everybody a fair chance, but they don’t understand that it’s possible. I’d say, from the things I’ve seen, that applies to 90 percent of people. The ones it doesn’t apply to are likely to be in the same fields that the most talented go into, coding, music, law, and other examples. Finally, consider the labour market itself. Two thirds of it, in the UK, is in the retail sector, there is an increasing demand for drivers, and things like graphic design and so on. The areas where the average blind person might have got their work in the past have largely been replaced. Only some can handle call centres, for instance, if the software can even be made accessible, and even these are not as prevalent as they were. That leaves a much narrower choice of jobs available to us. Finally, I think, since the mid 90s, increasing numbers of blind babies have been born with multiple disabilities, whether it be dual sensory impairment, cognitive or physical disability, or anything else. I think we can all imagine how much harder that makes just living, day to day, without worrying about holding a job down, how many days off sick one might need due to disability or illness or whatever. I would highly encourage everyone to get out and about, and try for work, more than I do at my age, but, please, don’t take it personally if you can’t get any. Please don’t blame yourself. Please try to realise that it’s actually much more of an achievement for us to work than it is for sighted people, and that a lot of the resons for this are not our faults. Don’t stop, but do realise that our barriers are that much higher, so if we crash into them, it’s not the failure it would be for a sighted person. At the end of the day, more and more jobs are going to vanish, for everybody, so we all need to start thinking about what it is that actually makes us happy, and try to find our space in the world. Models of society are going to shift very radically over the next 10 or 20 years, if not sooner. If you can take advantage of that somehow, then awesome, go for it, and we all need to think of ways we potentially could, but things really are changing. I’ll end with an example I know, of somebody who had been a programmer at a big company for years and years. A couple of years ago, he had to retire early simply because he could not use the new, inaccessible, internal systems that had been put in place for various parts of his job. Things that were once simple, like having a holiday request filled in, have become completely inaccessible, and the project management approach, in many of its implementations, also does not help. This person was a fighter, and he had a good contact network too, but he could no longer face the frustrations of doing a job he had done for years, due to the changes in the company concerned. Maybe we need to start demanding that all software used by employers must be designed with the maximum possible accessibility from the ground up, but until we do get something like that, it’s getting harder, not easier

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  2. Thanks for this post. The job market for the blind is very competitive but it isn’t impossible to conquer if one just has the confidence and the motivation to put themselves out there. It’s pretty sad that some do feel that they can’t do it when they can. I’m actually job hunting and it’s tough but key is not to give up.

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