[bct] Re: UNWANTED UNEMPLOYMENT?

  • From: "Marsha Macchi" <marshamac@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2005 17:16:50 -0800

Hi, Marsha here.  I too have pretty much gone it alone.  While starting out,
our department of rehabilitation was a good thing in getting me my first job
and one other job, for the most part, I have networked with other people in
my field and have gotten jobs as well as knowing the people who were hiring,
giving them a call to ask if there were current openings in their facility
and often getting readers to read from the local paper and joining my
chapter of the American Association of Medical transcriptionists, I was able
to find my various jobs through the years.  Since my job is very portable, I
have had very little trouble finding and keeping jobs.
Of course, most of the hardware and software I have gotten myself from the
Optacon, a tactile converter which allows one to read print via pins that
raise up in the shapes of the various letters, one letter at a time and thus
very slow, having had various lenses such as a computer lens which if I
wanted to access the computer's screen before speech came on the scene, I
had to use the Optacon as that was the only game in town at that time.
Through all of this, for the most part, my rehab department got me virtually
nothing and I had to pay for this stuff myself.
In my current business as a medical transcriptionist, I have had no help
whatsoever from my rehab department, have had to save my pennies, get
whatever software I needed to get the job done and even got a Braille
display, not an easy task I must assure you.  I have been fortunate in being
able to have the bucks and credit cards and taken mortgages out to afford to
get my business on track.  I felt I just didn't want my state telling me
what to do, what kind of job they thought I was capable of doing, bitching
about how I should dress though I do know that is important, and overall
getting in my face when I didn't even want them around.  Though I haven't
made a huge amount of money, I am well off enough to have some of those
things that make life at least fun.
It is not to say that rehab isn't a good thing--unit is but I do feel that
they can get invasive at times and one needs to be the one to be assertive
about what your needs are and how you have found the tools and strategies to
meet those needs.  Just my little piece in the scheme of things.

Marsha

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tim Cross" <tcross@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005 4:53 PM
Subject: [bct] Re: UNWANTED UNEMPLOYMENT?


>
> Hi everyone,
>
> It seems that employment and assistance from various agencies is the
> same or similar here in Australia as some of you seem to be finding it
> in the US. I've never had any success using any of the agencies that
> exist which are supposed to assist blind and VI people.
>
> When I was studying and still had some sight, I wanted to get a CCTV
> magnifier. I approached one of the organisations which are there to
> assist with equipment. This was a government based/funded group. All I
> wanted was a tax exemption because I figured this was only reasonable
> - I needed the equipment and it would assist me in obtaining
> additional qualifications which would lead to employment. I was quite
> willing to pay for the equipment, I just wanted a tax exemption (at
> the time, there was a 15% tax on the item, which is quite a lot when
> you are talking about $6000.
>
> At first, the group wouldn't help me at all. In fact, they put quite a
> bit of effort into being unhelpful. I got angry and contacted my local
> member for parliment. Next thing I knew, a representative from the
> organisation contacted me to ask if they could assist. They had a dig
> about how rude it was to get the MP onto them - I had a dig about how
> rude it was to basically ignore my needs before I had even had a
> chance to put my case forward. We agreed to not mention it again.
>
> Now, after getting a bit of a rev up by the MP, this organisation was
> too helpful. Instead of getting me a tax invoice, they got me a
> government grant for all the equipment and they decided my office
> setup wasn't safe from an occupational health standpoint. I said I
> didn't want the grant because I didn't need it, all I wanted was tax
> exemption. They said I either take the grant or I'd getting nothing,
> so I took the grant. Bloody rediculous as that money could have been
> made available for someone who really needs it.
>
> When I last was looking for a job, I contacted a number of
> organisations which were supposed to provide help. At this stage, I
> had a 1st class honors degree in computing science and had over 5
> years of experience programming Unix and web applications. Despite
> this, I was told that my best chance was to apply for some data entry
> positions. One organisation said they had found me a position as a
> telephony operator and another said they had found me a position in a
> call centre. I wasn't happy with any of this and decided to just go it
> alone and see what I could find. One month later, I had an entry level
> programming job and two years after that, I had obtained a senior
> management position and now, four and a half years on, I'm now project
> director responsible for system architecture and security. I suspect
> if I'd accepted any of the positions being offered through the various
> disability organisations I had approached, I'd still be in that
> position and would be earning little more than minimum wage.
>
> The other day, I found out that at least one of the organisations I
> had dealt with were actually using me as an example of the type of
> work a blind person could get. A little ironic since their attitude
> seems to focus on low level positions without much opportunity for
> advancement.
>
> I now believe we are all probably better off not using these
> specialist employment agencies if it can be avoided. I suspect that
> merely going through such an agency creates a mindset, both with the
> agency and the prospective employer, that you are disabled and that
> somehow, your work performance will also be disabled. Going it alone
> and finding work in the same way as people without a disability has
> the opposite impact - employers are more likely to be impressed by the
> fact you are competing with non-disabled candidates on their
> terms. The only problem with this is that because of our disability we
> often need some level of assistive technology and this costs money and
> if you cannot afford the technology yourself, this can be an issue.
>
> While there are government agencies in Australia which will assist
> with providing technology for employment, it usually isn't
> enough. What I have done is make sure that I have a "work setup" as
> well as a home one - I own all the equipment, most of which I've
> purchased myself. For me, its an investment in my career. I now feel
> pretty confident that I've all the necessary equipment to work
> anywhere in my field - this can be quite useful as many employers see
> this as a concern. While we may have government legislation which
> prohibits being discriminated against because of disability etc, the
> bottom line is that in many cases all this does is make sure the
> prospective employer lies about why you didn't get the job. Its basic
> human nature. If you have two applicants for a job and both are
> equally qualified, but one requires $5000 dollars of assistive
> technology while the other doesn't, plus there is probably some
> concern about the ability of the disabled individual to do the job,
> which applicant do you think will be successful and guess what the
> 'official' justification wil be?
>
> Of couse, there is a flip side to all of this. While I have managed to
> obtain a position with considerable responsability and am earning a
> good wage - not quite 3 figures, but not far off, I find myself in a
> position where I have to work pretty damn hard to stay afloat. I even
> recently tried to drop down a level as I'm now beginning to find it
> all a bit of a drain. However, my employer won't let me drop down,
> which is a real compliment and a bit of an ego boost, but still, as I
> get older and as the workloads continue to increase, I'm finding it
> harder and harder to keep the momentum up. I currently work 45 to 50
> hours a week and a big part of the extra hours is due to me being a
> bit slower at some things than sighted staff. I cannot see me doing
> this past 55, which is in around 10 years time. I especially find it
> hard as there are so many other things I'd like to be doing. In
> particular, I'd love to have more time to work on a few assistive
> technology ideas. However, I'm financially comfortable, have my
> health, have some good friends and must remember to appreciate
> everything I've got as there are a hell of a lot of people out there
> who are doing it way more tough than I am.
>
> Tim
>
> Rose Combs writes:
>  > I have been working for about 29+ years.  I have not used any state
>  > assistance since 1978 when they refused to purchase a lens for the
Optacon I
>  > needed, I went to my hospital credit union got a loan and have never
gone
>  > back to the state for a thing since then.  I have also never taken a
real
>  > computer class yet I am proficient with computers, all the equipment I
have
>  > I have paid for either by saving the money or getting loans.  I make
more
>  > than the minimum wage but, I am certainly not in the three figure level
or
>  > anywhere close.
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  > Rose Combs
>  > rosecombs@xxxxxxxxx
>  >
>  > -----Original Message-----
>  > From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>  > [mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Everett Latta
>  > Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 11:30 AM
>  > To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>  > Subject: [bct] UNWANTED UNEMPLOYMENT?
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  > How many of you have received tax supported schooling or job training
and
>  > are still unemployed and would work if given the chance?
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  > I read somewhere several years ago that close to 80 percent of working
age
>  > blind people can not get a self-supporting job and live free from
additional
>  > government financial assistance. Within the 80 percent the totally
blind had
>  > an 80 percent of unemployment.
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  > Most of  the partial and totally blind who did get jobs only worked at
entry
>  > level wages or slightly above the Federal minimum wage standard.
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  > I assume these numbers are reflected throughout the world.
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  > I was curious and did a Google search and found the articles dealing
with
>  > blind employment and again this was several years ago and hopefully the
>  > numbers have changed in our favor but I seriously doubt it not angry
just
>  > stating what I have seen to be true in talking with local area blind
people.
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  > Everett
>  >
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>  > <DIV><SPAN class=312294817-04112005><FONT face=Arial color=#0000ff
size=2>I have
>  > been working for about 29+ years.&nbsp; I have not used any state
assistance
>  > since 1978 when they refused to purchase a lens for the Optacon I
needed, I went
>  > to my hospital credit union got a loan and have never gone back to the
state for
>  > a thing since then.&nbsp; I have also never taken a real computer class
yet I am
>  > proficient with computers, all the equipment I have I have paid for
either by
>  > saving the money or getting loans.&nbsp; I make more than the minimum
wage but,
>  > I am certainly not in the three figure level or anywhere close.&nbsp;
>  > </FONT></SPAN></DIV>
>  > <DIV><SPAN class=312294817-04112005><FONT face=Arial color=#0000ff
>  > size=2></FONT></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
>  > <DIV><SPAN class=312294817-04112005><FONT face=Arial color=#0000ff
>  > size=2></FONT></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
>  > <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
>  > <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
>  > <P><FONT size=2>Rose Combs<BR>rosecombs@xxxxxxxxx </FONT></P>
>  > <DIV></DIV>
>  > <DIV class=OutlookMessageHeader lang=en-us dir=ltr align=left><FONT
face=Tahoma
>  > size=2>-----Original Message-----<BR><B>From:</B>
>  > blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
>  > <B>On Behalf Of </B>Everett Latta<BR><B>Sent:</B> Thursday, November
03, 2005
>  > 11:30 AM<BR><B>To:</B> blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx<BR><B>Subject:</B>
[bct]
>  > UNWANTED UNEMPLOYMENT?<BR><BR></FONT></DIV>
>  > <DIV class=Section1>
>  > <P class=MsoNormal><FONT face=Arial size=2><SPAN
>  > style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">How many of you have
received tax
>  > supported schooling or job training and are still unemployed and would
work if
>  > given the chance?&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></P>
>  > <P class=MsoNormal><FONT face=Arial size=2><SPAN
>  > style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY:
Arial"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></FONT></P>
>  > <P class=MsoNormal><FONT face=Arial size=2><SPAN
>  > style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">I read somewhere several
years ago
>  > that close to 80 percent of working age blind people can not get a
>  > self-supporting job and live free from additional government financial
>  > assistance. Within the 80 percent the totally blind had an 80 percent
of
>  > unemployment.&nbsp; &nbsp;<o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></P>
>  > <P class=MsoNormal><FONT face=Arial size=2><SPAN
>  > style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY:
Arial"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></FONT></P>
>  > <P class=MsoNormal><FONT face=Arial size=2><SPAN
>  > style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Most of &nbsp;the partial
and
>  > totally blind who did get jobs only worked at entry level wages or
slightly
>  > above the Federal minimum wage standard.&nbsp;
<o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></P>
>  > <P class=MsoNormal><FONT face=Arial size=2><SPAN
>  > style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY:
Arial"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></FONT></P>
>  > <P class=MsoNormal><FONT face=Arial size=2><SPAN
>  > style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">I assume these numbers are
reflected
>  > throughout the world.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></P>
>  > <P class=MsoNormal><FONT face=Arial size=2><SPAN
>  > style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY:
Arial"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></SPAN></FONT></P>
>  > <P class=MsoNormal><FONT face=Arial size=2><SPAN
>  > style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">I was curious and did a
Google
>  > search and found the articles dealing with blind employment and again
this was
>  > several years ago and hopefully the numbers have changed in our favor
but I
>  > seriously doubt it not angry just stating what I have seen to be true
in talking
>  > with local area blind people.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></P>
>  > <P class=MsoNormal><FONT face=Arial size=2><SPAN
>  > style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY:
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face=Arial
>  > size=2><SPAN
>  > style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY:
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Arial"><o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></P></DIV></BODY></HTML>
>


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