[bct] Re: UNWANTED UNEMPLOYMENT?

  • From: "Dana Niswonger" <dniswonger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2005 21:12:03 -0600

Hi again Tim:
Well, glad to hear the problem is world wide, lol! I couldn't agree more! I've been their, done that as well. It seems we can always make our own way better if we possess even a modicum of intelligence and integrity. Like I said before, rehab has never gotten even one successful job placement out of me and they never will. I feel so bad for the blind folks who are stuck in go nowhere jobs. The worst of it is, when you try and help them, they seem to come up with every excuse in the world for why what ever we are proposing will not work. I try so hard sometimes to help other blind folk get motivated to reach higher, go farther and get nowhere. Well, enough of my sounding off for now. Take care man and thanks for the link.
Dana


----- Original Message ----- From: "Tim Cross" <tcross@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005 6:53 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>
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