Sunday, February 14, 2010

To Be Honest..or is it TMI?

CCTV from Independent Living Aids

Sorry. I am repeating myself here, I know, but I’m sorry I that I have been neglecting the Blogosphere. I apologize to my regular readers. That said, here’s an update:

Now that I “graduated” my caning lessons back in July or August, I have been gaining more independence. I can walk with my head up and for the most part, ignore curious glances. And it’s been nice for (my sanity) to be able to take the city bus and get to places in town. Sometimes, though, the bus doesn’t go to that certain place so I’ll have to walk a few blocks. Exercise is good for you, right?

My next step, or goal, is to get my foot back into the workplace door. I went back to school and really don’t want to waste my education.

My vocational rehab (VR) counselor got a job developer for me. This person assesses my abilities and things that I would like to do and then starts looking for job openings for me and talks to the potential employers for me, telling them about my disabilities and the things I could do, along with some accommodations that VR would install for me. Things like magnifiers for the computer, regular magnifiers, CCTVs (closed circuit TV), and any other device that could enhance my ability to work efficiently.

Last month she called and said that I had a job interview with a small medical office where I’d be answering phones and doing some filing. I kind of freaked about “phones”. I can talk to people on the phone, but I’m not perfect and it’s hard to talk to certain people, such as those with accents, deep male voices, even a child’s voice.

I told her that I don’t always do well on phones, especially with strangers. She said that VR can help with that if needed. (She actually forgot that I was deaf. So I must pass as hearing to a degree. Again and again, hearing loss is so easily “forgotten” and it can be an “invisible” disability-though I don’t like to use the word disability, it’s what word most people use. I had the cane with me when I was first introduced to the developer, so that was very “visible”. While it was her job to be aware of my hearing loss as well as my vision loss, it's done, it's over, and we move on.)

The job developer (or job recruiter) picked me up and came with me to the interview. The interviewer asked me questions about what I could read. I said I could read a 14 point paper well and would use reading glasses to read a 10 or 12 point print. She showed me a paper that had a list of names with phone numbers. Could I read that? It was very small, probably in 8 or 10 point font and I couldn’t read it. I said that it would have to be bolded. (With my vision, a bolder font is so much easier to read with the naked eye, or rather, my naked eye.) I also asked about if they wrote things in pencil, like appointments, because they washed out for me. Darker prints were easier for me.

I asked questions about the job, such as what to say when I answered the phone. The filing part really interested me. I always liked “library” type of work. There were papers that needed to be filed in a certain part of the medical record.

A few days later, I was told that they didn’t think I was able to do the job. I admit I was a bit relieved, because the phone part of the job really freaked me out. I was told that I focused on my disabilities to them and made them feel that I wasn’t able to do the job. Here, I thought I was EDUCATING them. I guess I just scared them off. I never considered that. I thought I was able to be open and honest about the limits I had, but instead of educating them, I OVERWHELMED them.

So, I guess the next interview I get, I’m going to have to say, yes, I have hearing loss and vision loss, and move on to other topics about the job.

I was so afraid to say anything about my deteriorating vision at my previous job, where I worked for almost 15 years and only disclosed it more and more in the last three or four years I worked there. I guess I was thinking that I was going to be able to be more open about the vision because VR was involved.
I am also going through a self-confidence crisis (one of many crises I have had throughout my life). Will I be a employable? Having hearling loss didn't stop me from working. I worked in the food service industry to factory. I've never worked in an office. Appearances are very important.

So that’s where I am at right now. Still unemployed. I really miss working . I feel like I have no identity. I’m just Flare’s mother, Angel’s mother, or Hubby’s wife. I am so bored of being cooped up in the house all the time, doing the same old stuff. I admit that when I did work, I wanted days off here and there (who didn’t?), but they were more appreciated than being on an endless “vacation”. I try to break it up by taking the bus to the store or something, but that can get expensive. It’s nice to get out when I do, though.

So that’s the update for now.


At Mon Feb 15, 07:50:00 AM , Blogger Beth said...

You certainly do have an identity - as a courageous, determined fighter.
Hang in there, kiddo. And keep writing. (I've missed you.)

At Mon Feb 15, 11:28:00 AM , Blogger Becky said...

Just keep praying about it...perhaps the one job the Lord had in mind for you isn't quite ready yet. When it happens and the fit is 'just right', you'll know. Hang in there, girl.

Glad to have you back, by the way!

At Mon Feb 15, 08:47:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shari,
Anne, here. Yup, I know the feeling, I know the feeling. Seems to me like you should look into doing a job that involves writing, since you are so good at it. Either that, or go back to school and take a bunch of courses in creative writing, or journalism, or such like. YOu've got a real talent, and it would be great if you could find a job that uses it.
And remember, tons of people are out of work in this market. It is one rough time to be trying to get a job at all, no matter WHO you are.
Glad to see you "back on the blog"!

At Tue Feb 16, 08:47:00 AM , Blogger hillgrandmom said...

As a woman, I know how you feel and how it seems so easy to denigrate what we do and are. But then again it's so true that we want our own identity too. Wishing you luck in your job search.

At Thu Feb 18, 09:05:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shari, I have my fingers and toes crossed that you find a job you love, and soon! It's a tricky line there, the one between informing a potential employer and scaring them off by talking about what accommodations you need.

Like Anne said, it's a tough time out there right now for everyone, so just hang in there and don't get discouraged. *hugs*

~ Wendi


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