I was asked what’s the hardest disability to overcome when it comes to finding work for people with disability?
Here’s my answer; There’s one disability that in almost 30 years we have never been able to beat – doesn’t matter how it’s wrapped, how we might present it, what sort of polish we give or even how much of a subsidy we attach; there’s one disability we can’t overcome.
Can you guess?
You and I are the same, neither of us overcome attitude.
The dictionary definition of attitude is, “personal view of something: an opinion or general feeling about something” (Cheers Bing).
You can’t overcome it, you can’t keep it down.
Mind you, it’s not always bad, you come across good attitude. Take for example the young man I met recently. This bloke has a number of barriers to overcome, first appearances are a bit challenging, his speech takes time to tune into and frankly, he takes a fair while to fully understand instruction.
Will he gain employment?
Already has, been working for almost 2 years after being told he shouldn’t bother, no-one would hire him and, if any employer did make such a mistake it would only be a matter of time before he was fired.
What does his employer think (I chose this person because he pays our worker); “It’s great to have John* - you can set your watch by him, he never misses a shift, the customers love him and we would be stuck without him”.
Object of pity?
Burden of Charity?
Nope, rather a wise commercial decision to put the best man for the job in a job matched to their ability and aspiration.
In this case soaked in a bath of can-do, will-do attitude that obscures disability and has John’s employer firmly ‘Focused on Ability’ (there’s a slogan there!).
Another question I am often asked is, ‘do many employers still discriminate against people with disability’ (and this is in the negative rather than positive)?
Each person comes with their own attitude and these can be both positive 9as above) or negative – one thing about attitudes are they very difficult to change – we’ve been banging on about just what people can achieve at NOVA since 1990 – we’ve done as much (and probably heaps more) than most to advertise and promote what is being achieved by our job seekers.
Not everybody listens, some feel that it’s not a wise move to hire a person with disability despite their suitability and eager desire to succeed.
How do you change that?
Maybe you don’t. Maybe you can’t but overall attitudes are very positive towards the talent pool NOVA staff offer astute business owners and ultimately, if a person doesn’t want to be working alongside someone ‘of diversity’, maybe that’s where they belong – on their own.
I can tell you now that’s a place that is getting lonelier.
*Name change for privacy.
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