They Must See You Before Your Disability
Updated: Sep 11, 2022
Born blind? It is quite easy for one to draw unnecessary attention to themselves because of the condition with which they are living. Do you really want to be identified as such an individual? This article will help you with how you ought to present yourself when approaching people for different situations; be it work application, requesting for help, ordering items at a store, and more.
Consider a scenario:
John is blind, and he goes into an interview for work, and he is asked, “why should we consider you for this post?” In response john says, “by you giving me this job, you will be contributing to the affirmative action that calls for people with disabilities to be shown consideration.” Correct! The affirmative action policy encourages that, but will that convince John’s potential employer that he will do the work they will hire him for? Absolutely not!
First, John will have to recognize that by applying for a job post, he does not do any favors for that particular organization, nor does the organization do him a favor by considering him for an interview. He will have to be as competent as any other applicant, with or without sight.
John’s response above will be like that of a youth who will answer the question by saying, “granted this opportunity, you will have gifted your organization with an energetic and vibrant young person who will drive it to a much success.” Surely this young person does not stand out as different from other young applicants who are contesting for that same job post. Employers want to know what difference you are to bring to their business.
After I got a job offer, one of the panelists said, “I love how vocal you are.” Making a post on social media about having the first blind person in their company, chief financial officer at Alpha Direct Insurance company (Mr. Prathap Ganesharajah) said this referring to me, “he won our hearts in just first 10 minutes of the interview.”
Lesson? Never allow your disability to take the lead. Let people see your capability, let them recognize you as a person who is competent first. Once they have taken note of your abilities, they will be more than willing to aid you do your work.
Make a success out of your condition
No one understands your pain point than yourself. Did you know? When you create a solution for your problem, you are in a way creating a solution for the other person who shares the same challenges as you.
In 1989, the early version of JAWS For Windows (Job Access with Speech) screen reader was released by Ted Henter. Before losing his sight in 1978 in an automobile accident, Ted was a motorcycle racer. For 32 years now, at the writing of this article, JAWS is available as the most used screen reader globally.
Ted’s solution did not only prove to solve his problem as an individual alone. Many blind people worldwide are benefiting from his idea. Is Ted not worthy of your imitation?
Do not appear desperate! Show the world that you are capable despite your blindness. You can do a lot. Yes! Your willingness to be active will draw people to want to help where you are limited.
This episode of the Your Iconic Image podcast by Marlana Semenza features Dr. Hobby Weddler, who is using his lack of sight to educate people to depend on their sense of smell. Find out more.