Disabilities in the workplace

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/07/15 21:28 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/07/15/439513.aspx

Gretchen (the one who looks like a South Park character if you fall for her blog masthead) pointed to an article by Maureen Crawford-Hentz, the Director of Career Services at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. The article is entitled Job-Seeking Strategy for Differently-abled Candidates: Address Employers’ Fears Head-On.

This is an interesting subject, one that I probably do not have the most realistic view on. After all, my time with M.S. and the workplace can be divided into two phases: the consulting phase, when no one would ever ask and they certainly not try to change the rates based on it. And the employment by Microsoft phase, where they already knew I had the cane so the only uncomfortable moment was one I had where I was nervous about asking to work out a problem on paper rather than the whiteboard (standing is tough). But that was all me; the second I said it he said of course and got me some paper.

So my job-seeking never really hit any real problems.

The job itself can of course be an entirely different story!

I do know that interactions with people in the workplace can be interesting, and one can never truly know what others are thinking. Since some people feel uncomfortable talking about disability-type stuff, perhaps those same people could feel uncomfortable with someone who takes it all so casually.

And then of course sometimes it is more serious. And then no one knows how exactly to react to the situation. I mean, it is never bad. And I have only once in all these years had a bad experience and it was actually accidental on the other person's part, so no harm was done.

It all adds a new dimension to the workplace, to say the least!

# Michael S. Kaplan on 15 Jul 2005 9:49 PM:

Getting back to http://blogs.msdn.com/jobsblog/archive/2005/07/14/438966.aspx , my advice to the jobseeker, in any case, is to be as upfront as you feel comfortable being. They will almost certainly be less comfortable than you, and your efforts to put them at ease will add a positive dimension to the interviewing process....

Mary on 9 May 2008 11:21 AM:

I'd like to see a discussion for those of us with non-mobility disabilities. How about mild autism? Just try and get through the first 5 minutes of an interview and make a positive impression when you can only lip read for the first 5 minutes!

Now there's a challenge! Do you say "I'm sorry, I didn't see what you said" and become "that deaf over 40 chick" - when you're not deaf. Or do you disclose the disability and get bumped? Or do you not disclose it, try and bumble through and get bumped for being slow to respond and comprehend?

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referenced by

2008/05/10 Whither disability discrimination?

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