According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2020, 17.9% of disabled people were employed. This is in comparison to the 61.8% of the workforce that is not disabled. If you’re disabled and you’re not sure how to navigate the world of corporate America, here are some tips to help you out.
A Misunderstood and Underrepresented Workforce
Of all the people in the workplace, those with disabilities often go most underutilized and underrepresented. Yet, these disabled individuals want to work, and if given the chance prove very capable. Employers fail to give them a chance because of their disability. If you’re not keen on starting your own business just yet, it’s important to understand how to market yourself and how to help others see past your disability.
Proving Your Ability to Work
Being disabled doesn’t mean you are unable to work. In fact, the term is very disenchanting. There are a lot of people out in the workforce who have been given this label. When in all truth, they are more than able to do the job. Many employers are afraid of hiring a disabled person because they believe they are prone to injury. According to labor laws, a person has 20 days to report being injured on the job to their employer. These 20 days start with the date of the incident. If your disability does interfere with your mobility, it’s important to work with your potential employer to help them see past that. Your disability doesn’t make you any less qualified for a job than another person.
What About Working Remotely?
Starting a business and working from home is an excellent way for you to earn income as a disabled person. There’s no worry about mobility, transportation, or weather problems keeping you from getting to the office. You can work from your own home and do it at the pace you feel comfortable. Since a large number of companies are taking their workforce remotely, this is an excellent time to start exploring virtual work environments that allow you to remain employed from the comfort and safety of your own space.
There are a few things to consider when getting started. Take an honest evaluation of your abilities. Are there some tasks that you need help accomplishing? You might need someone to assist you with transportation, physical work requirements like moving stock around, or setting up an accessible workspace. Make sure you have a thorough rundown of the day-to-day job activities you’ll be performing and how you’ll see to getting them done.
Tools to Accommodate Your Job
Are there special tools you might need to perform your remote job efficiently? Do you need headphones to hear better while on the phone? Or, a special screen for your computer to help you see more effectively? There are several devices available to make office equipment more accessible.
Take a Hard Look at Your Challenges
Suppose you find the ideal job, you must ask yourself a few questions honestly. If you are comfortable doing this type of work, are you good at doing it? Ensure you accept a position that is not going to negatively impact your impairments. Such as, people with impaired knees or hips should deter from jobs requiring a lot of standing.
Some Helpful Advice
Do you have cognitive problems, visual or hearing issues? All of these needs to be considered before taking on a position that is going to challenge you even further. By taking a job forcing us to do something we have difficulty doing, we make ourselves appear more disabled. If a potential employer seems concerned about your disability, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Be open about what you can and cannot do. Being disabled shouldn’t mean being disqualified for a position you are capable of doing.
Accentuate the positives in your work history. Turn the focus on what you have accomplished at previous companies. Let a future employer know you would like the chance to show them your skills first-hand and are excited about building these skills.