Aiming For The Top, Starting At The Bottom

by “Italy”

   For the sake of this blog, let’s say my name is Italy.  This may or may not go without saying, but I am and have been a blind job seeker. I am a black woman, a millennial, who is well educated.

   I hold a masters, a bachelors and a few certifications in various things. I am proud of these accomplishments, but I am often frustrated that I’ve participated in more graduations than elevations.

   I currently work in an entry-level position for a company specifically focused on employing the blind and visually impaired. Great, right? I know what you’re thinking. “What could be better than that for a person who is blind?”

  The short answer is, I have no idea. What I do know is that I wanted to be able to take care of myself without having to depend on family or government assistance. My job allows me to do that. I know what you’re thinking again… “That’s great ma’am.” Yes, it is.

   This is where the but comes in.

   I love where I work. I’m all for the mission of employing the blind and visually impaired. How could I not be? I’m blind. I know, all too well, the experience of searching for a job through the regular avenues.

   I’ve submitted cover letters and resumes tailored to specific positions. I’ve gone to interviews dressed to the nines and with the most positive attitude I could carry in my briefcase.  I’ve been told things such as “You’re perfect for this job,” or “That was an amazing presentation,” and even “There’s one more person to interview, but I’m sure I’ll be calling you tomorrow to present you with the offer.”

   I’ve never left an interview feeling anything less than confident that I had it in the bag, or at least in my grasp. However, after my not so patiently waiting, I’d receive the call or email stating that the company went with someone else, or my favorite, “we’ve selected another candidate, but will keep your resume on hand.”

  No… I’d appreciate if you’d go ahead and return my resume. You clearly aren’t using it correctly.

  Finding out that there are companies who focus specifically on lowering the unemployment rate in the blind community was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced.

  Finally, a company that understands me. I won’t have to fight for accessibility or ask for accommodations. They will be equipped with everything I need. The best part of it all is that I don’t have to answer any weird questions about blindness. “Who picks out your clothes?”  “Since you’re blind, can you even read?” Yes… the questions are that bad.

   I am grateful for my job and the ability to provide for myself. However, before I recommend that another well-educated blind or visually-impaired person accept an entry-level position at one of these agencies, there are a few things I think you should consider. I know what you’re thinking yet again, “I wonder what she’s going to suggest.” 

   Patience Grasshopper… We will discuss these considerations in detail in my next post.

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