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Finding a job as a Person With Disability and the emotions in it.

BKiwuBKiwu ke ✭✭✭
edited 23. May 2022 in Job & Profession

Someni vijana, muongeze pia bidii, mwisho wa kusoma, mtapata kazi nzuri sana. (O youth, study and study hard. At the end of your education, you will get a very good job.) The song is a classic from the olden days that was used to motivate school going children to get serious with books if they wanted a good future for themselves. If the literacy levels in Kenya are anything to go by, then the song achieved its purpose. The last part of finding a good job after education is however debatable on what qualifies a good job. Is it the pay and benefits, the working environment or the nature of the job and the skills required?

But all this pales in comparison to the many questions and challenges persons with disabilities go through while trying to find a job after school. For starters, national exams are yet to be disability friendly to people with sophisticated types of disabilities, such as motor neuron disabilities like Cerebral Palsy, which can sometimes affect the handwriting of the victims, making their writing illegible even to themselves. This means that unless other means are sought to examine the student like oral exams, they have failed the exam by default, and therefore, will have to start from the bottom if they were to pursue higher education. Others though manage to go through university, but are very few in number, for many reasons including the one highlighted above.

Disability limits you on the kind of job you can do. When people are starting out, they start with menial jobs that mostly need physical strength like carpentry and masonry. For the ladies, its mostly vendor jobs, housekeeping or receptionist jobs. Even though some of these jobs are easy to do as a person with disability, e.g., receptionist jobs, they are never given the job on account of the movements involved and the general viewing of persons with disabilities as objects of pity rather than beautiful people capable of being the face of the organization once a client comes in.

It’s no wonder that most CSR related imagery involves something to do with disability, e.g., donating wheelchairs or visiting a disability children's home. Such imagery only reinforces the belief that persons with disability are objects of charity and are not capable of achieving anything for themselves without external help. Some disabilities also cause one to be relatively slower than an abled person, or the person with disability becomes slow due to lack of reasonable accommodation in the workplace which reduces their productivity since we have to do adaptation activities to mitigate the challenges we have. Case in point is when a washroom is not accessible. One has to utilize a chair to get inside and this eats into productivity time since you may need help to get inside. The emotional damage of this is that privacy is compromised and this affects the self esteem of an individual.

Related to this is the view that persons with disabilities are an unnecessarily extra in terms of providing a conducive environment for them to work. This include getting a guide or allowing special gadgets which may be ‘noisy’ to the others. Some employers then opt to pay less money to persons with disabilities as salary, comforting themselves that they have done much to suite the environment for us to work and that comes at a cost. Unlike nowadays where persons with disabilities are highly sought after in companies that genuinely and intentionally seek to be inclusive, during the yester years employers underpaid persons with disabilities believing that they have nowhere else to go. The result was that persons with disabilities were forced to put up with toxic work environments mostly due to negative attitudes, to earn an income just to survive, devoid of emotional and personal satisfaction about the job.

More to this is the fact that promotions are hard to come by for persons with disabilities, since people suddenly want to equate physical capabilities to intellectual strength during promotions, never mind that in most cases, the person with disability is more qualified than the non-disabled workmates. Of course, the morale of the person with disability is negatively affected and this also affects their emotional wellbeing, even though it might not affect them for long or significantly, due to the fact that rejection to a person with disability is a common occurrence.

Sometimes the nature of disability might be a cause of stress to a person with disability when applying for a job. If the disability involves numerous visits to the doctor or vulnerability of a kind that takes one away from the office for a longer time, the person with disability will be hesitant to apply for the job on the belief that the disability is an impediment to working. The emotional turmoil comes in when you have disability related expenses yet the disability itself you will limit your capability to work to get money to meet these disability related expenses.  Some jobs also have requirements that take a toll on the disability itself like travelling. This means that some careers are a no-go zone to a person with disability, and this limits the exposure of the person to the outside world.

Despite all this, there may be a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. Corporations are in a race of sorts to diversify their workforce and this means getting persons with disabilities on board. In some of the corporations that have successfully undertaken diversification programmes, a great deal of resources has gone into providing reasonable accommodation as well as capacity building to address attitudinal barriers, by engaging with disability organizations to guide them how to attract persons with disabilities to the organization, retain them and how the organization benefits as a result of harnessing the abilities of persons with disabilities after addressing challenges that hinder their productivity. The icing on the cake is emotional wellness is catered for through activities like team building, as well as resident counsellors in the organizations to provide the best environment for people to work in. Team building helps to gel persons with disability workers and their abled colleagues thus fostering complementarity when in the office, and achieving organizational goals easily.

Keep hope alive.    

Best Answers

  • MikkiTarzMikkiTarz ke ✭✭✭
    Answer ✓

    It's sad 😔 hoping things will change. Cause it is half the battle learning as a pwd and then coming out here seeing it even harder to get in jobs causes more despair. Good piece @BKiwu

  • 1_31_3 ke
    Answer ✓

    Keep the fire burning and hope alive. As persons with disability, we have a part to play in world of inclusion.

    We can create awareness and make our voices heard. Together we can.


  • WilieWilie ke ✭✭
    edited 20. May 2022

    A very true reflection of the job system. Apparently the education system doesn't allow a lot of PwD to get to that 'white' collar job that allows them to fight for the job rights which include reasonable accommodation and corporates when asked why they're not creating facility, they'd brush it off with a 'but the number of employees is too low or none and hence uneconomical'.

    Keeping the hope alive 🤞

  • BKiwuBKiwu ke ✭✭✭

    Thats a harsh reply from some companies. Harsh but true. Hopefully with time they will change given the rise in employing persons with disabilities through ESG initiatives. Time changes everything @Wilie

  • BKiwuBKiwu ke ✭✭✭

    hapo sawa @1_3

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