Job hunting with a disability

sorry, this has become a bit of a ramble…

I’m just seen a tweet from @iamkateevans which links to a blog post about someone with cerebral palsy and their job hunt.

This, and the restructure we’re undergoing at work, got me thinking about what I would do if I lost my job.  I would like to think that it would be accepted that I’m not really fit for work (I can barely do my job and I’ve got a million adaptations, exceptionally supportive colleagues, a lot of flexibility and I know what I’m doing in my sleep).

But I know that the benefits game isn’t embracing of common sense.  So there is a reasonable risk I will end up on JSA or the work related part of ESA which assumes you’ll be able to work again and means you have to show you’re moving towards that.

Up until now, I think I’d mostly been focused on the work part of finding a new job.  The adaptations etc which would be needed when I found a job.  I hadn’t really thought about the job hunt itself.

And it’s throwing up a lot of barriers:

  • typing is very painful, i can only do a little bit at a time and voice recognition software on my laptop is patchy at best.  Add in the time limited application forms and those which are badly formatted and filling out an application is going to be a nightmare.
  • there are more and more days where I can’t get onto my laptop and can only do limited things on my tablet so actually having to search websites for a job is going to be difficult.
  • getting to the job centre in the winter when leaves, ice and snow make pavements slippy is a risk.  and travelling over cobbles and crap pavements in a wheelchair exacerbates my pain.  As does the cold.  The alternative would be spending a fortune on taxis.  plus there are days when leaving the house isn’t an option.  depending on where i live in relation to the job centre, there may need to be suitable public transport to get there at the times required (and has space for a wheelchair, buses can get crammed with people going to work and have to leave you behind)
  • energy levels also restrict what i can do a day in terms of job hunting
  • brain fog meaning deadlines are missed or questions misunderstood or other silly errors
  • i am limited to a very small area as I can’t cope with much of a commute
  • I can’t sign my name. I can no longer hold a pen and this causes a surprising amount of difficulty for people who won’t accept my typed name instead…

And all of that is before you even get invited to interview (which would need to be in an accessible room, planned around medical appointments, other peoples attitudes etc etc) and then all the issues which come up in the work place… which is probably a story for another day…

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