Before I jump in to this blog I feel it is important that you know a few important pieces of information about me.
- I am 23 years old and graduated in June 2015
- I am registered blind
- I have a guide dog
Upon graduating I entered in to a long and at times difficult job hunt. They say that finding a job is hard when you are a young person…imagine how much harder finding a job is when you have a disability. The shocking statistic is that two-thirds of registered blind and partially sighted people of working age are not in paid employment ” (Douglas et al, Network 1000, 2006) I was determined to not add to the statistics of unemployed blind people. However, it was hard. I needed to find a company that would see me before they saw my disability. I needed somewhere where the unique advantages of having a disabled person on the work force was recognised and most of all I needed somewhere that believed in me.
During my time of hunting for and applying for jobs I racked up 250 applications. I had a number of interviews and lots of telephone interviews however with the telephone interviews I felt like I was filling a statistic of interviewing someone who had a disability or in some cases my CV had not been read properly and when I said to some interviewers that I was blind it was followed by an awkward silence at the end of the phone. It made me question if anyone was actually going to give me the chance and offer me the jobs. For many of the jobs that I applied for in my time of searching I was over qualified or had enough experience to get the job but the main thing that interviewers told me was that “you don’t have enough experience.”
In February 2016 I applied for a job with TrustCSR over charity job. I liked the sound of the job working with corporate organisations, their employees and charities. I also liked the ethos of the company. Within 2 days of applying I had heard back from TrustCSR inviting me for interview. I felt excited but didn’t want to get my hopes up because I had faced so many let downs by then that I didn’t think I would get the job.
One massive difference when I received this interview offer was that they asked the needs of my guide dog and how they could best support us. I was offered a bowl of water for Goldie and also asked how the team should behave around her. This was really reassuring because I knew that they were a considerate company and people who genuinely wanted to support me…and they hadn’t even met us yet.