Does Employment Exist for the Disabled
It’s been almost 5 years since I have worked a job. My last employment was with a law firm. I took on a paralegal position based on the fact, that I was tired, both mentally and physically, from working a managerial position. During the summer of 2013, I was working 60 plus hours a week. Hard to believe, right? It is true. I held that schedule for quite a few years. I also put myself through online college from 2009-2013.
My health was failing, my mental ability to function was being tested, I just could not do it any longer.
I was not happy inside; I had not been for quite some time. My degree holds a concentration in Human Resource Management. This is a field of study by which I chose really held a close calling to my heart. Rules, regulations, policies, and procedures. Hiring properly. Knowing the right fit for your positions and teams. Treating your staff appropriately and fairly. I always knew I could do this. I honestly never was able to pursue this career path after graduation. I was never able to fully execute a position as an HR specialist.
I took over a 50% pay cut. I was happy to be in a new line of work, however, the training at the firm was horrific. I was treated horribly. I was belittled by a coworker. I was blamed for things I had absolutely zero control over. It was a brutal beginning. It was not until that employee left the firm, that I begin to enjoy my work. The main attorney that I worked for was very intelligent. He entrusted me with communication to trustees, judges, and outside counsel. I could basically run the entire team. This was nice. I was able to learn so much from him. In the process of learning so much, I encountered a bitter operations manager. This person was never happy with any employee. This type of manager was in fact not a manager at all, just someone that held a title. A micro-manager also. She clearly was never going to see someone advance under her watch. Her mission was to control every aspect of everything and everyone, to give false direction and never claim responsibility for it. I knew to go into the job, I never wanted to work in the managerial field again. Yet, she convinced me that she would help me, and she saw so much potential in me and she would make sure it would be a smooth process. NOT! That is exactly what happened. She set me up. She wanted someone to put the heat on employees who were failing at their jobs. Then once an action plan was set into motion, she would have “side meetings” with the staff, exclude me, and then tell everyone that I was abusing power. This was so disheartening. This was discouraging. After a couple of months, I asked to step down from the role. It wasn’t until I was fully out on short-term disability that I received notification that I was removed from the role, my pay was reduced, and I was being replaced.
That’s clever, huh? You see, when a person is out on disability, under most plans, they only receive about 60% of their income through their employer. So, she was able to show that she had the upper hand by reducing my title and my pay, all while I was out with brutal autoimmune illnesses running havoc on my body and my mind.
I have contemplated for quite some time if I am stable enough physically and mentally to return to a “regular” job or employment. The answer is no. I am not fully capable at this very moment of holding a full-time position. There are many reasons. My health is one of them. I do not want to have flare-ups, miss work, let myself down nor let down an employer. I am ready to start out slowly and try though. I have contacted the Ticket to Work program via disability and I am working with someone. She is trying to fit my needs. A remote position is ideal for me. A part-time position is also a great fit. I am open to weekends and evenings.
I am trustworthy, I have a quiet home, I have a great amount of experience in a variety of fields.
So, what’s the problem? I was on a roll with employers, then we get to “THE QUESTION”! “Why have you not worked since 2015?” I answer as honestly as I can. I had to leave the workforce due to health issues and then I took care of my mother in hospice until she passed away.
Wouldn’t you want an honest employee? Apparently, this scares employers away, they must think “danger, danger.” Technically, by law, they cannot discriminate. Yet, this is exactly what it feels like they are doing. I am being very transparent, and my resume speaks for itself. I am unsure currently what else to do.
I am a hard worker, I am honest, I am highly intelligent, I am flexible, but yes, I am disabled. That does not make me incapable. Employers, may I ask, what is the issue with hiring disabled workers? What is the issue with hiring honest people?
I can complete various tasks, communicate, work effectively and efficiently. I may need accommodations for flare-ups or doctor's appointments from time to time. The work that I do by far exceeds more than most. I think I am worth taking a chance on.
If you or someone you know is also struggling to re-enter the workforce while being disabled, I would love to hear your story. Please comment or contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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