Plans Change: Informal Pre-Employment Class (independent living skills series 7)
By Amanda Nelson
The van was late. I was anxious; and I was starting to snack on my favorite taco chips and Dr. Pepper. Additionally, as I was still upset, I decided to call a friend in England for a chat whilst waiting. We chatted up a storm until the van came.
The ride to school was uneventful, and I was only 30 minutes late. When I got there, I put my lunch away and walked into the conference room. I was eager to get started with my Orientation and Mobility lesson. As it turned out, my teacher had to cancel my lesson which was a huge pity.
However, instead of going home, I asked the instructor if it was okay to stay for the pre-employment lesson. Today’s lesson was on resumes (CV’s). The first type of resume we covered was functional and how we should use quantity and qualitative examples. We looked at a few resumes (CV’s) and discussed why they were good examples.
Once that topic was discussed, we went on to a functional disability statement. I must admit I have a disability statement, however it never covered such topics such as: what my vision is like and what I can see, how I can complete tasks in my daily life such as getting around, cooking and using the computer and enabling the employer to ask any other questions they may have by opening the conversation yourself.
By that time, I brought up the issue of employers not believing that my eye condition is not real or the fact that I am either drunk or on drugs.
My teacher is right when he says you have to have thick skin, and sometimes people are just plain ignorant. He is right; when I get those kinds of interviews, just move on. It only takes one “Yes,” out of the hundreds of “No’s” I have received to achieve success.
Accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was our next topic. It is hard for me to believe that someone in human resources would have knowledge about the ADA. That lead us onto the topic of being able to sell yourself with your assets such as keyboarding skills, how your personal technology works etc.
The last thing we covered was the format of a chronological resume and some basic interview questions.
On the way home, beneath all the anger I felt about my job seeking journey, I thought about a story that my teacher told about a relative that had come to visit. This relative met one of my teacher’s friends who was blind and he got to learn the impact that my teacher had on this blind friend as a teacher. He gave the man the gift of independence by teaching him. I, myself, want to be as independent as possible. However, first I must figure out what that means to me.