Relationship Connection: Nobody will hire me because I have a disability

Question

I recently married and moved to this community. I am hard of hearing, so I have a difficult time understanding people sometimes. When the person is patient with me and explains to me what needs to be done, so that I understand what is expected, I am very good at the job put in front of me.

I have turned in many applications to various jobs since I was laid off from work. I have worked with many job placement agencies in the community as well. I have not received any phone calls at all. Some say, “There isn’t an opening.” This has been a challenge for me, as I have not been hired full-time for three years.

My concern is that I am not even called in for an interview most of the time, and once I have the interview, I never hear from the employer again. It doesn’t make sense to me, this pattern I have been seeing for the last three years. I think that the employers in this area need to be more open to hiring people with disabilities. They seem to automatically assume that a person with a disability would not be able to do a job instead of thinking, are there accommodations that will assist this person to do the job.

Answer:

You are frustrated about not finding a job after a long three-year search. No doubt this is completely aggravating. This situation presents you with an important decision to make: Will you be a victim to your circumstances or take responsibility for your own future.

I hear a lot of victim and entitlement thinking in your question – which may be preventing you from getting the job you want. In other words, your words are full of assumptions about what potential employers should do for you. This is backwards. Instead, think about what you might have to offer an employer. Find out what they need and present them with a solution.

It appears that you’re focused on how they can take care of you because of your disabilities, which isn’t a great way to start a working relationship with an employer. Even though it’s critical that society provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, your attitude communicates that you deserve to be hired because you have a disability.

If you have the skills and attitude to do the job an employer needs done, my guess is that they’ll be happy to work with your limitations. Instead of starting out by defining yourself as a person who is hard of hearing and needs employers to be open-minded about your struggles, try matching your skill set, goals, and desires to what they need and then let the accommodations come after you’re a good fit.

There might be some jobs you just aren’t able to do because of your disability. There is nothing wrong with accepting that limitation and moving on to a position that’s a better fit.

You might need to improve your skill set by taking more classes, improving your education, and getting more feedback about your interviewing skills. Don’t give up and just wait for someone to hire you. Your job right now is to make yourself a better job candidate by learning what employers need and finding a way to meet those needs. Don’t waste time being resentful and blaming forces outside of your control.

You have things you can keep doing. Knowing that you’re improving your situation will help improve your energy, attitude, and confidence. Employers are more likely to notice someone who has those traits rather than someone who is a complainer and believes they are owed a job.

Stay connected!

 

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

Twitter: @geoffsteurer

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • Job Seeker July 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    How many employers hire or don’t hire job candidates based on that person’s religious affiliation? Do St George employers really ask for ward bishop recommendations?

  • Clan of the Cave Bear July 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    There are ways of discriminating against job applicants for any reason without being obvious about it or risking sanctions for violating discrimination laws.

    Laws against workplace discrimination — however well-intended — create a false sense of fair access to the job market and job security.

    If you are worried about being discriminated against, you may be better off being your own boss, a self-employed entrepreneur.

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