Can’t Quit

I’m still scared. The economic downturn has been brutal on me personally. My personal portfolio is a disaster and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. I am still haunted by precision fit, where you had to be the best of the best of the best Sir, and be the perfect cultural fit for the client. In economic downturns it’s the us’s, the people on the fringe that suffer the most. The diversity of talent an employer will look at is limited significantly. If,there is the slightest degree of variance you’re out of contention for a position. If the employer has to invest to enable you to work you out of contention for a position. If an employer can’t imagine that you and your bad self, with your difference or disability can do the job, you’re out of contention. It’s been very hard. I am still scared that the worst of the economic crisis hasn’t yet come to pass. For the first time in my life, I’m playing it safe, managing risks and working to stay employed. It’s sad really I’m working to stay employed, I’m not working to do the best that I can. Survival first after not being able to provide for my wife and I it’s my top priority.

I have always tried to live life with the capabilities and abilities I have. Overcoming my disability is logistics, just the extra things I have to do to get things done. Other people’s view of you is very deterministic. If a person is uncomfortable with you and your differences or disability you are affected. If a person is uncomfortable with your logistics then your affected. If a group of people are uncomfortable with you or your logistics you’re affected. It’s only that panacea state of being where a a group and its members are comfortable with you and your differences, and you are also comfortable with your differences and logistics. Only then can you contribute. Only if you accept your differences and your own logistics for doing things. Otherwise you’ll ultimately hit a brick wall of your own lack of energy or fatigue or someone will call you out as a lier.

I have been spoiled most of my career. A disabled persons tenure at an organization is direction proportional to how well they feel they are accommodated. The word that is important is, “Feel”. An organization might do what it is legally mandated to do, and people may act in accordance with the law. Their intent is what is deterministic to how well you “feel” you are accommodated.

Historically its been black or white. The organization I’ve worked for has accommodated my needs. Now I am accommodating my needs, and providing my own ongoing support and maintenance. Its very expensive, but I am more empowered. When I leave my job I can take all my accommodations with me. Even if it’s costing me money to be able to work it’s an investment with great return.

Accommodating yourself solves some problems and opens others. What are the policies of the organization you’re attempting to participate in? Does the organization allow the technology you’re using to accommodate yourself in their technical environment.

Another operative word, “Allow”. It doesn’t have to be the policy of an organization, as I’ve learned the hard way. My manager approved everything I use and to our knowledge that was all the organization required. My technical accommodations elicited a huge case of penis envy over my monitor. I use a 46” TV and the people that manage the technology were upset, actually very upset. To this day I don’t know why. I’d rather be able to sit back a few feet to see a computer screen apposed to wiping my nose prints off o the monitor because I sit so close.

I am working on a major project affecting 120000 people and the technology they use to do their work. The people that had penis envy over my monitor where my customers, those that currently run the technology. In some ways its hard not to think that they were intimidated by me and my career and were trying to get rid of me. In other ways it has made getting the work done very hard.

I talked it over with my manager and ultimately escalated the issue to the IT HR department. It was agreed that I’d take another role on another team. Live isn’t that easy. When I started to transition into my new role I had to tolerate a raving lunatic and his off handed comments about blind people. He and a couple of major idiots were questioning my professional abilities because of my differences my disability. They were stupid enough to talk about it openly and one of them was stupid enough to ask me about it. I’ve written many times about these small minded people, who can’t get their head out of their butt long enough to consider that someone who is different can contribute.

The job I was transitioning into was a goal job for me. It was a title I’ve never officially held and it would have looked good on the resume. For me what was important is the support of my original manager, she has stood by me through all of this. She understood the issues, there wasn’t always something she could do about it, but she understood the issues. It means so much to be understood I ultimately have decided to remain on her team. The manager on the other team didn’t even understand the issues, or my feelings about them. I hope I haven’t alienated the other manager to much but he didn’t get it, and I couldn’t explain it to him. There are many times where its better to walk away. I am convinced If I’d continued with the transition I would have been fired within a year.

That’s what happens with the organization doesn’t accept you or the people don’t accept your differences or your logistics. They fire you, after all you incompetent aren’t you?

I’ve grown this year, the economic downturn has forced me to face a number of issues that in the past I would have avoided simply by changing jobs. The fear of not being able to provide for my wife and I has forced me to work through the accommodation issues head on. Since there are no immediately available jobs to jump to. One of my mentors was kind enough to remind me to take the high road. Its often tempting to reach for the legal option. I’m starting to think the law isn’t here for us individuals its only in existence to protect the culture and the cultural context. My options were limited anyway, there are only two lawyers where I live that deal with discrimination issues. One wouldn’t return m call and the other one wanted $800 just to have a 1 hour conversation, no free consultation here. There was another option, which was to file a complaint with the human rights commission. Since the entity I’m working for and the human’s right commission belong to the same governing body I didn’t think I’d make any headway. These doors are ultimately still open to me worst case. For now remaining with my original manager that understands my issues is more than enough for me. Its more than I usually get or can usually ask for.

The most important thing for me is when I’m understand and when I’m heard, I’m not so scared. I still panic when I hear about the debt issues globally. Being different or disabled you are aware that when things are tough its the us’s that get axed first and are hired back last. I can always tell when the economy is looking up, its when my phone starts to ring with recruiters trying to hire me. That time I know will come again I still have hope, no matter if you can accept that I can contribute even though I’m different or do things differently.

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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