Wednesday, August 31, 2016

So I Guess I'm Disabled?

As many of my friends know from my constant complaining... I am currently on the job hunt.  I have two part time jobs but I need to move on to one full-time position.  Bring on the benefits.

Now, I think most would agree that there are few things in life as anxiety-provoking as job searching.  The future is so uncertain... you never know who you will hear back from and circumstances can change at the drop of the hat.  As my mom has pointed out, you have to "cast a wide net" and hope to catch something good.  

So, I've turned into an aggressive job huntress, prowling the internet for the best available positions for my skill set.  I have filled out many online job forms lately, reiterating my resume and personal information.  This includes the "Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability" form.

The form.
Now, in the past I've paid little attention to this form, because I never considered myself disabled in any way.  

Then it caught my eye: "Obsessive compulsive disorder".... listed right there with "Missing limbs," "Cancer," and "Intellectual disability."


Now, part of me thought, "This is really great news! Mental health problems are being recognized as real problems.  They're listed right alongside physical ailments."  I was surprised anxiety wasn't on there too... but at least it's a step in the right direction.

But a bigger part of me winced.  The discomfort associated with the negative connotation of the term disability as it applied to me was very real.  

I have to admit that even after seeing my diagnosis right there on the form, I still checked "No."

Let me be clear: I don't think that people with disabilities should be ashamed or feel like they have to hide.  I'm not ashamed of my diagnosis (which might be obvious as I blab publicly on the internet).  That being said, I couldn't deny my concern with showcasing it on a job form.  

I want employers to see my strengths, "Laura's Greatest Hits," my highlight reel... not my biggest weakness.  I certainly don't want to have my entire application viewed from the lens of one check in one "Yes" box.

I recognize that this is what those labeled as disabled have to struggle with every day.  For over a year I've worked with students with a variety of learning differences (from Autism to dyslexia to different physical limitations) and I finally got a small taste of what it feels like to be considered "disabled."  I think the experience will make me a more empathetic tutor.  Honestly, in some ways it may even make me a better person.

Whether this incident is ultimately a tragedy or triumph... jury is definitely still out on this one. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! Hopefully something will work out soon!

  2. Good for you, Laura. I'm not sure why this is there, actually. I suppose it could be used in a discriminatory way. You can't ask age or race (or can you -- it's been awhile since I've been in the job market). Something about this doesn't feel right. I understand about not hiding the disability but it is concerning that someone might not hire someone with OCD or cancer or something else or give them the chance. I suppose if it was a requirement to be able to lift so many pounds or walk a certain distance that a question saying "Do you have any limitations that would prevent you from..." yes or no. But this is a tad too specific for me.

    1. I think it's supposed to prevent discrimination somehow... but it seems to me like it could easily do the opposite. It is voluntary? But it doesn't sit well with me either.

  3. Just got my check for $500.

    Many times people don't believe me when I tell them about how much money you can make filling out paid surveys at home...

    So I took a video of myself actually getting paid $500 for taking paid surveys.