I’ve had some pretty good highs and low the past few days that have all ended in a low. It’s been pretty disappointing to say the least. For the most part I try to stay positive about being blind, but sometimes life just gets me really down about it, because I don’t the chance to do things that I should be able to do, because of said blindness. Last week I interviewed for a job being a leasing agent for an apartment complex. The interview went really well and later that week I had a meeting with the district manager of the same company. That also went well.
I was still thinking that I wouldn’t get offered the job, because I had no experience and there is a lot of reason they would likely rather go with someone else. Well, I got surprised and was offered a job with a contract on Monday. I signed the contract and emailed it back to them on the 14th. I was exceptionally happy. I was going to have a good paying job with paid time off and holidays for a few months at the minimum would get to see if I would enjoy that line of work. Then Wednesday happened. I got a call asking for my driver’s license number. It had been on the application, but I didn’t fill it out and the manager didn’t care. Turns out you did need one, even though it was nowhere in the job description or in the interview. The reason you need one? So, you can drive a golf cart, just in the off chance you need to. I kid you not.
I then explained why I didn’t have one, and explained this this would fall under ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act.) HR then informed me that it didn’t fall under a reasonable accommodation to just have someone else drive a golf cart, even though the manager said that this happens, very, very little. So essentially since I couldn’t get a license to drive a golf cart that never actually needs driven. While this is the most directly way I have not gotten a job from being blind, it stings about the same, because I was actually offered the job and then had it taken away, even though a reasonable accommodation was well within reach.
The rate for unemployment among blind individuals is up over 70%, and it’s not really hard to see why. While I am wanting to work, finding a job that will actually allow me to work at it is almost impossible. I’ve had numerous jobs I am more than qualified for not offered to me, because I was blind. While they can’t say, I am blind, it’s pretty easy to see it was that since everything had been going well until I informed them that I was blind and it wouldn’t affect my job performance. Of the three jobs, I have had, the managers have told me that they are willing to take a chance on me even though I am blind, because I was too qualified to not. The third one I didn’t even tell them I was blind. That’s staggering when you think about it though. Me being blind nearly trumped being overly qualified for jobs. Not everyone who is blind has jobs they are overqualified for to apply to, or worse they are not good at interviewing which I can say I am at least decent at. Of course, blind people do have jobs and some are very successful, but the stories of those who are not nearly as successful are more numerous. When 70% of a group of capable adults doesn’t have a job, then there isn’t something wrong with that group, there is something wrong with society.
Now we are seriously looking at new apartments and we have even gone on tours of 3 of them now we realize that what I need in an apartment really makes it hard for us to get everything we are looking for. If I could drive, then I could choose a place that was in the middle of a nice suburb with no problem. I can’t drive though so I would like to be near a bus route of some kind and for there to be a store within walking distance. Now walking distance for me is much closer to a mile, not a few blocks really. Finding this though is not nearly as easy as it might seem. Apartments that are decent that don’t have crappy ratings are either expensive or secluded from the bus routes. Of course, this is because poor people take the bus and why have poor people be able to get to your apartments if you have no desire to have them in your complex. So basically, if you are blind you just get lumped in with the poor people and you are just going to have to deal with it.
Just one of the great perks of being blind. Find it hard to land jobs, make life harder for those around you and don’t get the apartments that you want. It’s.... I’m not really sure what the correct words actually are. Everything feels a little hollow when trying to describe it. I don’t have it as bad as some, there is no doubt about that, but some of those that have it worse don’t care they have it worse. I still have a roof over my head, I have people that support me and overall my life is good, but my life feels like it doesn’t have the high-end capability that it would if I wasn’t blind. I feel like there is this thing that will hold me back. I think for the generations after me things will be easier and eventually it won’t matter near as much, but many of the people that are hiring me grew up in a generation where if you had a disability it was game over. That’s not reality anymore, but those people aren’t making the important decisions right now, at least not yet.
I think that’s going to be all for tonight. At least that I am not Trump, I can always hang my hat on that.