For brevity’s sake, I will not relay every detail of my experience while applying for jobs with a physical disability. Unfortunately, someone I love with all my heart is experiencing this now. The pain I am witnessing is unfathomable.. Knowing firsthand the hurt. The disillusionment. Frustration. In a way: I am reliving my own experience. Years later: I know what he is feeling. It is extremely frustrating for me. That he is incredibly intelligent. And yet due to having cerebral palsy: is not even getting responses from employers seeking entry level janitorial positions. Knowing what he can do physically , yet is not believed capable of pushing a mop. Knowing the truth, myself when others deny it: is maddening for me. And I try to control it. Truthfully: I am pissed off. It is incredibly difficult for me to watch the excitement of finding a new career drain from their soul as reality sets in. Frustrating that he feels ignored by the world. That somehow he and I have to prove we’re worthy. That we’re human beings. That we’re not garbage. That despite believing society to be enlightened, much of the world still judges people with physical disabilities. Deems us incapable. Inferior. And that is not always the truth. Not remotely.
For some reason we compare. Think that the term “janitor” insinuates that the person lacks of intelligence. Believe that they don’t always. I have worked similar jobs. I was never unintelligent. At all. We judge. Often incorrectly.
While applying for a personal training job in 2016, the woman at the counter gave me a smug smile and talked to me incredibly loudly and slowly, Told me the fitness manager was not in her office. I walked across the room. She thought I had left the building. My fully abled friend then asked the same of her. She cheerfully responded. The fitness manager was available. He was there the whole time. What she thought and assumed is not my concern. In retrospect: I find relief.
In not working for a company that wouldn’t respect me.
And I would say this to anyone who faces situations like this: it is a blessing in disguise. The difficulties faced are sometimes unbelievable. But, once a job is secured, the feeling received: knowing we have broken barriers through persistence and never giving up is unparalleled!