Being disabled takes a lot of getting used to, especially if you’re like me. My mobility has been slowly worsening due to my illness. A year ago I was able to walk with the aid of a walking stick, now I am in a wheelchair and it’s been driving me nuts. All the little things I used to take for granted, like running to the loo when out shopping, are now huge hills to climb. It’s frustrating and sometimes it gets me down, but I have to make the most of it. One of the things that has helped me has been returning to work.
Finding a Job – Know Your Rights
Finding a job hasn’t been easy but with some fantastic support I am now back in the rat race and working full time. Before I started my job hunt I decided to look into my rights, just to make sure I was up to date with all the latest information. Not that I was looking to cause any trouble or make a fuss if I wasn’t given a job, it was just useful to know that if I felt I was being discriminated against there was someone there to back me up. I discovered that all disabled jobseekers and employees are protected against discrimination under the Equality Act.
During the application process I had the right to be treated fairly and that’s true for pay and promotion possibilities too. For those still digging around looking for possible employment opportunities, there are startups hiring for engineers and you might find it appealing to work with a new company and help it grow into a successful one.
Take the Help That’s Available
I arranged to see a disability employment advisor who provided me with some great information and gave me the confidence to get out there are start applying for work. The job hunting wasn’t easy, and I didn’t manage to get an interview for about two months. I have to admit it did get me down a bit, but thankfully things changed. I managed to attend three interviews over a fortnight and one of those interviews resulted in being offered a position.
My employer has been wonderful. They have a couple of disabled people on site, although I am the only one who is constantly confined to my wheelchair. The firm is highly respected and they recognised that I had an abundance of skills and an excellent education behind me making me an excellent candidate. However, I do feel that I was offered the job because they had many excellent facilities already in place.
Returning to work was much like going to school on my first day. I felt nervous and anxious, but I managed to survive. The building had easy access that made life easier, including a parking space close by and a ramp. The doors are wide enough for my chair and my office is located close to the bathroom and on the first floor with all of the other workers. There are lifts inside and the walkways are all a great size.
The other people in the office have seemed to welcome me warmly. I did get some funny looks to start with but those vanished as soon as I was able to start communicating and showing my personality. I have been very open with my employer about my abilities and disability and I believe this has helped them to provide me with all the equipment I need.
There has been no bullying and I feel I have the same opportunities to work my way up through the company as everyone else. I do get tired but then who doesn’t? I am so proud to belong to a respected company. They do everything they can to ensure their employees and their clients are well looked after.
Don’t miss out on competent staff just because you’re building isn’t up to standard. Improve your business by working on your disability access.