[nfbwatlk] Job hunting

Mary ellen gabias at telus.net
Sat Nov 8 00:21:23 UTC 2014

I believe the correct title for that speech is "Competing on Terms of
Equality."  It was delivered at a JOB seminar and was distributed widely to
JOB applicants.  It appeared in the Kernel Book "The Freedom Bell."  The
link is:

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of
Nightingale, Noel via nfbwatlk
Sent: Friday, November 07, 2014 1:16 PM
To: Mike Freeman; NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Job hunting


Will you send us the link to the Jernigan speech about employment?  I've
never read it and it sounds like a good one, but when I went to the NFB
site, it came up with thousands of search results.


-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Mike
Freeman via nfbwatlk
Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2014 8:55 AM
To: 'debby phillips'; 'NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List'
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Job hunting


This post is going to be in the nature of a bucket of cold water in the face
or, put another way, a reality check.

First, why do you even *care* whether the class hand-outs etc. are
accessible. After all, what you want is certification that you've been
through the class. Just go, listen and get out of it what you can. If people
don't discuss things and all they do is play with computers, consider that
you have three hours more to sleep! There are plenty of good resources on
the net to deal with the subjects of the class. All you're doing is showing
that you've jumped through the hoops. If stuff isn't accessible, don't worry
about it. Just take the hand-outs home and get them read if you're truly
curious. And if Craig balks, I'd suggest having a heart-to-heart with him
and asking if he truly cares whether you're happy or not and if yes, why is
he so stubbornly reluctant to help you. After all, the world will *never* be
totally accessible to you; Craig might as well get used to the fact that by
marrying you, he has become (albeit vicariously) a member of a minority, the

Moreover, have you talked to Colorado Center people? What would *they* say
when you moped about waiting for people to make things accessible to you?
I'd bet they'd tell you to be inventive and not to get into a twit over
every minor frustration.

The Colorado Center has placed folks in call centers but they worked with
said centers to make things accessible -- not always feasible when said
centers work merely hiring temps. I know a few years ago, there was a push
to get blind people to consider hiring as temp workers but technology wasn't
as much a part of the job scene then.

And speaking of accessibility, when was the last time you saw a talking cash
register in use? We are still a minority and, in my view, cannot always
expect access tech to be installed by everyone just to give the blind a job.
There are certain laws on the books that require accommodations in certain
situations. But as we've all discovered, they are not truly enforceable.
Example: there's no way that any court or ALJ would have forced Bonneville
to shut down its computer power control center just because I couldn't
remotely administer Windows Server 8R2 systems without installation of
Remote JAWS and this would have violated security required following the
2003 northeast blackout.

Same would go, I imagine, for the Barns & Noble job although you might look
at this one more closely -- schedule an informational interview to see what
the job entails.

There have been plenty of blind insurance salespersons, claims reps and the
like. Dr. Jernigan sold insurance at one time. I don't know how these jobs
have changed as modern technology has taken over, though.

But the bottom line is that, like everyone else reentering the job market,
you will have to acquire and demonstrate a marketable skill -- not such an
easy thing at age sixty-one.

And we won't even talk about tacit and implicit age discrimination, despite
the law.

Should you stop trying? Heavens no. But dial down the worrying by 98.275
percent, please. Life ain't worth getting ulcers.

And look on the NFB site for an address Dr. Jernigan gave: My Experiences in
Employment. It'll give you some idea of the attitude you'll need to have to
cut it in the work world on a basis of equality. Even though he gave the
address in 1980, much of it is still relevant.

As I say, this is not meant to criticize. It's just a pale of water in the

We're all pulling for you. And rest assured *I* couldn't get a job easily
now without retraining even though I hold a B.A. and M.s.


Mike Freeman

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of debby
phillips via nfbwatlk
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2014 10:52 PM
To: nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org
Subject: [nfbwatlk] Job hunting

Well, I just spent the evening looking at jobs.  I found a company that I'm
going to contact, though I think their call center jobs are all temporary.
The last one they posted was for people to help folks with the Affordable
Care Act.  I wish I'd known about this job last winter.  I might have
applied for it.  
It would have only lasted four months, but it was a great call center job.

So okay, I have questions.  We talk about how blindness shouldn't get in the
way of living the life we want.  So right now, I want to get a job and I
pretty much don't care what I do.  My broad goal is customer service.  Boy,
that includes everything from truck driver to selling cars at Camp
Chevrolet.  Lol.  So here are a few jobs that I'm wondering if blind people
have done, and how; cashier at a store; there also is a job for a book
seller at Barnes and Noble.  I love books, and wonder if you all know of
anyone who's done this kind of job.  Also, what about selling or working at
an insurance company like State Farm? (They seem to be hiring like crazy
around here for whatever reason).

Okay, next question.  I have to go to the Employment Service Division Office
for a three-hour class on Monday.  (If I don't go, I could be denied
unemployment benefits).  If I call them tomorrow and tell them that I'm
blind and will need assistance, will I get it? I have a folder with my most
current resume, and applications that I've done, which I'll take.  But Craig
says that he doesn't think he should go with me, that they should give me
stuff in an accessible format (which they won't).  The purpose of this class
is to learn how to write resumes, I guess, and some other stuff.  Other then
showing up to fulfill their requirement, is this going to be a waste of
time? (I don't really have that many sighted friends here, so if Craig
doesn't go with me and they can't or won't help me, is this just going to be
a three hour time of frustration?

It irritates me that I already know that I'm going to walk in the door and
they will all freak out because they won't know what to do about this blind
lady who's going to come to their class.  I don't mean to sound whiny.  I
probably do.  Sorry about that.  
But any suggestions about how to approach this class and at least get
something out of it, would be appreciated.

I guess I'd best go to bed.  After the elections, I'm afraid we're all going
to find ourselves falling backward about 20 or 30 
years.    Peace,    Debby

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