Is this disablism? I don’t know. In this article (rant?) I will discuss how I believe that society – at least, that part of it that is responsible for employing people – is engaging in disablism. OK, it is a rant; if you don’t want a rant, please go Google for “fluffy bunnies,” or something.
This rant is about employment, and my perceived failure of most organisations to employ purely on the basis of talent, and potential output, rather than the ability to turn up to a specified location, then go home a certain number of hours later (without specifying what needs to be achived within this time.)
Let’s try to summarise my personal position, from the point of view of a potential employer, at least, let’s look at the “obvious” negatives:
- Can work only 12-16 hours per week. (More than that, my eyes get well, and truly buggered.)
- Can’t drive distance – even the process of driving a relatively short distance to work would impact on my ability to do said work.
- Frequently sick.
- Can’t always tell one day to the next whether I will be able to work the next day.
Read these, think what they imply. And, when I say imply, I mean what would common prejudice imply? You may notice that one word I do not address above is “productivity.” Because I am anything but unproductive:
- I have been told by many people that I work incredibly fast; I also don’t take chat/coffee/smoke/watching porn/more chat/more coffee/unspecified indolence breaks. [If I stop working, I stop the clock. Always.] Hours != work accomplished.
- I work from home; this means that, when required, I can generally jump on top of urgent work at times when the office-bound couldn’t.
- I only don’t work when I am so incapacitated that I can’t even crawl into a recliner and work (can’t remember the last time that happened,) and only veto work entirely, when I am so feverish, and/or brain-fogged that I would be likely to make so many mistakes that working would result in negative productivity. [Yes, I’ve been there, I know my limits, I know when to quit.]
- I don’t have fixed working days – or hours. It all evens out. Unless I have promised to do something at a fixed time and can’t (very rare,) clients never know; well, actually they probably will – because I keep them informed even if there is no impact to what is being done.
I could summarise the above by saying that I can do my job proficiently, and deliver on promises as well as the next person – but how would this be read by the likes of recruiters, and HR people? Do they have the training (the quality of recruiters I’ve come across says “no way,” from that aspect) to see what a person can deliver, or do they just look at the traditional model of employment – that draws in any number of incompetents, and time wasters? Is a failure to assess what someone has to offer in terms of output, rather than anything else, and to accommodate those who may have specific needs to achieve that output (like working from home,) not discrimination, not disablism?
I have (so far,) managed to keep my head above water (just,) but I often feel trapped: if I don’t have enough business to pay the bills, I don’t have the energy, or other resources that the fully able-bodied do, to get a part-time job, run a marketing campaign, or whatever. But, above all, I can’t just go, and get a job. And I don’t ever want to be unproductive. (I also don’t see myself ever retiring; I can’t think of anything worse than not working, even if it’s on my own projects, of which I have many.)
Where is the discrimination? Totally engrained in society, as far as I’m concerned. But I think I’ve got it lucky; sure, I’ve got health issues that impact my employability, in a conventional arena, BUT, I’m a white, cis/hetero, English-speaking (and born) male. Now consider my situation in an intersectional context – what if I were coloured, female, LGBTQIA, on top of my issues? That I will leave you, good reader, to ponder.
End of rant. You may enjoy this article A History of Disability: from 1050 to the Present Day, if you want something less ranty. (Thanks to @starrysez for the link.)
More BADD goodness available at Diary of a Goldfish. (Kudos to her, and Mister Goldfish, for keeping this thing going.)