I like the above photo. It illustrates perfectly where I am personally in my career and where many people with disabilities find themselves. If you have ever run a race with hurdles (I admit, I have not, only watched), you know that the starting line is a bit of a distance from the starting line. Runners have to have a momentum to jump the first hurdle. Many people with disabilities are able to begin the work race with everyone else. We will get that entry-level (often way below our qualifications) position but; if we dare to try to move forward like our able-bodied counterparts hurdles are thrown in our way. I am also learning that despite the existence of laws that are supposed to remove the hurdles, they are often left there and immovable. Society is fine with this status quo. I am not, and over the last week anger has boiled up inside of me. This anger turned quickly into bitterness and frustration.
I am not saying that this problem is not still bothering me or affecting me personally; because it is. I decided this morning, however, to put aside my bitterness about the problem. First of all, I read a scripture verse today that stifled my anger and actually brought me some laughter when I thought on it:
For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. (Psalm 50:10-12)
You see, society is going to make their barriers. The medical model of disability still dominates the societal mindset. People are going to constantly see me as incapable and not worthy of positions that match my qualifications. BUT, my God, He owns everything. So, the world can take the ability, discriminatory practices and go somewhere. My God will fulfill His purposes in me, no matter how people and society try to stop Him. Trying to stop the Unstoppable…useless. I’ve tried!
I have decided to do what I do best with my frustration and anger. Research. (I know I’m a dork, established fact.) I am going to research to find out how to solve this workplace discrimination issue. I have a few places to start from. This will take a while, but there has to be things that people with disabilities and employers can do to change this situation. Some research has been done already, but I was never told what to do as individuals with a disability to get past the hurdles in the workplace. Hell, I was barely warned about them. When I was told they existed, I was led to believe because I got my degrees, did my internships and had mentors that these things would remove the hurdles. Reality check: they didn’t. I thought maybe I had done something wrong. Maybe it was me, I screwed up somehow, and that is why I am stuck. But, the more I talk to others, and the more I research; the more I realize It’s not me. I’m not alone.
I also took the month of January off from the job search. Well, it’s February, I’m going back into the job search full swing. Apparently, hard work and loyalty mean little to my current job so I am tired of giving them what they could care less for.