Job Searching When You're Disabled - Employable Me Series 2
On the 27th of November and 4th of December, series two of "Employable Me" will be airing on BBC Two. Until now, I have not been able to say anything but keep your eyes peeled as I am a member of the series!
In January 2017, I responded to an ad looking for participants for the second series of Employable Me, which was aired in 2016. The series explored the difficulties faced by those with disabilities while looking for work and it followed a number of individuals, mostly with neuro-diversity.
Now back for a second series, they wanted to explore a more diverse group of individuals with a range of disabilities. After some initial filming, they decided that I would be a valid member of the series and invited me to go to some employment workshops with experts, to learn vital job-seeking skills. I was introduced to a lovely and talented lady, Nancy Doyle, a neurodiversity and employment specialist.
We had mock interviews, CV workshops and had the time to work with some specialists in the field to improve our chances of gaining a position within a company. Although I felt my CV was very strong, it was great to meet the other members of the programme and be part of the whole filming and series experience. The other individuals had a range of skills and interests but one thing is for sure - they definitely are employable. I won't ruin the series for you but there are some real characters with some very unique sector interests and you'll have to watch on Monday to find out.
The series gave me the confidence to know/find my skill-set and within weeks of filming, I managed to secure a position. A position that was extremely supportive of my disability and was able to open their eyes to the opportunities that a disabled worker opens. Not only am I a very open and accepting person, my disability has given me perseverance and drive that is not always present in my able-bodied peers.
Growing up with my disability, I always assumed that I would need to have a position that mostly desk-based in order to protect my foot. Having always loved maths and numbers, I thought that perusing a career in the financial services would enable me the funds to enjoy life. Since my trip on the Camino de Santiago, I came to realise that there is so much more to life than money and it is essential for me to enjoy every moment of life, as it is so sacred.
I suppose for individuals that develop a disability, it must be very difficult to think that their opportunities for work are limited however that is really not the case at all. I am in a strange position, as I have become more and more able-bodied in the last year and the concept of being behind a desk all day is not one that I want to be a reality. Realistically, I would not be able to work 9-5, Monday-Friday, in a building site but there are so many positions that are available to those with disabilities.
My advice is to not limit yourself. Never assume that a position is not suitable because of your disability. Instead, look at your abilities and be able to twist your disability into almost your superpower. What does your disability make you? Strong-minded? Determined? Focused?
Allow yourself to accept your advantages and be prepared to shout them out in an interview. If your disability is fairly visible, accept it, embrace it and show what you can do instead of what you aren't able to do.
If you're an employer, please don't limit your employee. Allow them to progress and give them the opportunities to broaden their abilities.
From Feb/March 2018, I will be moving on from my current position and will be moving back to my full-time training requirements. I will be visiting schools, colleges and organisations to give talks and motivational speeches so please get in contact if you would like me to come and visit you!
Take a look at the series and let me know your feedback. I'm looking forward to seeing how they pulled together the sessions into a series and seeing how the other members have succeeded.