(Posting Date: September 2014)
The last time I updated my blog journey, (life journey) was in May 2013. I’ve been blogging pretty regularly now for 14 months. I have also been job-hunting for permanent work for about the same amount of time.
Have I found my corporate dream job?
I almost had a job. It would have been a lovely communications specialist job. I received the formal offer, thanked the hiring manager, and at that time I told the hiring manager about my need for reasonable accommodations. According to federal laws and the ADA, I’m only required to say anything about my need for accommodations after I get the offer. At first the hiring manager said it shouldn’t be a problem, but he stated that he wanted to confer with his management team, just to see what they would need to do to make the accommodations happen. About an hour later I received a phone call from the hiring manager. He claimed there was no way they could accommodate me and took back the job offer.
DEVASTATION ♦ FRUSTRATION ♦ SORROW
I tried to explain to the hiring manager that my needs were minimal, inexpensive, and would not interfere with routine operations. Unfortunately, the hiring manager and management team had their minds made up. I have since filed an official complaint with the government, but I’m not sure if much good will come of it.
So where am I now?
I cannot definitively say that my need for reasonable accommodations has been the only reason that I’ve not received employment. Only about half of the organizations who interviewed me knew about my disability, since I had to use adaptive technology for on-site editing/writing tests, and for those interviews I had to explain why I needed the equipment I had brought with me. Practically every hiring manager said that it would not be an issue and that they would adhere to ADA laws. All of the staffing agency recruiters said the same thing, but I noticed that recruiters would call me out of the blue, because my credentials matched a potential job, but after I told them about my need for accommodations, (since they would have to sell me to their clients), I never received callbacks. Coincidence? Possibly.
My need for reasonable accommodations is an obstacle, but it’s NOT an insurmountable obstacle, since I’m able to accommodate myself quite easily with an ergonomic desk setup, dictation software, and a joystick style mouse. Nevertheless, I know that it affects the decision to hire me.
There’s also the fact that I have a freelance background. Many employers have negative views of freelancers, as I explain in this post, so I often have to show potential employers that I am dedicated, hard-working, and absolutely not a flake in any way, shape, or form.
Bottom line – the combination of my disability and my freelance background might be hindering me from finding permanent employment. I know it’s not my credentials or my resume, since I have received so many callbacks and interviews. According to the mock interviews I’ve gone through with staffing agency recruiters, I am told that I hold myself well and that I possess a strong aptitude to answer questions appropriately, so I don’t believe I am failing at the interview process. I am competing against people who have a similar background, and perhaps their backgrounds are better than my own. The market is competitive, hiring managers are subjective, and there are too many variables for me to consider.
Current Plan of Attack
Although I’m still sending out job applications for a permanent position, I have decided to focus most of my efforts on freelance work. Like everyone else, I need a regular income, and my freelance clients don’t care about my disability. All they care about is whether I can do the job.
This time, however, I’m doing freelance differently than I have ever done it before.
In the past, I really only did freelance part-time. I was going to school, so I couldn’t work full-time. I was also married, and my spouse earned the bulk of the income. Fourteen months ago, when I decided to look for full-time work in a corporate setting, it was because I had finished school and because I had gone through a divorce, so I had to support myself. I did not think I could really make a living with just freelance. Plus, I was scared of the instability. So much had changed in my life in a matter of months, so the idea of working with one company seemed like the stability I thought I needed. I was wrong, though. I did not know what I could do with freelance, because I had never really dedicated myself to the full range of possibilities within freelance.
Over the past six weeks, I have gone through a crash course as I have learned about the current practices in freelance. There are so many possibilities, and I feel overwhelmed, scared, but exhilarated all the same!!! In the past two weeks I have tried new approaches with potential clients, approaches I would NEVER have done previously, but what do I have to lose, right? The fact that these approaches worked blew my mind away. This experience has opened my eyes to how much I can do as a freelance writer, journalist, and fiction author.
There are so many opportunities out there, and I mean opportunities that can result in serious money! You do have to work harder to find these opportunities, and it can be frightening to put yourself out there, but it really does work.
At this point in my blog/life journey, I’m embracing my dreams to be a writer by not letting obstacles get in my way. Yes – I will have to deal with other obstacles of self-employment, but right now I’m getting a paycheck, I’m doing what I love, and I have the chance to keep getting better.
This is why people do freelance. This is why people run their own businesses.