Disability and Graduate Job Hunting | Robbie Crow

I’m blind. Not completely, but I’m registered blind. I have been since birth and there’s no chance of fixing it. During my life I’ve faced many challenges, most of which I’ve overcome.

Nevertheless, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a blind person is find a job. Why? Of course, I face the ‘standard’ problems that recent graduates with sight face, such as a saturated job market with a plethora of graduates competing against each other, but I think there’s something more. I believe that any impairment, not just visual impairment, is a barrier to employment – but only because disabled people don’t know how to talk positively about their impairment. I’m a fairly confident blindy but even I struggled.The biggest problem is judgemental employers. The advent of Auntie Facebook, Uncle Google, and cousin LinkedIn has meant that employers, now more than ever, find it easy to ‘research’ interviewees. They shouldn’t, and none will admit to it, but they do.

Firstly, we’ve been problem solving and independently thinking since we were little. From getting on the wrong bus or train (or plane – don’t ask) and getting lost or being given print that’s too small to read at school, we’ve had to figure out the best way to turn that situation around rather quickly. We (nearly) always succeed – because we have to. Working independently is our jam, too. Often we work in ways which are magical and mythical to others – how do we avoid those lampposts? How do we know how far away that car is?

What I’ve learnt since leaving university is that being disabled isn’t a barrier to working. Having a bad attitude with your impairment is. If you treat disability right, it can be advantageous to your situation but only if you have the right mindset. Be the writer of your own future, don’t be the reader.

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