Three things happened this week which have all combined to inspire this blog post. (Don’t worry Roger – you are not getting rid of me yet.)
All three things got me thinking about how people like me can end up losing out when it comes to things like applying for jobs, etc, because of some of the known and unknown rules of applying for jobs, attending job interviews, etc.
I saw an article on one of the Social Media sites which intrigued me. It was about unusual questions which the Chiefs of certain companies would ask candidates in job interviews.
One Chief would ask the following question – “Why wouldn’t I employ you?”.
This question is the one which always comes into my mind every time I am in contact with someone with regards to possible projects, collaborations, etc. And it was always the first one in my brain when I went for job interviews (but actually phrased as “why wouldn’t I want to work here?”).
Before you accuse me of going into situations where I could get work (in whatever form, paid or unpaid) with such a negative attitude that would not get me a job even if I was the last job seeker on Earth – I have to point something out to you. Employment actually involves more costs than just financial. The costs can be to both of your physical health, both of your mental health, both of your emotional health. And that is before you add in the so-called “reasonable adjustments” which may need to be made in order for someone like me to work in your building.
In some cases in previous job interviews my reply to the above question would have been “Because employing me would cost us both more than either of us are honestly prepared to pay – and I don’t mean financially either”.
I am not the sort of person to keep quiet when I don’t like something. I am certainly not going to sit in silence when I see people sitting in judgement over people doing things which the people doing the judging haven’t bothered to understand the reasons behind.
This brings me to the second thing which inspired this blog post. Someone put a tweet on Twitter about overuse of exclamation marks. I saw red when I read that one. In one respect you could say I am one of the most guilty people when it comes to overuse of exclamation marks in writing. This is usually limited to tweets, texts, and WhatsApp messages though. The reason? Because texts, tweets, and WhatsApp messages are usually typed on an app which helpfully (note the sarcasm) reduces the size of the typing area of the screen where the words appear so much that a full stop can be rendered virtually invisible for me. So tweets, text messages, and WhatsApp messages will be sent which contain one exclamation mark to signal the end of a sentence and more than one exclamation mark if I want to emphasise a point. Blame my sight for that if you want to!!!
The third thing which inspired this blog post was me almost collapsing into a heap on Wednesday evening. More to the point – one of the reasons behind why I nearly collapsed into a heap. The cause can most simply be described as low blood pressure due to insufficient consumption of fluids during two hour wait before being called into the Chemo suite as well as insufficient consumption of fluids during Chemo treatment itself.
But Ineke? I thought this was supposed to be about it taking bravery to employ someone like you??? Your employer cannot be held responsible for your insufficient consumption of fluid during your working hours.
Oh yes they can in certain circumstances and Wednesday provides a perfect example. If the layout of the Chemo Suite waiting area and the Chemo Suite itself were what I found in a building where I was supposed to be interviewed for a job I would walk straight back out (even before I got to the reception desk) never to be seen again.
I may never have been a nurse but I have worked in an office where my job included welcoming visitors and making sure they were adequately watered with the drinks of their choice.
As a result I am the kind of person who takes notice of the location of things like reception desks (preferably staffed with humans) and drinks machines (even a sink with a kettle, and the makings of tea and coffee will be a helpful minimum) so I can keep myself watered if need be without having to annoy the receptionist.
All I can say is – at least the waiting area for the Chemo Suite has got chairs in it – and it is in a reasonably busy location (being opposite the lifts). What it has not got is either a Receptionist (they are inside the Chemo suite so you have to go in – hand your chemo diary in – and go back out into the waiting area) or a drinks machine. Which means you either have to take your own drinks or you have to go into the Chemo suite to get a drink and go back into the waiting area. This is all very well until you start to have a dizzy spell and you need a drink ASAP. There is *no way* of alerting anybody in a situation like that – there is no nurse call button anywhere in the waiting area for the Chemo suite. Either you have to annoy a stranger to get you a drink or you have to do what I did and stagger into the Chemo suite, get a drink and stagger out again (hoping you don’t collapse on the way).
I have seen some companies which are set up in an alarmingly similar way. You are either left standing outside speaking into an intercom before you are let in (if you are lucky a human will materialise who can direct you to where you are supposed to be) or you are left in a lobby-type area with a phone and instructions on how to get assistance using said phone in a font I probably need a microscope to read.
Not only do first impressions of people count but first impressions of buildings also count. Especially when it comes to someone like me assessing the likelihood of you making any changes which I may require in order for me to comfortably work in your company. Let’s just say that if I need either a torch or a welder’s visor (to block out the blinding illuminations from your lighting conditions) I will *definitely* consider it to be too expensive for you to employ me.
I want to leave you with one final thought which is indirectly linked to the complaint I found on Twitter.
The way most people would get their first impressions of a company nowadays is by either looking at their Social Media presence or their website. Both of these can make or break a company. Given a choice I would prefer to work for an organisation which allows people to have their own personal Social Media accounts instead of just having a corporate account. Some companies appear to forget they employ individuals who all have their different ways of interacting with people. Personally, I look for “Quirkers” like me to interact with.
The other first impression is via the corporate website. I have seen some amazing ones – easy for someone with my sight problem to read and use – and some truly horrific ones. One was so bad that I actually didn’t care that I lost the job because I complained about it in the job interview. Being informed that it had won awards and therefore the company was not going to change it (by the way I wasn’t the “target audience” for it – even though I attempted to use it to research the company prior to the interview) almost got them reported to the RNIB. The very same RNIB which I doubt was anywhere near the panel who did the judging for the awards.
Be wary of judging people based on what you think you know about them. They may totally surprise you by turning out completely different to how they appear on first sight (either in real life or on Social Media). You may be missing out on a fantastic find if you keep going for the cheapest (as in effort you may need to put in to ensure they can function to their full potential in your company) options all the time.