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Your self-directed employment assistant

This month we will continue to highlight from a topic heading from our archive of Digital Employment Tips which you will find on our website. These topics range from Application, Attitude, Cover Letter/Resume, Disability Issues, Interview, Networking, and Work Experience. For this entry I will be discussing from the second to last section from the topic heading Attitude, specifically Educate Others—after all, we are the best teachers to inform others on what we need to be the most successful at our jobs, among other things.

As people in the workforce, it’s imperative for our livelihood and prosperity that we do the best we can to place ourselves in situations and conditions that will only positively contribute to our job performance. When said individual happens to have a disability, it is even more important that they speak up and vouch for themselves and what works best for them. I am a disabled woman and can confidently say that the majority of my success at my jobs has been because of my willingness to educate others around me on what works the best for me. For example, when my coworkers or supervisor addresses me in conversation or while giving directions, I appreciate when they are looking me in the eye—either standing back a bit or kneeling down to be at my level. This is a simple request but demonstrates that they see me as a peer, whereas towering over me could come across as demeaning or patronizing. Another very simple request I make at work is to have objects that I need to use be either handed to me or placed at a level where I can easily reach them. This allows me to be self-sufficient and independent while going about my tasks. Possibly the most important aspect of my educating others at my job is that they can transfer what I teach them and apply it to other situations when interacting with patrons who will pass through our workplace. If they encounter an individual with a disability who is in a wheelchair—for example—they will know that it’s best to treat the person with respect by interacting with them at eye level or a comfortable distance so they don’t feel disrespected or patronized. That is the beauty of educating others—it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

It may seem intimidating to express your needs and what works best for you, but just remember that everyone has their preferences—you are not alone! Chances are that your coworkers or supervisors will be more than happy to listen to your requests as they want you to succeed as much as you do. If this topic is one you’d like to read more about, take a look at this helpful article that details tactics for asking for what you need at work. As always, be sure to check out our informative Digital Tip on this topic, too. Until next month, I hope all of you enjoy the snowy weather and take advantage of the beauty of winter. See you in March!

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Comment by Great Lakes ADA Center on February 5, 2018 at 12:42pm

Educate Others

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