Here is My Own Personal Advice from My Own Experience as a Visually Impaired Employee:
From Ginger Robertson
- When you feel complacency coming on in your job, reread your work tips,pray and examine if this really is the job for you and act accordingly, as well astake that all important r&r time to get you back in the right frame of mind.
- When or if you do land a new job, show respect to employer you are leaving by giving two weeks notice in writing. No matter how you may feel, be professional in your letter of resignation—not belittling current employer you are leaving.
- Remember that every job you accept has good and some challenge in it. There is no escaping this fact of life.
- When responding to others during a challenge situation, no matter how you may feel about the person, choose and think very hard about the words you use so as not to be misconstrued.
- Documentation can be your best friend—so document issues that occur.In this way, if an adverse action is attempted on you, you can have proof of what was said and done—thus being able to adequately make the argument against adversity. It may seem like effort, but you will feel better doing it and it helps keep you and others accountable.
- Never, ever assume anything.In work as in life, this brings nothing but trouble.Thus, ask for clarification to be sure you are doing things the way supervisory staff want—even if it does not make sense.Just do as you are told and document everything when necessary.
- Network, network, network with family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and using the Internet (if you have computer access).If no computer access, seek assistance from schools, libraries, family, friends, career centers, etc).
- Read books and other literature and/or listen to information or watch DVD/videos on getting and retaining a job.
- Don’t, absolutely do not, wear your “grubbiest grubs” to an interview or on the job itself.Instead, dress appropriately for the job and for the interview.
- Remember that first impressions are everything to an employer.
- If you have a disability, seek assistance in locating employment from those people and organizations that can educate and advocate for you working in society.
- Be on time for interviews, your job, and trainings.
- Do not overdo your makeup and jewelry on an interview or job itself.
- When answering questions, always stay positive in your approach—even when dealing with a challenge.
- Create a good resume, cover-Letter, Why Hire Notice and have references ready for the interview. (Tips on this can be found from the Internet, in books, friends, colleagues, and, last but not least, your family).
- Research thoroughly the company you want to work for and indicate to the prospective employer that you have done this.
- Get to the interview at least 10 minutes early and collect your thoughts.
- Do not overkill on your disability issues with the prospective employer.
- Send a nice but concise Thank-You letter immediately following the interview.(Follow up in two-three weeks if you have not heard anything.This keeps your name in front of the prospective employer and shows them you are still interested in the job).
- Keep blank copies of forms used for time and leave forms—able to show a future employer how forms were made accessible.
- Make Braille labels, (using special labeling paper), for mail slots and special folders for mail distribution.
- Create several desk guides, (one for each job you have been in), to assist in handling situations that come up.
- Making a paper gage (out of sleeves for brochures) to use for telling you where a blank spot on brochure was so labels could be placed.In addition, creating a straight edge out of cardboard for insuring labels are placed straight as possible on large envelopes.For small brochures requiring a sticker to hold the brochure shut, create a template out of two pieces of cardboard and put pieces together with masking tape. The cardboard should have a big enough notch cut out for the sticky for the brochure closure and a notch cut for where the recipient label must go as well.
- Creating a “Work Bible” that lists pertinent information that anyone can do to keep themselves in check with general workplace protocol.(We all can slip from time to time; this keeps you always in check).
- Filing information (created file folders with labels, made a desk file showing the files in the cabinet and shared with supervisor, organized information in the folders (placing any handwritten or hard to read information on top so supervisor would see what the scanner would not scan), and purged when appropriate necessary information from files.
- Using an AIO (All In One) Printer to read materials, instead of a more expensive special scanner that is tailored for the visually impaired.(Note more expensive scanner, cost employer more to meet accessible
accommodation and did not really do much better at reading the scanned material, than less expensive AIO Printer/fax/Scanner/Copier would do).(Note that if materials were hard to read or handwritten, items are given to your supervisor to assist you with unreadable material.
- Make notes for copying documents, as every copier is different.Labeled the main parts of the copier, using special labeling paper.
- Share special resources (APH or American Printing House for the Blind) with your supervisor in case special supplies were needed.
- Stack multi-copied documents in a cross looking style on desk so you will know when each set ends. (Then, you would place individual copies of work in folders).
- Use paper clips and or clamps to group different sets of labels together. (Groups of return labels for the same company held together with a metal clamp, while groups of all the recipient addressees grouped using a large paper clip) This made it possible to do massive mailings.
- Work with your supervisor to create necessary forms to do your job independently –PR (Purchase Requisition) form and/or an I&R (Information Referral) form. (Before these were created, they either were not done via the computer or were not done with accessibility for screen reading software in mind).
- Create memos and letters and sent these per supervisor approval in various jobs held.
- Save blank copies of Label sheets to insure right label size used the right one for the right labeling job. (From these, make labels for various companies we send mail to).
- In dealing with training classes where you will be learning a software program, see if you can get into one that is tailored for a visually impaired user—that is if you are a person with a visual disability. Classes where a person with visual impairment attends that is not using a computer to learn software can be accommodated for by allowing the person to get materials ahead of time or making the materials accessible so the person with visual disability can actively participate in class
discussion. An example of such a class would be a business communication/filing/writing course.
- Seek insight from other agencies that work with people that have a disability when you need assistance on ways you could better be independent on a job and/or to assist you in assisting your supervisor in dealing with an issue—(purchasing of equipment for instance).