June 12th, 1999


update on job application

I did not get my dream job. There is a part of me--the part of me that believes God has a specific place in mind for me to be--that feels a peace about it. There is another part of me that feels very hurt and angry. The superintendent happened to let it slip that he didn't think the other applicant was proficient in braille. This alone would have made her less qualified for the job. Both of us were visually impaired, but she apparently has more vision if she isn't using braille. Such a big deal was made about keeping the child from tripping or getting hurt on the playground that I'm almost convinced these are the likely reasons I was not hired.

Having grown up a blind child, I think it's absurd to have an aide following the child around making sure he doesn't trip or get hit by a swing. The aide's responsibility should be making sure the child has what is needed to participate fully in the school setting. Safety of the visually impaired child should be the concern of whoever is responsible for all other children's safety. But how do you say that nicely?

And when both applicants are visually impaired, there's no way to prove discrimination, which is what a part of me wants. Going through that interview and holding myself together was very difficult, to put it kindly. Not only was I asked the standard interview questions, but I was also asked the questions about how I would do this and that which nondisabled people never have to answer because performing those functions is an automatically assumed ability. Never mind that a sighted aide could have her eyes turned away from the child for one moment and something could happen. Oh, and the fact that the pay was low was heavily emphasized without my having to ask. Perhaps this was done because the current aide is leaving because of the low pay. Perhaps it was done as a subtle deterrent. Yes, I know that is paranoid thinking. I don't care. I'm venting.

In rehab and job training for people with disabilities they teach you how to talk to your employer about your disability. I can talk like the best of them. They don't teach you how to cope withconstantly feeling like you have to give twice as much as your peers to get anything near what they have. They don't teach you how to cope with always feeling like something beyond your control is keeping you from anywhere in life and you'll never ever get rid of it. They don't teach you how to cope with always feeling confronted but being required to cheerfully answer whatever questions people have and assume they're asking because the information is necessary and not because they doubt your abilities. (Yes, I looked into the legality of the questions, and they're legal.)

They don't teach you how to do what they tell you to do: just get up and try again and again and again. If you keep going to the water bowl and it's always dry, eventually you're going to stop going. Even if after a time of rest you try again, it doesn't take too long to figure out there isn't going to be any water there.

As I said, there are parts of me that feel peaceful about this, and perhaps when I'm in a better frame of mind I will feel better. I'm sure that I'll will go running back to the water bowl eventually. It's just very hard. This was my dream job, and in spite of trying not to, I got my hopes up so high. That in itself is a big part of all my problems. I don't know how to want something but hope for nothing. I don't know how to just go and check the water bowl. When I check it, I expect to find water, andI've set myself up for a lot of disappointments that way.

[Edit: The other applicant was not visually impaired. She was sighted but wore glasses.]

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