Will work ethic and a plan get you anywhere you want in the galaxy?

My Exploitative employers vs. lazy employees piece prompted someone to comment in private that there is a catch: Just because
some disabled people are good enough to compete with able bodied workers does not mean that everybody can.

My position is that as long as someone has enough of work ethic, he (or she) can always find something to do, which other people would not do. They might learn faster to do his job and eventually do it better than him, but they are busy with some other job, and do not have the time to master his job. So eventually he gains experience and does the job better than anyone, who might try to replace him after only a brief training.

However, there is a real problem: people with disabilities often get stuck with dead-end jobs, with no built-in career path or prospects for promotion to a better-paying job. What can someone, who knows to work, do then?

  1. Set aside time for his own advancement by ensuring that his current job does not demand more than a normal workday per day.
  2. Form an idea what kind of job and income he wants.
  3. At his free time, study something, which may help him do his dream job.
  4. Volunteer for tasks in either his workplace or for a nonprofit serving his community. The tasks are to be such that they demonstrate his ability to handle a more responsible position. Of course, he needs to perform those tasks well.
  5. Be willing to do some tasks, which are within his ability to do, and which other people hate to do.
  6. Be familiar with the political situation in his workplace.
  7. Establish a network of contacts who will tell him about job openings in other places. Even if he does not switch places, the information will put him at better bargaining position at his current place of employment.

Of course, people do not learn on their own the above advice. How do we reach out to the people with disabilities, who are desperate, are unemployed and do not know how to work and how to make work get them the kind of satisfaction from life that they deserve? How do we point out successful role models to them?

This problem is complicated by the fact that a specific plan, which works for someone, would not work for someone else. Each person needs his own plan, but not everyone seems to be able to plan ahead on his own.

Author: Omer Zak

I am deaf since birth. I played with big computers which eat punched cards and spew out printouts since age 12. Ever since they became available, I work and play with desktop size computers which eat keyboard keypresses and spew out display pixels. Among other things, I developed software which helped the deaf in Israel use the telephone network, by means of home computers equipped with modems. Several years later, I developed Hebrew localizations for some cellular phones, which helped the deaf in Israel utilize the cellular phone networks. I am interested in entrepreneurship, Science Fiction and making the world more accessible to people with disabilities.