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That was my experience as well Jayde, indeed I now regard my time at university as a very welcome, if unforeseen period of complete social acceptance in my life, which was very nice. Actually, one highly qualified councillor I met once said university as an environment is entirely different to anywhere else in life since you have a hole bunch of people from completely different backgrounds and usually different economic brackets, taken entirely  out of their home context and united only by a mostly common goal which all on average desire to achieve makes a major difference in the level of social acceptance.

I don't know how it is in the states, but over here unfortunately most blind people who are employed tend to be employed in jobs directly to do with blindness, particularly I'm sorry to say social work, working for local councils or societies for the blind etc.

Indeed, when my mum qualified back in the early seventies from a pretty horrible special school she was literally told "typing, telephony, physiotherapy or social work" as her only four possible career choices.

Still hopefully things have moved on there or are different in the states, good luck either way.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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@Dark: I agree with your post re: critical thinking. There seems to be a misconception here that education is nothing but recital, when that is far, far from the truth, where it's not accurate even one percent.

Anyway, I wanted to write thanks for clearing up this part and sharing your knowledge through experience. Before I end up injecting my own opinions into this thread (it's not time to do that yet,) I'll be gone again. smile

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A lot of education is recital though until you get to the college (university) level. Really, most of what you learn in k-12 is basically learning to learn so that you can get to college and succeed there. For example, you should already know how to take notes, how to study in a way that works for you, how to get help should you need it, how to look up things in the library, and so on. Yes there are useful things that you learn from school, but a lot of it is forgotten. I know I don't remember all of the stuff I learned in school, and I'd be willing to bet a lot of other people don't who've been out of school a while.

Once you get there, its sort of hands off, you are responsible for your education. If you're not understanding something, its your responsibility to make an appointment to meet with your academic adviser to find you a tutor. If there's a concern related to accessibility or something to do with your disability, its your responsibility to meet with whoever handles that on your campus, some larger colleges have a disability office, smaller ones usually don't, but there is someone you can talk to. Also, not just state your concerns and get a response, but advocate for yourself as well. You've got to speak up if they suggest something that doesn't work for you. Sighted people think they know what it means to be blind, or they have this notion that blindness is a category of problems, each one having one and only one solution, they have no clue in other words. Basically it just boils down to you're the one now who is handling your education.

I'm a cat! What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine to :P XD

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@Thanks Munawar glad you found that sort of useful. To say the school was a total shithole we did have a very nice history teacher, and other schools I went to were far nicer than that.

@Ironcross, I won't disagree that there are times when education can! basically default to regurgitation, but this depends upon a lot of factors, including the teacher, the school, and yes if I am going to be brutally honest, also the willingness and ability of the student as well.

One irony for me at the moment, is that I look at people's comments concerning university, remember my own degree and am sort of amused, since basically having a first year where someone gives you a reading list, where someone sits at the front of the lecture and gives you an overview of the subject seems like heaven to me right now.

this is also I'm afraid where my statement about effort comes in, since believe me, most sighted graduates will pick a book off the shelf (or from google), skim read it in scarcely a minute reading one or two words, decide if it is useful then either chuck it back, or read it more completely. Indeed, one job my research assistant has had to do for me is occasionally pull out a  and skip through, reading passages, or the abstracts of articles, and no, scanning will not! help you with this, not with the shear amount of stuff you need to get through at uni, especially when your learning your way around, making friends, having to advocate for yourself and so on.

its also worth remembering though, that sighted students do not! need to advocate for themselves, they do not need to go and ask a lecturer to stop writing on the board, or request that someone present them with a readable exam paper, or have to hold someone's arm to go to the matriculation ceremony because its in a building you've not visited before.

Of course all of these are things one needs! to do and needs to learn to do, but pretending that the experience of a blind person who needs to do these things is the same as a sighted person who doesn't is purely incorrect.

Likewise I would fully agree that a blind person mostly can do anything that a sighted person can, however it will take significantly longer and take significantly more trouble.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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Hello.


I chews to live off of disability money and am happy doing so. I honestly can't see any other way forward for me. That isn't to say I'm lazy, far from it.


i'm not the fittest of people but I can travel using my cane, read braille (although i'm not good at spellings,,) and can use computers very well and pick up screen readers very fast.


If there was a job where I could put fruit and veg in a juicer, for about 5 hours a day, I'd do it. If there was a shredding job, where I had to shred papers for 5 hours a day, i'd do it. So what I think I'm getting at is I like to work with my hands and do these kind of jobs because I can sit there and think about other things and it would help me to slow my mind down too. I hope this makes sense but unfortunately as far as I know; these kind of jobs don't exist anymore.


As for schools for the blind, I agree that they're bad. I'm glad a lot of disabled people are going to mainstream these days.

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I think those jobs still exist. It's just that people look down on them so contemptuously that they try very hard to pretend that they don't. It's quite irritating. I think the explanation boils down to "classist bullcrap". That's peasant stuff, and you don't want to be a peasant, because that would mean we can't both acknowledge your existence and continue to pretend peasants don't exist outside of <hated political enemy>'s prison camps. ... Eeeeh, I might be a bit tired of getting "but you have a college degree!" as the response to my preference to do something physical over desk-servitude.

Some of my games
Keep up to date by following @Jeqofire on twitter!
Ear Ninja?

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A few things to add to this monumental topic.
First, old blind schools could have their issues, I was mostly mainstreamed back in the 90s but the model was new, schoolstook my funding for other things, etc.
Now I have people in the industry, the new type of blind school still exists well the old one exists still but its different.
Now while you do stay at the blind school you are mainstreamed as well as learning specialised training for blindness related skills.
At least in new zealand all blind schools which there is only 1 really and all resource centres, and other such things have banded together into a network for education of the blind.
To put it in a nutshell, we have a union.
The union manages funding for the blind, education for the blind, training for the blind and everyone goes to a blind school and it works.
You do eventually enter the mainstream to.
However you get more support and if someone say your local school decides to do something with funds and other support services or something you don't like or have issues with you tell the union and thy sit on them for you.
So we have a voice in education which is good because that didn't happen, the battles I and my family had with schools where I should be what I can do, what money should I have, what rules for exams and the like needed adjusting just don't happen.
Like any union while you are monitered and supported you are not baby sat, you will to some extent need to tell your union case manager or teacher that you have a problem and they will handle that problem.
I needed that union back in the day as a lot of the issues I had with mainstreaming and lack of some skills just don't exist, well can't happen easily, combined that with the special training at a blind resource centre and the approach is a lot better.
I found that out in university actually funnily enough.
If you need something you ask the resource centre, if you need reading or other aids you ask and get them.
If you have a problem the resource centre sorts it out.
This includes leasing with council about roads in the reagon to cross, or the trimming of trees along your path so its easier to navigate.
On the other side if a lecturer has a problem and because you are blind can not teach you because they have no idea, they can contact the centre and they will send someone to help with the spaciffic problem.
That includes equipment or to tell how things are done.
There is a union there to, no one actually had any issues with me and a few that did simply told me that they had issues teaching me because I was blind, and got someone to talk them through it.
You did get monitered to, sometimes there would be a problem or something but usually it was resolved.
In one situation I was working on a class, but was barely passing due to visual component.
The current course material was being redone in house and the old one was on the way out.
Because I was doing a visual thing which was hard enough for me to get, and pass exactly, they thought the best way were to simply fail me, and at the same time revise their material with accessibility built in so when I redid the course, I used that material and did much better.
University was actually my happiest time of my life to date.
True I never did more than classes and true I went home at the end of that.
Blind schools as they used to be probably had their fair share of issues but if you get passed in a blind school at least you complete things without any issue, ofcause that support needs to continue and while we are a lot better here in this reguard there are still things to improve.

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The problem these days with physical unskilled jobs, is that red tape and production line thinking have essentially turned them into jobs that require just the minimal amount of thought so that you cannot multitask while doing them, and yet not enough thought to actually raise them over the level of mental drudgery.

A friend of mine for example once took a low paid temporary job feeding files into a filing system (a friend interestingly enough with in fact two degrees), he said this was absolutely fine so long as he could listen to music or an audiobook while doing it, however then, firstly the company introduced a safety policy which dictated that nobody was allowed to listen to external devices, and secondly an added component whereby each file had to have a correctly written up title page and stamp before being systematically fed into the auto filing machine.

never mind that the auto filing machine would place the files in the correct box with the title and stamp and information written on it. This meant where previously a job which could have been done on auto pilot became utter drudgery.

Similarly, another friend of mine (who also  two degrees and a masters in English language), once worked in McDonalds kitchines. She said that the actual kitchin work, the business of flipping burgers onto a grill and working out  cooking times was absolutely fine and she could read while doing it, the problem was that McDonalds also dictated that people in the kitchins also had to sign for and fill out a receipt for every meal including a time stamp for each burger committed. This level of bureaucracy again meant that a job which  have been automatic took just enough mental skill to be dull.

Of course, production line culture naturally promulgates bureaucracy, since the general way in which middle to higher level management positions show their so called initiative is  instituting systems on lower level workers which have very little to do with the work themselves, but which look good on paper, usually by generating more paper, unfortunately, said middle management types then get promoted, and everyone else has to cope with their so called "innovations" which effectively mean more work but less efficiency.

Yet another friend of mine once told me, after working as a data analyst for a hospital that her entire position was superfluous and she could write a program to actually do her job more efficiently (she had a degree in computer science).
Amusingly enough, said friend had to then quit the job due to extensive issues with mental illness, and is now herself doing a doctorate in literature big_smile.

This is why I personally tend to not regard so called "paid jobs"as ends in themselves unless they are jobs  which actually help people or have a tangible benefit to them, and why my own life is more structured around finding a vocation instead.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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I'm going to make a longer post later, but after eight years, and three jobs, I just want to say that I feel like if employers don't want to hire me, I have no problem taking their tax money.

thanks,
Michael

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As far as taking benefits from the government goes, I don't enjoy it either, not least because that money is going to dry up eventually, and most likely sooner rather than later. However, in my current situation, it seems like the lesser of two evils. I'd rather have something than nothing at all.

I also agree that floating through life without a purpose or direction is very mentally unhealthy. While I do have a goal, since it's pretty much unattainable, that only adds to my frustration. Unfortunately, the more you sit around doing the same things day after day, the less motivation you have to look for potential solutions, never mind the fact that when you think you've found a solution, there's no guarantee that it will work out, and getting your hopes up is a risk that isn't always worth taking. Add that to long-standing depression in my case, and that doesn't make for a generally fulfilling life.

The main reason I never went to college, as a few people have touched on in previous posts, was that I went to a school for the blind during my high school years, and I felt like I wasn't prepared to handle the workload. I had gone to a public school up until the end of ninth grade, and when I went to the school for the blind, the quality of the education they provided was basically a complete 180 from what I had experienced up to that point. By necessity, in public school I had to deal with everything alone, from trouble with bullying which no one took seriously, to finding creative ways to shove visual concepts in my head that no one could be bothered to try and explain. Mostly, that involved me avoiding a lot of work, or cheating, at least in math. Back in those days, you couldn't use calculators in school, it was strictly forbidden. So all I would have to do if I desperately needed to pass an assignment or test was use the calculator on my Braille Lite, but always make sure to deliberately get a couple of answers wrong so that no one would suspect. During my ninth grade year, when dealing with teachers who weren't comfortable with having a blind student, work that was becoming increasingly difficult, both because I didn't understand a lot of it, and because of my increasing depression around that time, and kids who wanted nothing to do with me, I would skip as many classes as I could, and sit in the library, where I would read or sleep or just sit staring into space. nobody ever confronted me about it because, I guess, they didn't want to bother the poor blind person, I don't know. The only reason I stopped doing that as because one day, I made the mistake of using the computer that was in the back of the library which was equipped with JAWS. That day, the person who Brailled my assignments and stuff caught me, and she made sure that I got suspended for 3 days. She wanted me to be punished more harshly than that, actually, but I just had to sit in a classroom for those few days and do a bunch of busy work with some of the other notorious troublemakers. Frankly, that was heaven. The work was easy, we all had no choice but to sit there and be quiet, and at least no one was either yelling, snickering at or making pointed efforts to ignore me.

Anyway, one thing that I knew, at least, was that I was receiving a normal workload. As much as I struggled to keep up with it, in hindsight I wish I could have made it work in public school, problems and all, because at the school for the blind we barely had to do anything. I get that for some people, especially those who had some cognitive challenges, or those who went to such a place their entire school careers, the work seemed hard to them. But for me, I could basically just snap my fingers and get it done. I remember one incident where my history teacher in tenth grade asked me to read a passage to the class. I proceeded to read at, what to me felt like a completely normal, even pace. After a few seconds, she yelled at me to slow down and that I wasn't being nice to the kids who couldn't read as fast. That's just one example of how I had to dumb myself down at that place, never mind that I can read over 200 words per minute in Braille, silently anyway. Cut that in half maybe for reading aloud, and I'm pretty sure that's a pace that most people who enjoy reading do read at. Because of that, I know that there's no way in hell I could have passed in college, I was at too great a disadvantage, and I doubt anyone would have been understanding of that. Everyone, even folks in this topic, always talks about the harsh realities of doing things on your own in college. If I could barely do that in public school, why in the world would I put myself through that stress again, knowing full well that I'd have nothing and no one to fall back on?

It's lucky that I've been interested in technology from a young age, because, in the IT field, certifications are what matter, and those don't require a college degree unless you want one. I've actually heard that having a certification or two under your belt can be more helpful in some cases than a degree, depending on which field you're going into, of course, although it also shows dedication and a willingness to learn outside the box.

I think there were other points in this plethora of posts that I wanted to comment on, but my educational experiences always derail me when they come up in conversation, so I can't remember exactly what they were now. In any case, this has been a fascinating read, and I look forward to seeing more responses.

The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It's just holding half the amount it can potentially hold.

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@Munawar:
Interestingly there's been a lot of feedback in this topic, but I don't think we'll see too much more discussion without another prompt. I'd be more than interested to hear about your own opinions, and perhaps they'll spark more conversation.

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. - Mark Twain

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First, I'd like to write: thanks everyone for being candid and sharing your thoughts on this topic! It's helped me to gain some awesome insight into the multitude of issues we all face.

Second, here's a summary of what I see, along with my opinions. Some of it will be rather harsh, so you've been warned.

  • One of the common issues I saw was lack of adequate transportation. It was mentioned on this thread that using Lyft or similar services to commute to a job would put people at a lower income than simply staying on SSDI. I agree with this sentiment and find it sad that in today's day and age, we still face transportation issues. I live in a city where public transportation is horrible, to the point where I can't use it to get anywhere useful, so am confined to Lyft, or getting a ride with a coworker who happens to live in my area. However, in this case, nowadays Lyft has a subscription plan which will end up saving you a lot of money in the long run, so you might want to check that out.

  • Some people mentioned not being supported by those around them. While I sympathize with you, my thoughts on this have always been that your best course of action is to find a way to break out of their care and make your own way in life. Not everyone will be supportive all the time, but there is always a way to give them the middle finger and decide that you won't be held back by them anymore. There was also discussion at this point of being too old with lack of experience which might serve as a roadblock to employment. The way the post was written though made it seem like this was mostly "probably" and not based on hard experience. So you might want to shop around for openings and, who knows, you might end up being rather surprised.

  • One disturbing post mentioned being told at a young age that no one will hire you because of your disability. I'm sorry you took that to heart and let it affect your dreams so much. No matter what you do, there will always be people who will tell you that you can't. If you listen to them, yes, you will get nowhere in life, and I hope one day you come to the point of saying "enough is enough" and defy their low expectations of you. Here, I can suggest not taking their views on face value, and actually trying your own hand at your goals. The worst thing anyone can possibly do to themselves is let other people cut them down to the point where it affects their success. Ultimately, the choice is yours to either listen to the naysayers or ignore them. They can say what they want to, it's up to you to act on it.

  • Not wanting to work a "typical 9-5" was another point I saw on this thread. I'd like to shed some light on this misconception that somehow office work is bad. Yes, it is harmful to success if one gets stuck permanently in a sort of office environment where their potentials are not exploited, but I believe that everyone has to start out somewhere. if you have to take that boring "desk job" as it was called here, why not? It reminded me of the recent college graduate mentality of "I have a degree, I deserve six figures, right away!" Nope, the world doesn't work like that. I did many low paid, mundane office jobs when I was a student, at times working 56 hours a week split between two jobs. I was also enrolled in university at this time in my life. And I kept at it. Eventually, I reached my goal, but it only came through hard work and sometimes accepting the short end of the stick. This is what you have to do in life: do that thing you hate. But what happens to a lot of people is that they get comfortable doing what they hate and don't aim higher.

    As for desk jobs being nothing but data entry and no innovation, again, here I disagree. If you resolve to be different, eventually you'll find where you belong. Not every office job is robotic. There are many companies doing innovative things; you only have to find them. So this is a misconception I wanted to address. It seems to stem from a stereotype and many people have taken it on face value, failing to try their own hand at a position that might sound appealing but that they're afraid to try because it "might be boring, judging by typical office work." Maybe it's time for you to stop taking others' advice and pave your own way. Actually, when I saw posts along these lines, I thought to myself that I hope you realize how lucky you are to be able to make that choice of "well, I won't like it, so I won't do it."

  • There is an overwhelming sentiment here that education is useless and only meant for you to repeat facts. On this point, I disagree. There are things that Google can't adequately teach you. Let's take programming, for example. Sure, performing a Google search of "delegates in C#" will turn up a wealth of results explaining events and delegates. But here's the interesting part. At the university level, unless you're going strictly for a programming degree, they won't teach you how to program. Instead, they teach you how to program better than you already do. The days of repeating facts are long gone, when a lecturer would lecture for an hour and expect the students to recite, verbatim, their lecture back to them. So I don't believe for one instant that this should be your excuse for not attending higher-level education. One of my greatest challenges was obtaining my Computer Science degree, and it was anything but repeating facts. I did so horribly at one point that I was put on academic probation. I seriously doubt a curriculum that required you to recite facts like a parrot would be this difficult.

    As for completing coursework that you probably won't use in the future, well, welcome to doing what you have to do to realize your goals. Many things in life will seem like a waste of time because you won't realize the benefits immediately, but this is life. I don't see this as a valid reason for tapping out. Indeed, I felt like many of my summers were "wasted" completing bullshit courses to get ahead in my degree, but I powered through them because I had a clear goal in mind, and knew that to reach that goal, I had to do a bunch of useless stuff along the way. If you're not willing to persist in your efforts and keep going even when the going gets tough, you probably won't end up realizing your goals.

  • Some people here have the "why should I?" attitude and are happy living day to day. I'm glad for you, that you have that option, and you should consider yourselves lucky for being able to make that choice of "well it's too much work to try, so whatever." I can tell you from experience that many of us don't have that option, and have to keep fighting no matter how tough it gets. We fail, try again, fail again, and try again, and the cycle continues. And for many of us, like myself, we'd have it no other way. Challenges are what make life so sweet to live. And for those of you who know my story, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

  • Finally, I was disappointed that no one seemed to address the question of people who aren't formally employed but are doing other things to realize their goals. Formal employment was only one part of this topic. I was hoping to gain some insight into things like why there aren't more well-known blind mainstream gamers like Liam; why there aren't more well-known blind singers in a world where the sighted community is still stuck on Ray Charles (we all know how much singing talent we have in the blind community); etc. One person comes to mind who talked about this point, and that's @Dark, who mentioned how he's been doing public readings of his poetry and all that. What about the rest of us? It seems like for many of us, we have that freedom to explore untapped talents, so why aren't we exploring them while we're receiving welfare?

I took a look at the poll numbers and was thrilled to see how many people listed themselves as students. I hope you succeed in whatever you decide to do after you earn your degree. One piece of advice I have for you is to never let anyone discount how hard you had to work to earn the degree and realize your ultimate goal, and know that I'm rooting for you.

So, I'm seeing a lot of "giving up before trying" here, but this isn't the only place I've seen such sentiment. Other places I've asked the same question, and gotten similar answers. "Well, people shouldn't have to do this or that... well, the system, the system, the system!" Now, for those of you who've tried and failed, at least you tried. But for those of you who are just going on others' experiences of failures, why not try your own hand at it? Who knows, maybe you can pave the way; make things just a little bit easier for those coming after you. I did. Today, my former university offers Braille as an accommodation because I got tired of failing courses due to lack of access and took matters into my own hands; I stopped accepting "we can't provide it" as an answer. You'd be surprised how fast things get done when there's the threat of a lawsuit in the air. smile Now, for any blind student who attends the university I went to, Braille is prominently listed as an accommodation. Hopefully, it'll make things easier for the next blind person going for a CS degree at my university.

And yes, I know this post is harsh, and some of you will no doubt criticize me heavily for it. Go ahead, call me "lucky" or say that "by coincidence, you 'made it' (whatever that means,)" (both of which have been said to me by people already, notwithstanding the actual struggle I went through to achieve what I wanted to,) but I'm writing this because I'm seeing a whole lot of selling oneself short on this thread, and I hope that you can begin to think a little differently by reading this.

It always saddens me when I see so many people discounting themselves because they simply think they can't.

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@62, you are absolutely correct. Reading this thread from start to finish (and keeping an eye on it as it grows) has brought me to similar conclusions. I'm not employed right now (mainly because I'm taking a summer class since it would conflict with a class I'm taking in college this upcoming year in August, or I'd need to pay another $6000.00 or so just to take one class, something I'm not going to do) so I wouldn't know where to stack a job. smile I did try getting employment at three computer stores; one of them gave me an interview (BestBuy) and the two I never got an indicator on my status for. (I got rejected for one reason or another, though  no reason was actually provided, for BestBuy that is.) I'm honestly happy I was rejected by them; the job was Inventory Specialist - 407701BR. And just the name sounded boring to me, not something I'd enjoy doing and get board with really, really quickly. (I tend to do that.) I'm not sure if I'll go job hunting while in university this year or after I transfer to Minot State University, or whether I'll go job hunting after I finish college. Who knows. I've found though that my college experience has been (very!) fulfilling, and the student services department (called TREO) is excellent. I disliked one of my teachers though -- he was an online IVN course teacher, and communicating with him was like sending data into a black hole. tongue I almost failed a class, falling into the trap of "Oh, I'm in college, I'm free!" and all that. I was quickly.... ahem.... disenthralled with that chimera. My teacher (for an online programming course) was nice enough though to give me time enough to finish all the assignments I was due. So, I'd say I'm doing good.
On the subject of whether I'll use SSI/SSDI all my life, the answer is no. I've already gotten pissed off at SSA simply because they won't give me the full amount I'm due (for some bullshit reason, that reason being that I supposedly "still live with my parents, so do not qualify for the full amount", despite the fact that I live in the dorms for half the year, which I guess isn't an "acceptable location or living arrangement"). So, I'll be definitely looking for a job. I don't know if I'll go for Google or Microsoft (Apple is definitely out, considering their behavior over the last few years). Or I might start my own, though I doubt it... or I might go work for someone else. I don't know right now.

"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!]: 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out ?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."    — Charles Babbage.

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@Munawar:
Incredible post, and I don't think that what you had to say was harsh at all. (even if it was, you were sharing your personal opinion, so no one is being forced to agree with what you have to say) As a current student, I don't have any experience with formal employment right now, but more times than not, it does dampen my spirits reading other peoples' negative experiences with its different aspects. (whether it be the job finding process, actually getting hired, or accommodations) Of course, a lot of the difficulties relating to employment are far from unique to individuals with visual impairments, but I believe they definitely have more of a significance to us. Starting off with transportation, this has definitely been the most frustrating aspect about the blind experience for me. Having to rely upon public transportation or friend’s/family members does make it a lot more difficult to be as independent as I'd like to be, but I'm working on coming to terms with that for the time being. Hopefully at some point in the future, a method of transportation more beneficial to the visually impaired will be developed. (I'm content with settling for Lift and similar services at the moment) I feel that I've always been supported by the people around me, (specifically my family) but I've recently been coming to terms with the possibility that I could have been pushed a lot harder by them towards being more independent. That's nothing that can't be improved upon though. If you wouldn't mind sharing, I'm sure that a lot of us would be interested to hear about your experiences with employment. (maybe provide some inspiration (who knows)) As far as selling myself short goes, I think one of the biggest things that causes me to slip into those periods of self-doubt is just the fact that I'm not in contact with anyone else who's really been successful. That's why I think it could be nice if we had some kind of online community to discuss these kinds of experiences. I don't know. I'm just typing my thoughts exactly at this point.

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. - Mark Twain

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@Ethin: The idea behind maximum individual benefits is that they help with the cost of utilities, rent ( lol at the idea that SSI is enough to pay for rent), etc, so living in a dorm wouldn't count (never mind paying for tuition). I got the maximum only after providing the paperwork showing that the bill for utilities is going to me.

Some of my games
Keep up to date by following @Jeqofire on twitter!
Ear Ninja?

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@Munawar, I agree with you to an extent certainly on the front of education and doing other things, but I've seen and know far too many clever people who've ended up in dull, meaningless jobs because of the current system of employment  for me to have any faith in it myself, there are people with doctorates stacking shelves, and people with two masters doing data entry level jobs because that unfortunately is the way the system is set up currently.

I will be the first to admit that I personally haven't sought employment for several reasons, both because basically I've been continuously in education for years owing to depression, ptsd and other issues meaning that my phd has taken far longer than it should have done, and because  my major goals in life are to do with creativity, writing or vocal performance rather than acquiring status or money, indeed on one level I'm also fortunate since I don't really have any desire for anything expensive, children included.

I will also admit that yes, getting incapacity benefit helps me do that, and I have been lucky to be in a country with that sort of opportunity, indeed when I went for my last benifits assessment the very nice lady basically found out I was doing a phd and told me I was probably better of doing that and more likely to get some sort of employment than  by anything she could offer.

By the same token since at least a good few of my own mental health issues happened due to abuse I suffered from the system itself, and because as a blind person I don't tend to get the same social status as others in terms of friends, social inclusion etc, I can't admit to exactly feeling too guilty here. Heck, at the poetry reading you mention I had two women come up to me and basically have a go because I had to play recordings of my poetry that I'd previously done, rather than read them allowed, they told me that they didn't' get my body language so it made the performance less effective (they were trying to "help" though since one of them was a raging man hating feminist I don't think their intentions were exactly benign).

I will also admit that I know myself well enough to be aware that I probably look at things from a more jaundiced perspective likely due! to said depression and other issues, so take all of this with a pinch of salt.

In the end that's why my personal advice would be to use whatever government benefits you get and find a vocation. If that results in paid employment fair enough, but if not well never mind that  either.

If anyone can make the system work for them and get some good out of it, good for you, though from my brother's experience which I detailed above you will need not only far too much persistence, but also a good bit of luck too, and yes, as I said previously, it will! take a good bit more effort.
This is one reason I'd like to see the benefit system change to support people on part time work etc.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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67

@62 Very nicely done post. I would have to say to those who saw the negative posts, don't let that affect you, you have your own fight ahead of you, your own challenges, you may not ever experience any of that, or you may indeed, but don't let those posts affect the pursuit of your dreams.

You know, before the job hunt stuff, I wasn't as cynical as I am now, and I didn't even realize that fact until this topic came to be. I was driven, ambitious and fought hard, so yeah it damaged me, and now I have to find a way to undo that damage. Still, I don't intend to get back at the job search, unless something were to happen, like if I accidentally got someone pregnant, I would go at it with all the fervor I can muster because I wouldn't fail to support my child. That hopefully will never happen because I am not father material and I don't desire to ever have any children.

I'm a cat! What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine to :P XD

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68

I think I'd rather stack shelves than sit at a desk. Where do I sign up? T-shirt store wouldn't take seriously the idea that I could fold T-shirts, and that's run by family. (JE N'ALLAI PAS TRADUIRE POUR LES GOUVERNEMENTS! POURQUOIS EST-CE QUE TOUTLEMONDE INSISTE QUE JE TRADUIRE OÚ REPONDRE AUX QUESTIONS DES ORDINATEURS?)
By complete coincidence, I'm cutting this post short to go put up laundry.

Some of my games
Keep up to date by following @Jeqofire on twitter!
Ear Ninja?

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69

@CAE_Jones: check this link: https://www.vdbvi.org/rsvp.htm

I'm not sure where you live and all that, but in the US I know personally of about four blind people who are in this program. BTW, it was a quick Google search to turn up this result...

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70

Alright, ranty thing incoming...

For the blind singers/musicians part....

It has to do with the music industry as a whole. Ray Charles was talented and in a different era, there weren't as many musicians, and yes the (fantastic) movie keeps him in the public consciousness, but you can't just go out and propel yourself to public stardom any more. Bieber is the exception, not the rule. If a blind person put up videos of them covering songs, it'd get taken down by the record labels for copyright reasons/ If  a blind singer went to, say, WMG they'd not give that blind singer a contract because  they already hav the establishted talent., the Katy Perrys, the Biebers, the Selena Gomezes of the world, the megastars. You absolutely need a record deal still to get anywhere for one reason...

Marketing. How marketable is a blind singer to EMI, WMG, Atlantic, etc, the giant record labels. They are run by suits who only see $$$ and not people.They only see sales and profit margins. Also, before anyone says 'put your stuf on bandcamp'

Yes it's out there but unless you got an army of bots to promote your stuf you'll still languish compared to....well.....everyone else because you're the new guy, there's the established stars on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, etc.

With So what's the options? Play gigs as a hobby? That's fine but you won't get anywhere. Try for a record deal? You're one among millions going for that same deal. Try for something like The Voice or <insert country> Idol here. You're at the mercy of the judges and networks. Judges who are established megastars in their own right. Put your songs on Youtube or cover existing songs? Content ID will fuck you over for the latter due to music industry copyright bullshit, the ormer means you'll languish at 200 views forever thanks to not being noticed. Lastly, stop playing up that you're blind all the time. It doesn't help anything. Everything blindness related shouts out it's blind, from services, which is understandable, to devs and games on here, to tiny little things, people, aside from services and schools, flaunt their blindness. Why? alright maybe flaunt isn't the right word, but....they essentially shove it in people's faces and that is off putting, I mean, Out of Sight Games tries, but they are the exception, not the rule

Next issue is the media rarely talking about blind musiians. It doesn't help they play up the 'look at the blind guy' idea from certain quarters. Yes they treat disabled people with respect at appropritat times, e.g. Paralympics, Invictus Games, but....generally, in some quarters, the perception is still oh helpless blind person doing something everyday people do, let's applaud them for opening a can of beans.

Okay related tangent: If you're blind and crowing about that shit on FB or Twitter or Mastodon or wherever. Nobody cares you learned how to open a can of beans. Good for you, now go about your daily life without providing to the second status updates. Seriously, that shit both makes me laugh my ass off and feel so sorry you hav nothing better to do than crow about the tiniest things in life. Here's an idea....don't post about learning to do simple shit on FB, you're opening yourself up for mockery from people

Okay back on topic....

You absolutely need to whore yourself out there, and do it constantly. You need to grind and know that you are one in billions o people who want the same deal you do, and fame is fleeting. Plus record labels are manipulative fuckers. If you get signed and say don't mention I'm blind, the record label is, ully entitled if it's not a contract you've gonv over or negotiated for....to turn around and portray you how they see fit, they call it PR and 'image management'

Hey, I know people in the industry who wish they'd never ever got signed, and billions of people want to be the next Bieber, without reading the small print.

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@70, its unfortunate that your post doesn't just apply to blind musicians. A sited musician will have to get passed those hurtles before they will be recognized as one of the good ones out there. Its probably worse for blind people but you'll get there if you try hard enough. The same concept though can be applied to anything else, whether they be writers, poets, programmers, architects, etc.

"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!]: 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out ?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."    — Charles Babbage.

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@71 (and 70 indirectly I suppose)
Agreed. A lot of the struggles and difficulties discussed in the post relating to the music industry don't just apply to the blind. Sighted musicians face those same struggles. They might have some advantages over a blind musician, but if getting the attention of a label is something that's important to someone, blindness is honestly a really big advantage. Like explained, there hasn't really been any large blind musicians since Charles, so a blind musician in the spotlight today would pretty much have it made. (of course that's not mentioning the hellish nightmare that the industry is) A lot of artists today though are being independent with their work. Many of them understand how labels operate now and are certainly thinking twice about signing themselves away. They take matters into their own hands and do their own promotion/distribution across streaming sites. (and have their own websites to direct people to) They are generating their own traffic and their own income, cutting out a label's involvement altogether.

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. - Mark Twain

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73

Well, Stevie Wonder came after Ray Charles, and Ronnie Milsap came after him, but that's beside the point. Maybe musicians don't want to sign their lives away, as was indicated in the previous post. Perhaps there are more blind musicians than we know about, but they choose to keep a low profile. Why anybody even tries to get a major record deal these days is beyond me. I mean, I get it on an intellectual level, fame and fortune and stardom and all that. But the fact that this was brought up in the context of the discussion at hand is a bit baffling to me, to be honest. People should write music because it's what they're passionate about, not to forcibly thrust the spotlight upon themselves. If that's what happens, and music still remains their passion, then so be it. But that should never, ever be the goal of any creative pursuit, in my opinion.

As for the other points which were raised in response to my post, I'll come back to that once I figure out what angle I can take which won't sound resentful and childish. It's not that I have a problem with the post itself or its content. I didn't find it especially harsh, just brutally honest, and sometimes you need to hear feedback like that and take time to process it. I just don't know how to approach it, since mostly it provided me with more questions than answers, and I don't want to seem as though I'm starting an argument for the sake of being a troll or something.

The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It's just holding half the amount it can potentially hold.

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@turtlepower17
(keeping the music part kind of short since it's somewhat getting off topic) I think a lot of the case where people are seeking a record deal (outside of longing for some kind of fantasy life of stress free luxury and attention) is just to ensure that their career will be stable and that they will receive a steady income for doing what they love to do. This can actually be applied to many different jobs really. People seek for jobs at different companies and corporations because they don't feel that they can successfully create their own opportunities independently. (like the programmer who looks for a job working for someone else instead of creating his own profitable service where he only answers to himself) With technology today, it's actually easier than it's ever been to set up your own business/service for income. One doesn't need anywhere near the amount of knowledge and resources that were needed in the past. Of course this isn't to say that it's an option for everyone. Music is fun to write, but it's even more enjoyable when you have the opportunity to share it with others. (and even better if they are willing to pay you for the experience) As far as finding a way to explain how you feel without coming off as confrontational or argumentative, just try and stay as objective as you can.

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. - Mark Twain

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75 (edited by Munawar 2018-06-17 10:05:23)

@Ethin, @Gamedude and @Ironcross32: thanks for your comments. glad you enjoyed the post and all that.

  • @Ethin: I'm happy your university experience has been fulfilling so far; it seems like you are doing all you can to ensure your own success, and at this point if you were to fail, from reading your posts it seems like you are definitely giving it your best shot. Keep it up and if you need any sort of advice or anything like that, send me a message. I love reading your posts especially because I see so much drive there. smile

  • @Gamedude: Don't let others' experiences as related here discourage you; it's the worst injustice you can do to yourself. Sure, they might bring you back down to Earth a little, but that's all they should do. They should help you to realize that the road will not be easy, but they shouldn't go beyond that and make you lose hope. Even I never argued that my road was easy; in fact, it was quite the opposite, and is one reason I don't take kindly to those who tell me I succeeded because of luck. So, if anything, this thread should help you prepare for the challenges ahead, and I hope you make it through and are successful in whatever you decide to do.

    Re: more independent, well, this word, "independent" is rather subjective and I wouldn't be too hard on myself if I were you. Life is all about learning new skills; just because you don't know something yet, doesn't mean you won't learn. So for that, all I can say is don't compare yourself to other people with respect to independence. We all have our flaws. For example, mine is terrible mobility skills, which is why I'm exceedingly thankful for Lyft. I've called a Lyft to travel to a destination two miles away and been laughed at by other blind people for not simply walking to that destination. But you know what? I'd rather be safe than sorry just because I wanted to prove to some random blind person I can do it. And hey, they wouldn't have given me a trophy anyway.

    So, remember that you're not obligated to prove yourself to anyone. Everyone knows their self worth and you should be comfortable with it. Of course, if there's a skill you're really lacking and you feel that it's hindering you, then there are always chances to learn and build your confidence. Just be sure to do it for yourself and not because of subjective views on independence.

    Your point re: someone successful is a good one. I'd be happy to talk to you about employment sometime. You can message me if you like and we'll be in touch.

  • @Ironcross32: Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. I agree re: everyone's experiences are their own, and this thread and its generally negative experiences shouldn't discourage anyone. That said, I didn't expect this thread to take off like it has and it's great to see the openness being shown here. I'm so thankful to everyone for sharing their experiences so shamelessly.

    I'm sorry you've been beaten down by failures and I hope eventually you can recover from them, gain strength through them, and try again. Everyone fails in life, and if anyone can say that with confidence, it's me. big_smile In fact, many times I feel bad for people who haven't failed yet, and this feeling bad eventually turns into me being afraid for that person, simply because failure is unfamiliar territory for them.

    I'm a firm believer in the sentiment that hardship is what builds character, which is why I love to see people who keep trying again and again. Not just once, but multiple times, over and over until they're absolutely convinced they have exhausted all possibilities. A recent example comes to mind of @CAE_Jones who insists that no one will hire blind manual laborers because ONE family business refused him employment.

    If you want something badly enough, you'll throw yourself out there instead of just gently walking out, getting beaten down and disappearing.

  • @Dark: I agree re: over qualified people doing mundane work, and it goes back to what I wrote earlier about people getting stuck in jobs they don't like. I've seen plenty of Computer Science degrees in web development, for example. I think ultimately the responsibility falls on the employee though. Many of these people have simply stopped looking; they settle for less and don't try to go higher.

    Re: Two masters degrees, this depends on what types of degrees they have. A Masters in art and music probably won't earn you much in the way of specialized work unless you're a freelancer. You always have to look at what your field is doing currently. For example, in Computer Science, doctorates usually end up becoming university professors. Since I didn't want to be a professor, a Bachelor's degree was sufficient for me. I worked most of my way through university, and resolved to never be a web developer (which, ironically, I was for the better part of my student years.) So I was purposely looking for something unique. I made connections in unusual places to where other people were wondering what the hell I was doing (why are you focusing on working for startups and not name brands like Lockheed Martin?) Today, I can humbly say that I'm that one percent of employees who's actually happy with their work, but that's only because I put in the time and effort to be that one percent. And yes, I did end up interviewing for Lockheed Martin but ultimately turned them down, for  a pay cut, I might add, and today, I couldn't be happier.

    There was someone I knew a while ago who was going for a masters degree in CS, and I told them openly that they were wasting their time because the return they will get probably won't justify the degree. They were under the impression that obtaining a masters degree will increase their chances of employment (they had never been employed before, even after earning their Bachelor's degree.) So, don't let the level of the degree fool you into thinking that this person should be doing this or that. It's in the type and level, and work experience also.

    I agree with you re: benefits system; I do think it needs to be more supportive of part-time employment. I've not argued that collecting benefits is wrong (I was a recipient of welfare until I graduated university,) but I think it should be used for the right reason.

    As for your poetry readings and stuff, this is exactly what I'm talking about. Yes, you're not formally employed, but you're doing something. You're using your talents and doing what you love, and I respect that because you're actually putting in effort. LOL at the two women though, especially the feminist!

    So, formally employed or not, the issue at hand is lack of effort overall. University isn't for everyone, but then what are we doing beyond that? If we don't go to university and earn a degree and join the workforce, are we using our talents in other ways? This was part of my opening question to this thread.

    This is why I'm always asking that, as blind people generally on welfare either living at home or with roommates and who have basic survival stress out of the way, are we using our extra time to explore our talents? We're far more privileged than sighted people in this regard because we can actually get some sort of check if we choose not to work. So we as blind people have plenty of opportunities to really explore ourselves. Are we actually using that resource?

  • @Turtlepower17: Sounds good. Since we're on the subject of the music industry here, I think going independent is the way to go nowadays and people seem to be having a lot more luck with it. I see so much talent when I go to the National Federation of the Blind's annual talent show and when I attended a couple years ago is when I really started to wonder about hidden talent in the blind community. And since those couple of years ago, I came to the conclusion that it's not lack of skill among blind people; it's lack of effort and general hopelessness. We don't have an education problem, we have an effort problem.

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