2018-06-17 12:07:23

@Munawar, I'm afraid I disagree completely with you that a person  with a qualification who winds up in a low grade job is responsible for their own situation for "not trying", or that its as easy as you suggest it is, see my brother's experiences mentioned above,  in trying to get a job  in law with all the correct qualifications, and indeed retaining that position once he got one and the people who took over the firm decided to make him redundent.

The person I mentioned with the two masters has masters in human resources and economics, both subjects he took with the intention of increasing his employment prospects after researching what subjects would be required.
he also has degrees in ppe, that's politics philosophy and economics, and lore. In the end he wound up taking a basic data entry position, and then had to take the company's own corporate setup qualifications on the systm  system being  used.

Maybe its a us vs  uk  thing I'm not sure, either way we'll  probably just have to agree to disagree here since I suspect difference in attitude is based  on alternative  experience of how the system works., plus in my case the research I've done on disability myself which clearly indicates that there is a pretty huge bias in terms of employment, social acceptance etc in disability generally, and in blindness in particular.

Of course if people want to  try and take on the system, get qualified and go for at least some measure of success in a field that actually utilises their skills I wish  them the best of luck.

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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2018-06-17 13:45:47

Forum message sent

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

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2018-06-17 15:20:03

@Gamedude, I replied to you just now. If you've got Skype, let's connect there (I've included my details in the message.)

@Dark: Interesting line of thought here. Do you believe we should all just give up then since the terrible system is so against us, that there's no hope of succeeding?

I agree that the odds are stacked against us as disabled people, but what I'm arguing in my responses is more a lack of effort than anything else. Yes, if you stop submitting applications after you get no responses, your chances of gainful employment tend to zero. So maybe the real question is when do we call it quit? Or should we at all call it quit?

I know of sighted people too who have submitted hundreds of resumes and only gotten responses from a handful of employers; I know of many sighted people who are jobless even six months after graduation, or after looking so long. But I've still to meet one sighted person who's told me "I'm tapping out because I'm getting nowhere." The difference with them is they don't have the option to stop because there's no one to tell them that "it's ok, we'll give you an 'abled person check.'"

Or, said sighted people go off and do their own things, which, again, is one of my points. If we can't seem to be employed, what alternatives are we seeking? I submitted so many applications and eventually lost count. Even when companies would reply to me, I'd forget I'd even contacted them. So, even for me, it wasn't like a first-shot-success type of deal. It's not that way for anyone.

Is the system discriminatory? Sure, and there's ample evidence to suggest that. But it's not all "the system." Sometimes, we have to point the finger inward and ask ourselves if we're truly doing enough to overcome barriers. That's how I see discrimination: a barrier.

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2018-06-17 16:54:47

Yeah, others cannot just decide to not have a job, they wouldn't be able to live. One thing that hasn't really come up is the psychological component of constantly failing to secure a job. It makes you sort of wonder if you're worth a shit, it makes you examine all your previous failures, and while failure can be an opportunity to learn, what can you really do except keep trying when you're working against a system that is set up the way it is. That's why I stopped, I jst got tired of that same cycle over and over, and it made it harder when they cut off my AHedd funding, because I"d have to look up the area and find bus schedules and so on. There's only so much of that a person can take before it really affects them.

One of the best gifts on this earth is the unconditional love of an animal

It is pure, free of judgement, and raises me to the utter height of glory.

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2018-06-17 19:32:01

@Munawar, PM sent. Just cause, you know. big_smile Anyway, I've always been fascinated about technology; hell, I've been fascinated about a lot of things in general. The way I grew up, people have always taught me to question everything and not believe things at face value. My integrated science teacher (who taught chemistry, a bit of 2D and 3D physics, if I remember right, etc) in high school always said, "If someone tells you something is x or y, don't believe them, but discover it yourself. Prove it by yourself." Translation: when someone tells you that something is the way it is for one reason or another, etc., don't just believe them, but strive to prove it yourself; hell, even strive to prove them wrong. Another quote I found, and which I altered slightly to fit my situation in life particularly is, "Success cannot be without failure, and failure cannot be without success. Both must exist, and failure will always come first." I've never believed those stories that someone does something and meats immediate success. I've never believed those stories of someone doing something and immediately becoming great at it. But that's not all I'm interested in. I'm interested in philosophy (I'm an excellent philosopher, though have no qualifications in it), and am even interested in things I don't understand very well to try to understand them better (e.g. quantum computing, quantum physics, machine learning, ...). I know how being put down feels. But I try my best to never let it affect me and its pretty much stopped. I've been back-stabbed and betrayed by those who I thought I trusted, and it hurts just to see (or here) that, and to think, "Wow, this person could've been great, could've aided me, could've been a great friend, but chose to sacrifice that because of some stupid thing." That "Stupid Thing" could be the way I act (yes, I've done some stupid shit in the passed, I'll admit it), I've been an asshole, both a lot on here and a lot off-forum, etc., etc., but those who are my true friends (definitely an amount I can count on my right hand) are always with me and are willing to yell at me and tell me to stop and think if I'm going too far with something. Oh how I wish I had a lot more of those, but hey, life isn't that willing. But back on topic: my college experience was definitely fulfilling, though it had some hardships, like my math class, which I had to drop out of the first semester because my books weren't available (and my book conversion tools that usually work on [all] amazon books weren't working on textbooks, damn DRM to hell and a miserable existence), but I managed to get in in the second semester. The only problem then was the web interface my teacher used for homework and quizzes. Thankfully though, my teacher is one of those teachers who will take the extra mile to help one of her students succeed, and she went so far as to switch the entire platform she's using to another to see how that works because the original one she was using was unwilling to accommodate one (extra emphasis on one!) student -- me. I'm quite proud of her for that. smile

"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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2018-06-17 20:03:10

@Ethin cool, I just replied to you. (I'm not sure if you guys get Email notifications of replies to Forum Messages, I certainly don't.) Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I'm impressed that your instructor is willing to go so far. They really don't realize how much easier it makes it for us if they just take a little bit more time, and there are definitely people willing to take that time, so I'm glad you're seeing that first-hand.

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2018-06-17 20:13:58

I'm afraid Munawar this is where we disagree.
You recognize inequities in the system, but then seem to want to blame disabled people for not putting in effort, and apparently not just disabled people given your prior comments about degrees.

For myself, I'd prefer to establish the fact that yes, the system is inherently biased and difficult to work with, and success in that system requires A, more effort than a sighted person and B, a deal of luck.

I wouldn't encourage people to give up, but to do the best they can, and rather than castigate them for  failure, sympathise with the difficulties people may be having and support any efforts people might be making with employment or other activities.

As to the fact about sighted people, again, there are far too many clever people in dead end jobs for me to believe inherently that the system has any reward of either effort or ability to it, and the fact that a blind person can avoid this is perhaps one of the very few compensations that you get having a disability, though whether this is an adequate compensation to missing out on social inclusion and so on I'm not sure.

As to the psychological bennifits of having a job, again, the bennifits assume that the job is worth while and something that actually provides stimulation.
Take my brother for example. When he was forced to work as a file preparer, copying texts all day, essentially to increase his chances of employment (a gambit which failed), he felt frustrated and deeply depressed.

Now that he's actually a qualified solicitor and is handling cases, has a  good variety of challenges each day which focus on his knolidge and skills, he's extremely happy.

My friends have been largely the same, their engagement with what they're doing directly proportional to how much what they were doing actually employs their skills or talents, though sadly not many of them have ended up as well as my brother.

This is another reason why I tend to view vocation rather than paid emplloyment as a better goal, and yes, having benefits helps with that, but hay you take what you can get.

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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2018-06-17 20:21:47

@82, think you and Munawar will need to agree to disagree here. Personally I agree with Munawar here; while I may have been rejected at BestBuy I can be certain that it wasn't because of my disability at all (or I hope it wasn't). You keep bringing up your brother as a concrete example, and I'm wondering if you have any others to prove your point. It could also be that you are discussing the UK employment system singularly, rather than considering that Munawar might be covering the US employment system singularly, and so therefore may have different experiences.

"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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2018-06-17 20:40:08

@Ethin I use my brother as an example  because he's a good illustration of the problems I mention, particularly since naturally I saw everything he went through with his eforts to find a job, however there are various others I've seen as well albeit less personally, some of them (such as one forum member I can think of), in the states and other countries, but the statistics speak for themselves.

A recent RNIB report claimed that %70 of blind people of working age in Britain were out of work, while a 2017 human rights commission noted that the UK's employment status of disabled people was in contravention of international human rights for its stance on employment.

Likewise, a lot of the academic research I've  seen for myself, for example Simon Hayhoe's work and that of Davis is pretty conclusive about attitudinal differences, Simon Hayhoe particularly makes a lot of reference to blindness and prevailing social attitudes, including explanations of the history of blindness as a social term across the world, then again since he's one of my examiners I probably would think his research is more important.

This isn't to say that people should "Stop trying" just that I'd prefer   people were a  less quick to condemn others  make failures personal, rather establish that life is sodding hard and everyone needs to take what they have and cope the best they can.

This is I suspect where Munawar and I will indeed agree to disagree, since his experience seems to be that his efforts have been rewarded, where as mine, and that of many others I've seen  has been the opposite.

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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2018-06-17 20:54:59

@Dark: I've never condemned anyone in this thread. My point of contention has been how quickly we are to blame the system and ignore what we alone are bringing as hindrances to our success. I agree that a blind person must work several orders of magnitude more to achieve the same results as sighted people, but to say that that's all because of the system and that we have nothing to do with it doesn't fit well with me. It's like black people saying they're not getting anywhere because of the damn white man, or feminists insisting that all of the world's flaws are men's faults alone. Similarly, as blind people we love to play the victim card instead of just dealing with the toughness of the world, and by using the victim card we sell ourselves short because it's drilled into us time and time again that "you're blind, so, like, the system is against you. Just don't bother."

On this thread, I've seen a lot of "well, people said I can't, so I won't," and that type of attitude is damaging to morale of upcoming youth and people in their prime looking to achieve their dreams.

Your brother is one I view as a success story because he persevered and (surprise!) he actually got where he wanted to go in the end. Yeah, it took him fourteen years, but the fact still remains he did it. Hell, it took me ten years to earn my degree when it takes a regular sighted person four years, so your brother isn't the only one who's had to struggle to get where they want to go. My problem comes in when we start thinking like "why should I work so hard? Because it's so totally damn unfair for me to do so, I just...won't."

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2018-06-17 22:30:53

It's a dividing line, looking over that line, or fence if you will, to the people on the other side of it. I see where Dark is coming from in saying if your work paid off, you're more likely to scoff at someone for not being where you are ,after all, if you could do it, so can they. I also see Munawar's point of view, basically saying put in the time, keep at it, and you'll get there. Well, you may and you may not, experiences vary, but the sentiment is the right one imo. It was such a triumphant feeling to have secured a job, and getting up every morning, well I naturally am a morning person anyway, I hop right out of bed and am fully awake most days, that was no biggie, I also felt a sense of accomplishment related to going to work, doing something, contributing in some way, yes very small, but still in some way back to society. That is gone now, and I think that is some of the cause of depression among blind people. People want to be useful, feel needed or wanted, often times as a blind person, you feel like you're not wanted, or you're a burden. It is also common to be misunderstood, and judged, and what's more, judged and misunderstood by the people who in theory, should understand you the best, your family. I don't think it necessarily takes gainful employment to get that feeling, you could do it with volunteer work, and you can put that on your résumé as well, and then they can't bitch as much at your gaps in work history if you have volunteer work in there.

One thing I don't like about American culture is how it is so work centric, even to unhealthy levels. Work work work work all day long, sometimes needing to have two jobs, and better hope you don't get sick. So many people hope they don't get sick just simply due to the fact that if they miss even a day, its going to put a massive hurt on their paycheck. Then they have no social life because after work, you need to run errands, do housework, try to get a little family time in, etc. It's like, after work, and after doing the necessary things to just keep up with life and your household, you have like one, maybe two hours before you need to go to bed just to repeat the process over again. SO if you work 6 or even 7 days a week, where is your time. Everyone need time to unwind, relax, do things they enjoy, need time alone, away from other people. If that isn't a part of your life, your life is unbalanced, and if you don't get it balanced, you're gonna suffer the consequences. Mental illness, or mental health problems like having a breakdown, or being moody and bitter. If you're a grumpy son of a bitch, its going to mean you driving family and friends away, which is going to make you even more of a grumpy son of a bitch, and more likely to suffer other long term consequences. So work vs life is severely unbalanced, especially because life is so hectic, so much to do, it isn't like the old days where a man would come home and watch TV all night or read the paper while his wife makes him dinner and cleans up after. Now men and women work, and they both have responsibilities even if they are single, they still have stuff to do, but if now two people start a family, the work load of that just quadruples. So, its not like work necessarily got worse, its that life just got more hectic, and the balance just didn't adapt.

One of the best gifts on this earth is the unconditional love of an animal

It is pure, free of judgement, and raises me to the utter height of glory.

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2018-06-18 00:12:34

A lot of arguments and points being thrown round here.
Ok, I am not going to fight others battles but I agree with the post about systems.
Sadly the system has changed, companies don't want creativity or indevidualism they want their way and they want money.
Thats not just for the blind either sadly.
I have 2 uncles both of them enginiers in different fields who's companies are now under different management, they like their own people, do things your way or else.
I have various friends and friends of friends in that same situation.
I have an aunt that worked for a clothing company that had to switch because of the same issue, cost cutting is the thing.
My dad got out of communications 2 years back when that stuff was going down in his location I could go on and on and on.
For myself I noticed this when my advisers and the like stopped being creative.
The economy generally is more cutthroat, people don't want people for the people they are.
Some companies want drones for this that and the other thing.
Forget the ai take over we allready seem to be doing that to humans without the machines taking over, when that happens well its not much of a stretch things are going nuts.
With the case of the system failier.
Yes, I do know sadly for some that say why bother, we are poor and helpless and the government must pay us, however personally I roled the dice, tried my best I could do at the time.
Did I fail, no, did the system fail?
I don't know, bits did maybe but the entire thing.
I mean, if there is nothing for a program to do you can't say it failed because there were no commands going toward it at that time can you.
Fact is the world is a bit more level ish now everyone has the same issue, my brother doesn't but he could be the acception.
With the trade and other wars going on, and other issues things will get worse before they get better for all of us.
I had a friend with autism with the same issue, he got a job, he worked a few hours a day all week, then bang, suddenly either they didn't need him or the contract finnished but they didn't say he was done they just stopped asking him to come to work.
Another guy I know worked in a net company, something went nuts, details reamain unknown, he lost his job for no reason, sued the company, won but had to get another.
One of my cousins worked in business, got told to get rid of some data, and by mistake got rid of stuff he shouldn't have, and one of his bosses went nuts at him, the other boss though didn't care about that.
So its everywhere.
The systems are hard at the best of times now I am not sure.
Did I fail.
I'd like to think I searched for the needle in the hay stack but never even found the farm.
As for the system failing, its quite easy to say the government failed, the system failed, failier is not easy, but it all depends.
I went with the information I was given, now some of that could have been wrong, but who knows.
Systems have bugs, not all of them are caught.
I do think as bad as it is we will always need benifits, some of us will have to fight for those if we get a job.
Obviously if I get enough say 50-120 grand a year I may or may not need benifits like I do now but even so.
The only people that fail don't try.
For me, I have reached the end of all the paths I can travel right now, I still have time at least 30 years worth of time to find a path.
Its always harder if you are older to, yunger people are sort after still there are other things one can do.

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2018-06-18 02:03:59

Ironcross nailed it in post 86. I think, for me personally, part of what makes employment somewhat unappealing is that I see how unhappy it makes those around me. They go to work, come home, do a fair amount of complaining about their jobs, and have basically no life outside of work and the household. And yet, I've also heard it expressed by these same people, my family, that if they weren't working, they would have absolutely no idea what to do with themselves, and go stir crazy. In fact, some things which I won't go into on a public forum were caused, for the most part, when my mom lost a job she had 12 or so years ago. It sort of makes me uncomfortable in a way I can't describe in words. At the same time, defining your success by your employment seems natural. I know nothing else. It's certainly not about making a lot of money, it's about occupying your time, I guess, and to them, and most people I've known, for that matter, that's the only acceptable way of doing so as an adult.

As for myself, I wonder where I fit on that spectrum. Would volunteering give me fulfillment? Or would I be looked down on for still taking government benefits and not earning anything? it's true, as was pointed out, that I lack the experience to draw a solid conclusion one way or the other.

Speaking of experience, this circles back to the point which I hesitated to bring up last night. I still don't know how to say it without firing off a bunch of questions, which probably will look confrontational, but I suppose it can't hurt to try.

If one lacks experience, which is one of the core parts of resume building, what exactly are you supposed to submit when job searching? Of course, filling out an application is a different story, since it doesn't require the deep dive that resumes do. But every scrap of advice, no matter who's said it or where I've read it, has basically driven the point home that if you don't have an interesting resume, something that stands out from all the rest, you might as well be sunk. So, what do you do when you have nothing to sell? If you have a degree, certifications, etc. I understand that you should outline those. However, I've also been informed that too much of a paper trail can look either arrogant and/or green, as in, you don't know what the hell you're doing without real world experience to back it up. Resumes like that will get passed over just as quickly as messy ones with poor spelling and grammar. So, how do you compensate for that when you literally have none of the required prerequisites? I only ask this because it was stated that my age shouldn't be a hindrance, and perhaps age by itself wouldn't be. It's the combined injustice of possible disability discrimination, age discrimination, (not in the typical way, perhaps, since I'm 28, but because I haven't worked before except for that one volunteer gig I mentioned when I was 16), and then, on top of that, an empty, or nearly empty resume, since I would, and could, get the proper certifications to get started in my chosen field if circumstances were different for me.

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

2018-06-18 02:50:24

Okay, hold up a sec. I want to boil a couple of things down.

1. Effort is important, but effort isn't everything.
I firmly believe this. It's very important to try, and try hard sometimes, but sometimes you can get unlucky, or meet brick walls of resistance. My sympathy when those things happen, because they suck. Failure is heavy, and it makes the next try harder. Some persevere and end up succeeding; others don't, or even can't. I don't think anyone should be castigated for reaching their threshold (not saying anyone is doing this, btw), but at the same time, I do feel that this threshold is awfully low some of the time, as expressed in this thread. However, take that observation with a grain of salt; I obviously don't know every situation inside out, so perhaps there are details that make everything harder. We only have so much energy.

2. The notion of "I did it, so can you" is inherently flawed.
It actually misses the point entirely. It's supposed to be inspirational, which is cool and all, but unfortunately it leads to false expectations and can sometimes be turned on its ear to encourage failure. For instance, if you see a lot of hard-luck stories, you may be disinclined to try because you're afraid it'll happen to you, too. I see a lot of that happening here. Best advice I can give: focus on you (what you want, what you're good at, what you'd like out of life), and to hell with the successes or failures of others, at least insofar as your own future is concerned.

3. The system is busted in many ways, but so are we.
It is one thing to be upset with a system that stacks the deck against us. I get that. It is quite another to blame 99% of failure on the system. That's neither fair nor accurate. When a person gives up and can't go further, or when they don't put in the effort, or far worse, when they decide that they're entitled and wish to be taken care of because the world's hard...that's not the system's fault.

4. Yes, life is harder on us in a lot of ways...but it's not changing anytime soon, so that really ceases to be salient.
More accurately, if you have a disability, the world is not designed with you in mind, for the most part. It will take more energy to do things, more effort. That bites. You'll get no argument from me there. But that is not going to change; in large part, it -can't change. It will always be harder. The sooner you can wrap your head around that, the sooner it will be a psychological anchor tied to your ankles. I'm not saying that all your struggles will magically disappear - perish the thought - but I'm suggesting that if at every roadblock you start stewing on how hard it is to be disabled, it's going to wear on you. It's going to compound your difficulty, in most cases, and make the next try that much harder. I see it over and over in the things Dark is saying, and it saddens me. It's a mindset thing, and no small feat, let me tell you. Best advice on that score is to deal with the situation, have a grumble about it, then get on with things if you can.

5. Most of all, be kind.
Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. This is hugely important. If you fail, even if it's your own fault entirely, don't spend months whipping yourself. Figure out you can do better, and then set about putting your knowledge into practice. If someone else contributed to your difficulty, talk to them. Explain your feelings. If a system is presenting you impediments, take them one at a time instead of just ranting at the unfairness of it all. Maybe you'll get there, maybe you won't, but if you are kind, it will be an easier road.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

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2018-06-18 03:30:35


@jade. I agree with point 2. It doesn't matter what others say, just do your best in your life and if people want to bitch; let them.

I'm not employed, I volunteer when I can and that's enough for me.

If you like harry potter fan fiction, click on this link to download a zipped folder containing 9 point something gigs of harry potter fan fiction when unzipped. It's around 3 gigs zipped. https://tinyurl.com/y9dl9zev

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2018-06-18 04:06:13

@Jayde: well-written and you communicated it a lot better than I have.

@Turtlepower17: If you feel volunteering is your key, go for it. Many times volunteer positions are where people can make the most difference in the world. I don't think anyone should look down on anyone for receiving benefits alone. It's only when we don't seize the opportunities given to us because of removal of basic survival needs that it becomes an issue.

As for the jobs making people unhappy, sadly this is the majority of cases. In fact, I travel around in business districts a lot due to my work and many times the conversation comes up of how sad it is that most of these people in suits are not looking forward to going to work that day. But they still have to do it one way or the other because they're not financially independent, unlike many of us blind people on welfare.

Re: defining success through employment, on this I disagree. I think success is a subjective term and each person's view of success is different. That being said, one thing I'll give you is that there's a lot of emphasis placed on "does he have a job?" I've seen this first-hand on dating sites; the moment I listed I was employed, I started getting many requests (though I judged them to be shallow-minded, because to them my worth was through my fancy title.) So, while it's natural as you stated, I'm personally against defining one's worth through the position they hold.

As far as lack of experience, yes, you're actually not "too old" IMO and I don't know where this idea came from, but 25-30 is considered prime age so don't discount yourself on age, yet. When you're at a pension age, sure, because companies won't want the liability, but you're good for now.

I'd suggest starting small-time, maybe a mom-and-pop shop. This is how I started out. The benefits to working for a family business are that they tend to recommend you to other people a lot through word of mouth because of the closely knit community. Also, their requirements are not as stringent as full on corporations or small businesses.

If you like, you can send me a PM and I'll share my contact details with you so we can discuss further.

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2018-06-18 04:27:52

Cordless tools that have lithium ion batteries will run and run and run like normal until they're dead, then they just stop, there's like a 5 second slow down period rather than one with older batteries where it might not be able to do as much as like half or less power. I use this as an analogy for the job search, or really anything that you've failed at over and over again. At least for me, I had lots of energy for it, and I wasn't discouraged at failing, hell, at the time I didn't even see it as failures, I was like well, plenty of other places to apply, no biggie. After doing it for so long though, I hit that just dead point and stopped, because under the combined weight of it all, I just hit my breaking point. It wasn't a slow decline, I wasn't putting less and less into it the whole time, I literally put everything I had into each app, into each CV, into each interview. Now, there was a time when I sort of had enough that I did half heartedly fill out job apps, but its not like I rushed through them, I just did a lot less of them.

One of the best gifts on this earth is the unconditional love of an animal

It is pure, free of judgement, and raises me to the utter height of glory.

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2018-06-18 04:40:58

Okay, time for my long novelette of a post.

Let us now skim over the waves of life. The middle of an ocean, no visible beginning, no visible end. Just the waters of possibility, the sky giving the probability of a ground somewhere beneath all the water below. Let us go miles from where we start, past the slow waves of beginning, elementary school where I failed first grade, past the event horizon that was the first bit of awakening, in third grade where autonomy began. Here, waves become a little more active, but they're still pitiful compared to other oceans you've seen. As miles pass, you see waves growing slowly. Not steadily, no, but grow they do. Then high school ended... What now?

Near the end of high school, I was told about a possibility for employment for me. For those who know about World Services for the Blind, you may know where this could be going. Yes, the blind school wanted to just dump me off at the nearest IRS cubical and forget about it. To be fare, Ii didn't give them much of a reason to choose otherwise. I had no ambition, no desires of employment, no outlook on the future. All I knew is that I like computers, and that was it. They had no desire to cultivate that, no desire to help train that, grow that, into something useful. So, I went to Gentry, the center for blind/deaf/generally-disabled people here in Alabama to get post-school training in a trade or preparation for college.
Here, things get a little interesting. It is here, out from under the heavy hand of the school, that I awakened just a bit more, become more than just a walking, talking corpse with an affinity with technology. I learned to clean my room, although that skill vanished when it wasn't needed, more on that later. I learned to cook, although I'm still afraid of stove that is in operation, and I am pretty good with the oven and microwave. I learned some things about money management, although that course was basically an input/output one, you read stuff, answer questions about it, and all I really got out of it was just to trust your bank and talk to them when you need something. I also learned that I read 95 words per minute in Braille, which is terrible in comparison with other people I know, who read 280 words per minute. So, I learned some things, became more independent, more alive. Then I found out about the Assistive Technology Instructor course at World Services for the Blind (WSB).
WSB is an okay place. Bland food meant to be healthy, so that the poor blind people don't get fat while sitting on campus with an exercise room at their disposal because it is the ethical duty of WSB to make sure blind people are healthy, and blind instructors who don't know when their students haven't showered in days and wear the same clothes during said days, but I got the certification. It was a short nine months there, full of 480 teaching hours and plenty of assignments that really didn't help technologically, although I did experiment with Linux for months there and switched back to Windows shortly before leaving. Mostly, I made a friend who I still sometimes talk to, and made a few connections with people, but really I came for the certificate, and that's what I got. According to my instructor, I went "above and beyond" what was set out for me, but I really don't feel like I did that much, more on that later. So, the cleaning issue. We didn't have to clean at all at WSB. We were the upper blind nobility, so were afforded housekeepers so we could focus on our work, not on all the other nonsense of life. Oh they tried to walk back their luxurious lifestyle by having us take our trash bags and set them beside the can, sweep our rooms, and make our beds, but as so many things do at WSB, it faded away and things returned to normal. They also created the "client panel," of which I was a member. That faded away as well, as we realized that we were simply pawns for the administrators to speak their words through, and we really didn't have a say in anything. We couldn't even discuss things with the clients that the administrators discuss with us, making us nothing more than puppets for them, to make WSB look good.
Then it was over, and I went home with certification in hand. Now what?
College? Hey, maybe that wouldn't be so hard after all! I mean, I did all this work at WSB, compiling lists of ten free screen readers, interviewing clients, presentations, figuring out new tech, all that while teaching at least one client courses like JAWS, Microsoft Word, and even some ZoomText, iPhones, and even taught a deaf-blind person. Yeah, college shouldn't be that bad. But no. World Services for the blind was a vampire for money, sucking $2200 per month, all nine months. So no, college is no longer an option, even though that's what my instructor said I should look into. So, uh, now what?
Now I get experience, so that maybe that will negate the necessity for a college degree. So, I'm back in Alabama now, at Gentry once again, but rather than just be a student, I'm almost staff now. Turns out, not cleaning for nine months, and having a blind instructor with no sighted assistant wasn't the best for how I look. Dandruff went unnoticed. Bad behaviors and habbits from high school resurfaced. So now I must prove that I "really want to work" to my supervisor, or my program will be canceled. I try to look up rather than down on these problems of mine, but the thoughts still strike me.
"How could you ever measure up to your blind supervisor? He's a country boy. Country boys can survive. You're just some outlier, half country, mostly something cobbled from isolation and laziness. He grew up doing everything. You grew up doing nothing. He grew up when the blind school was a great option. You grew up when it was stale and rotting, nothing more than an elaborate training function, preparing one for the ACT testing."
I don't really have much to counter this with. I do more for myself than I've ever done before. It does mean that I have to wake up earlier, but it would give me a better chance of getting a job. All this preparation, school, high school, Gentry, WSB, Gentry again, and I'm 24 without a job. My younger sister has a job at Wendies, a fast food place. My youngest sister will be getting a job whenever she can. But me? When will I have my first paycheck, outside of a controlled, student-worker environment? When will I be able to prove to at least myself that I am worth something? When will I be able to prove to my supervisor that something good can come out of the Alabama school for the Blind, even outside of his era of the good ol' days? I don't know. Maybe I won't. But then I focus on myself. My body, fat and soft, my mind, seeming only half-alive compared to everyone else, running on an operating system 24 years out of date, with no updates in sight, and I think "You know, I'm not dead. Somehow, I'm still alive. I don't know what for, but the Eternal has chosen to keep me alive for some reason. I've not rotted away from existence yet, even though by all accounts I should have long ago."
So, I keep going. I keep trying, trying at whatever it is people want me to do. Unlock doors and turn on lights at the beginning of the day? Sure, I'll try.
Close up and turn off lights at the end? Yes, I can do that.
Help a student? Yes, gladly.
Take a tech support phone call? Oh yes, what do they need help with?
Go train a consumer? Well, I've not really done that kind of thing before, but I'll try.
It'l be an overnight stay at a hotel, you sure? I'll try. I've never really stayed at hotels, but I'll definitely try it.
And yet, nothing seems enough. Every time I do something right, there's always something wrong.
Well you're a nice person, but your grades are terrible.
Well, you're good at computers, but not good at teaching or interacting with people.
Well, you do a good job, but you need to clean your room; it looks terrible from what I read.
A year ago before WSB: You know, I'd hire you, but you need experience; you need certifications.
Now: No one would hire you looking like that; I know I wouldn't.

So, a lot of the problems are my own, but there are just things that I never knew about, never questioned, never thought of. Every person's look into jobs is different. Not all are easy, not all are hard. Not all are successful, no matter how hard we try, no matter how easy it seems to others, no matter how hard we slap destiny in the face and make her bleed for our bad fortune, we still loose, we still die, we still are dealt the bad hand, and we must all recognize that.
In the same breath though, must be the realization that we're still here. Somehow, we haven't winked out of existence just because we've failed life, failed our parents, failed our supervisors, failed our country, our school, our counselor, failed ourselves. We must always remember that we can change, improve, no matter what the standards other people set for us are. The school wanted to just throw me to the IRS, to be yelled at, verbally beaten for my employer's sins, to be a whipping boy, to be a sacrifice. But I went above them. Gentry wants near-perfection of my cleaning. I may or may not be doing well in that, I don't know. I bought an electric Swiffer for sweeping the floor, and have other cleaning supplies now which I use at least once a week, so I, at least, think I've gotten better. All this to say that my employment either in the blindness business as I call it or elsewhere seems to be tied up rather much with what I can achieve here. I've put out information on Linked-in, Indeed and other places, and even attended a virtual career fare with Microsoft, Apple and others where I sent plenty of resumes, but I've not heard anything from all that, so the whole "it's who you know" thing really is how things work.
Do then want to work for Apple, Microsoft, or Google? I'd gladly choose Microsoft, but I'd hate moving to a whole other state and such. Apple? I hate how they're going down hill, with no new VoiceOver features at all in iOS 12 and such, but I'd take it. Google then? No. They don't give a crap. So, I'm really just left with the blindness business pretty much, unless I can find a network of blind people offering blind folks tech support or training, which would be a pretty good idea for the "outcast" Assistive Tech instructors who went to WSB for that, and now just can't find a job for it. And no college either, and I couldn't juggle WSB and Hadley at the same time, plus I think they require college degrees now so people like me don't waste their time, so yeah, probably no advancements in education possible now. So, my road has been severely narrowed.

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2018-06-18 05:37:31 (edited by Ethin 2018-06-18 05:38:46)

@93, that, sir, is the most emotionally moving (and sad) post I've ever read. smile I can't sympathize, because I've never suffered what you have. But I'm glad you've got that drive in you... ever considered being a writer? An author, even?

"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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2018-06-18 06:12:46

I think it is interesting how many people will on the one hand tell me I have a "mindset thing" etc, and then in the same breath will turn around and mention their own trouble at acquiring qualifications etc.

Note that I never said "do not try" or that people are not responsable, only that you need to recognize your own limitations, and take your resources in hand, benefits included, and not be castigated because you haven't been as successful as someone else, I think Jayde explained this well enough, but at the same time I believe my position is getting wrongly conflated into something it isn't.

I also tend to think here that people have been somewhat affected by the right wing promulgation of the sort of thinking Ironcross mentioned, that sees worth only  terms of economics irrispective of what a person is actually getting out of it or how much effort to put in.

Remember the doctor of chemistry I mentioned, someone at the top of his particular field who'd gone as far as you could go, and yet who had to sacrifice absolutely everything to get there, had no social life, no friends, and no interests outside his work  and indeed advised others not to do the same.

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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2018-06-18 08:09:06

I wanted to touch on this after thinking on it, I mentioned it briefly in post #70

Don't  play up your blindness to employers, don't go in screaming you're blind, then they must hire you because employers hate that shit really. If you come off as friendly, genuine and interesting and eager to work, you'll at least be considered, rather than screaming about being blind so do X Y and Z

@Dark: Those are interesting studies honestly, I doubt social attitudes will change any time soon, I've heard, anecdoatally that the average man in the street so to speak is fine with a blind guy crossing the road or going into a store but they aren't okay with that blind guy working in said store and taking a job away from an able bodied or sighted person. There's still a ton of stigma about being disabled in any form, unless you've done something noteworthy or are famous, that is. I once got the chance to sit down with David Blunkett for a few hours and he revealed yes, he was in politics but he explained how he hated certain people in his own party due to his disability, how his own party would block his own proposals unless he fought tooth and nail to convince them why it'd benefit the UK as a whole. F.ex. he wanted to increase the benefit a disabled person could get on DLA by £5 a week. Tiny, tiny amount, he explained....yet everyone in the party came up with every reason why it couldn't be done, lack of money, cuts to other services, taking money out of other things to fund the proposed increase....despite there being spare money floating around at the time he suggested that, oh no, Labour could't possibly dip into the spare money to appease Mr Blunkett...

The stupidest one I heard from him was in 2003, now I'm very, very anti Iraq war and made this known to him,and we disagreed on it, but he said, and this is paraphrasing....that certain Labour back benchers were pushing to fund the war in Iraq by slashing the welfare system. As he put it...paraphrased, again....

Rich children are taking money from those who need it and don't consider somebody like me.

I sympathised with him. Then met him a few years later when he was secretary for work/pensions. He again explained the struggle of getting even the slightest change through his own party, let alone to a vote in the Commons. As he put it:

I can't even convince my own party that somethin that'd get more people into work [in 2005] is worth taking up, what good is it putting it to the Opposition and other politiians? I already know how the vote will go. Any time my name's on a bill, it's all oh sympathy for the blind man, let's push it through to make him feel better. He named several then Labour politiians, who I won't name as the trouble makers for it and said, categorically, social attitudes towards blindnesss wouldn't improve, period because the average man on the street doesn't get why it's important, but equally the pushback from what he called anatical blind people puts sighted people on an us vs them mentality, a sort of defend our things, as he put it, idea. The mindset of 'the blind are coming to take our jobs, our homes and everything we own' mindset, he firmly believed that to be a mindset caused by blind people not asking for change, but demanding it and forcing it on companies and society in general. Where have I heard that before.....and bear in mind this was a man in Government who saw the inner workings of politics and had access to a ton of data and reports most of us won't ever get to look at.

If in doubt, chocolate and coffee. Enough said.

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2018-06-18 12:33:46

Dark, I'm not attempting to conflate your stance into anything it isn't. I'm simply saying that it makes me sad. Others do too. You were just the one that jumped up and bit me. I'm certainly not fault-finding.

Also, I'm getting into a field which I know isn't going to be financially excellent. I may only make 2-3 times the amount I'm getting from the government right now, unless I want to go back for a master's degree...which I really don't. I'm not quite as far left as you can go, but I'm fairly close. I believe that capitalism is utterly busted and utterly doomed, but while it's here, it's what we have. This means I want enough money to do things that I want to do. I'm not an aggressive ladder-climber. I don't measure my worth by the size of my pay-cheque. I value my worth in my ability to positively affect the world, and I hope others can and will do the same.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

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2018-06-22 07:06:57

Interesting topic. I'm still at university so not at the job seeking stage yet, but from what I've heard from other people's experience it does sound like it's hard to get one. This is not specific to blind people though, it's hard for most people to get a job, the exception being people with skills that are in high demand (for example I can't imagine doctors struggling to get work). In science you do need at least a masters to be taken seriously though (you're really not going to be able to do much with just an undergrad degree), so I'm still going to be studying for a while.
As for the blind people on youtube etc, is it really a smaller proportion of blind people? Because how many sighted people also have those talents but don't do stuff like that. It might be that the proportion isn't all that different but the absolute number is small due to there being few blind people in total as compared to sighted people.
As for the debate, I do see where both sides are coming from. But I do think that believing your position is solely due to your efforts and has nothing to do with luck is a bit naive. Of course working hard is a big factor, I'm not saying it makes no difference obviously, but circumstances also need to be in your favour; hard work can only get you so far. It did  take a lot of work on my part to get through all my modules especially with all the visual material, but the fact that I could study for them at all depended on me actually being able to get the material in the first place, and then also having someone helping me with the visual stuff. For example, biochemistry has a lot of chemical structures you need to know. The only way for me to learn them was for someone to sit with me for hours a week describing each structure and me writing it down in words; but if I did not have a person like that it would just not have been possible to do those modules regardless of my efforts. Fortunately my university has a good disability unit and a lot of blind people have and are studying there, so that does help. The library also was very helpful in getting electronic textbooks for us. But I am the first blind person doing what I'm doing at this university, most blind people go for law, music or IT, most of the rest are in various humanities fields, and a handful have gone into mathematics, but apparently noone has done any biological sciences. So it did take a lot of convincing to get many of the lecturers to agree to me taking their modules, but fortunately we got the deputy dean of the faculty on our side at some point which obviously made the negotiations much easier from then on (again, if this didn't happen I probably wouldn't have been able to study what I'm studying).
So how it worked was in the beginning of each semester I would make an appointment and go talk to all the lecturers and explain the situation and what I needed, and most were rather understanding and helpful. So they would give me a tutor from their department and this person would then be paid by the disability unit, and help me with the visual material like I explained above. Where this did not work out I had to deregister the modules, because like I said regardless of your determination you can only do so much, especially since your time is limited and you have to keep up with the pace of the work otherwise you are not going to make it. Fortunately all of my required modules did work out, the ones that didn't were extra mathematics and statistics modules I wanted to take but didn't actually need.
I do feel bad for blind people though who aren't as academically inclined, because as has been said before for sighted people can just go get training for a more practical job, but most of these are not going to be possible for a blind person to do. And ultimately you have to do something you enjoy, I mean you only have a limited lifespan and that's all you have, so what would be the point in spending it doing something you hate just because it is expected of you if you have other options. In south africa it isn't really possible to live off of the disability grant though, although that combined with the living allowance of a bursary is generally enough to get by as a student. So for us you either have to study or get a job, or else live with parents because you're never going to be able to support yourself otherwise. But if you guys can live from your disability money, I mean if I was in that situation and I tried to get a job and didn't succeed I wouldn't feel bad for getting that money. Like dark said you can still contribute in other ways without having to be employed.

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2018-06-22 09:45:34

My cousin is making money being pretty on Instagram. It's somewhat comparable to SSI in terms of maximum average yield, so it basically amounts to gas-money. (My parents are paying for his gas, but they are still in the college>>>everything mindset and pay for the amount of gas necessary to get there and back, and not a penny more, because "what else do you need it for?")
His brother is still in high school, but is deep enough into the FFA that I'd be shocked if there isn't a farm-related job waiting for him.
Haven't had the chance to bring up Randalph-Shepherd to Voc Rehab, and my attempts at Googling specific implementations of it in my state keep getting a lot of noise (it would seem that one Mr. Shepherd kidnapped someone's dog a few years ago. You are now thinking about Psycho Strike.). Am looking deeper into the FAA thing, though.

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

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2018-06-22 11:53:37

I'm working as a software developer at Ericsson Croatia for about a year, and last month I've signed contract for an indefinite time period. I never felt ready to become a college student, however I dedicated a lot of my lifetime to teach myself programming and using technology, and the final result is that one of my greatest hobbies suddenly turned into a full-time job.
My goal was simple. As a blind person, I didn't want to be dependent of others, and I wanted to earn my own money that will allow me to live a normal life and raise my family some day.