toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

November 11, 2012

visual disability discrimination

Doreen is visually impaired and while she's not legally blind she feels she might as well be as far as everyone else is concerned, particularly recruiters, and in that respect she considers she has a real disability.

"Everyone in my family has poor eyesight requiring bottom of a bottle type glasses," sighs Doreen, "and being called 'four eyes' is something my sister and I grew up with, and my parents had to suffer in their time, too."

"I face discrimination in all areas of my life," explains Doreen. "With glasses I can see well enough to read and get around, and yet I've been treated like an alien all of my life."

"It's true what they say about boys not liking girls who wear glasses - especially glasses with thick lenses like the ones I wear," says Doreen. "I can't see without my glasses and no operation or contact lenses can fix the particular problem I have."

"I'm 34 and still living at home and I doubt whether I'll ever get married and have kids," says Doreen. "I suppose the only guy who might be interested in me would be a blind man but then our children are likely to be visually impaired, too, and I wouldn't want that."

"Both mom and dad are visually impaired and my sister and I inherited their problems," explains Doreen. "I don't blame them for having us - sort of - but having this problem has made my life terribly difficult."

"I once had a job with a bank answering the telephones and it was a great job, I flirted with all the male callers and had quite a bit of success romantically," says Doreen, "but when the bank restructured I lost my job and since then I've had no luck finding a new job."

"I sound great on the telephone," says Doreen, "but when I turn up for an interview I strike trouble. Some people are just not used to seeing someone wearing thick glasses. I guess they think I look funny and deserve to be laughed at."

"The alternative is to go to the job interview not wearing glasses -- but then I'm liable to fall over something!"

"Granted," says Doreen, "some employers may consider my visual disability as an occupational safety risk."

"If there was a fire or a crisis my glasses may get lost and I wouldn't be able to find the exits," explains Doreen.

"I know at the bank where I worked there was definitely a policy against hiring people in wheelchairs because assisting a wheelchair bound person in emergencies was considered a risk to the safety of others."

"Most of these safety factors are merely excuses - if not absolute poppycock - and are more related to small-mindedness than valid reasons for disqualifying people with disabilities," says Doreen.

"Basically," says Doreen, "when a job doesn’t require the skills of whatever body part or function that is missing or malfunctioning, it shouldn't be a hindrance to employment - but try telling that to employers!"

"Because of my visual problems I've developed myself in other areas," explains Doreen, "but it really doesn't make much difference when the chips are down."

"In times of high unemployment people like me don't stand a chance," sighs Doreen.

"I'm not bad looking but these glasses really make me look ugly. I've changed the frames lots of times but it's the thick lenses that look awful."

"I think employers prefer to hire attractive people, especially women, and I guess I don't stack up to everyone else when they meet me."

"All things being equal, why would they hire someone with four eyes when they can hire someone with two normal eyes?"

"Growing up wearing thick glasses has been tough for me," says Doreen. "First, you have to get over being called 'four eyes' by everyone, and then you've got to get over having to wear the damn things all the time - even in the bathroom."

"And then there's the problem of glasses falling off and you can't find them, or stepping on them and breaking them," laughs Doreen.

"I've done that several times in my life and now I make sure that I always have at least three pairs of glasses at home for emergencies."

"I dream of medical science advancing to the point where I can have transplanted eyes or something," sighs Doreen. "I don't mean getting the eyes of someone who's died, I mean artificial eyes that look like and act like the real thing."

"It will come, I know it will, and I just hope that it will happen in my lifetime."

"One boyfriend I met at work told me that I was quite beautiful without my glasses," confides Doreen, "but he didn't stay around for long. He was really nice, but I think he had just broken up with someone and wanted a shoulder to cry on more than anything else."

"He didn't say so, but I felt he was embarrassed being seen out with me."

"Everyone does stare at me," explains Doreen, "and while I'm used to it, a new boyfriend would naturally find it uncomfortable."

"It's not like people stare at me with admiration," laughs Doreen. "They are staring at me because I look like an alien with weird eyes."

"That's why finding a guy at work is my best option because they have time to get to know me and like me for who I am rather than what I look like in glasses."

"Sure, I have a sense of humor and can laugh at my situation," says Doreen. "I'm better off than a totally blind person, and one day medical science will be able to transform me into a raving beauty - until then, I just have to put up with stupid people who judge me by my glasses rather than my soul."

"If I can't get new eyes before I turn 40," laughs Doreen, "then I can grow old gracefully with the knowledge that nobody cares about what you look like when you're old and grey."

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