Even though it is not exactly ideal, I have had my fair share of retail jobs. Many were hard to obtain or keep because of my learning, mental, and sometimes physical limitations. I found that despite the law that employers are not allowed to discriminate against disabilities, many “politely decline” me employment suspiciously after I mention anything about my disabilities. True, they may have simply found a better fit for the job, however, I only notice that I receive this reaction when I mention my lack of ability to do something like the cash register.
I never wavered when I continuously looked for a job. I started to realize that certain things I said either made or broke my chances. The methods I developed may not work for everyone’s situation but I am going to share a few that may help someone one day.
- Search for jobs at stores, factories, and offices that have multiple positions available. There is always a higher chance to be able to do at least one of these positions without accommodation. If I am confident that I will be able to obtain at least one of these positions, I will not have to worry about disclosing any information about my disabilities during the interview.
- Apply to at least two or three jobs a day. This way, I usually have a higher chance of obtaining at least an interview. Once I accept a position somewhere, I can freely take or decline any other offers during other interviews depending on how I feel about the position I was given such as compensation, hours, and the atmosphere.
- Try not to take too many days off until at least three to six months into a new job. I know there are a lot of things that happen in life, but when I first get a job I only request off if I have an already planned vacation, doctor’s appointment, or something else like that. I try my best to make it in when I am not feeling well but if it is bad enough that I cannot function, such as when my vertigo acts up, I call out. Even if I am running a few minutes late, I always make sure to call just in case. I also try to take extra shifts whenever they ask me to take if I am available to take them. These things help my employer know that I am reliable and give good references for school or other jobs.
If there is a store opening, and/or they are hiring for a seasonal position, apply! I have gotten a job with two companies that were opening stores and got the job since I applied early enough. I also stayed at three jobs that I applied to that were originally seasonal positions because they liked me. I used the previous three techniques which helped me keep those jobs.
These are only a handful of techniques that I use. I found that they really helped me and I believe they can help others like myself. I hope whoever reads this succeeds in finding a job and possibly a career.