Recently someone once said something along the lines that jobs were the supporters of dreams.
It was not to say that that a job is the panicle of aspiration but a job is useful in providing the financial means to pursue those goals and aspirations that fulfil and drive us as humans.
This quote got me thinking (as a lot of things do) about the role of work in life. Ever since I participated in a leadership programme for those with Disabilities and/or working in the disability sector, I couldn’t help but look at the world of work through this perspective.
When thinking of areas where I would like to make a difference, this would have to be one of them. It is something that I have struggled with and know hard it is to find meaningful employment that supports my dreams both professional and personal.
But as I thought about the ways I could make a difference, I soon came to the conclusion that it was shifting popular attitudes that had to occur before improving the services that are out there.
Let me explain.
In my opinion, there seems to be a prevailing attitude out there that it is nice if disabled people work but finding them a job is not a matter of urgency because there is always welfare.
It is assumed that disabled people do not have the same financial responsibilities and/or dreams (such as home ownership, marriage, travel, etc) as the rest of the population and therefore organisations can take their own good time in helping people with disabilities to secure meaningful employment.
Of course, it is in the best interest of these organisations to take their time in placing people in work because the longer it takes the more money they get from the government.
If you believe this toxic lie that disabled people don’t want or need to work then this idea will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But this tyranny of low expectations seems begins long before individuals become of working age.
During high school (I know from my case) that working was never really expected and being a “long term welfare recipient” was just assumed as just being normal.
I still get asked today if I am on a government pension even though I have a slight disability and more than capable of working to support myself. This is even from those working in the sector.
I maybe reaching for the stars in thinking that advocating for improvements in service provision before changing attitudes would work but something needs to change and I want to be part of that.