If you have a disability, you are likely accustomed to living your life a little differently than other people. You may use assistive technology, rely on physical supports, or plan your daily schedule around unpredictable physical symptoms like seizures or panic attacks. You’re not alone: according to the U.S.Department of Labor, 19.3% of the United States workforce has a documented disability. Whether you plan to advance an existing career or begin a new one, there is a way to use technology to help your career fit your life. Read on for some great information from Workiton.
1. Learn Remotely To Advance Your Career
Some people navigate the world of disability from childhood, but what if your disability is new? If you’ve recently become physically incapable of performing your regular job duties and you know that your new disability is a permanent situation, it may be time to investigate switching careers.
Or perhaps you’ve reached the limits of your knowledge and skill set, and it’s simply time to go back to school to expand your horizons. Exploring graduate certificates and master’s programs, or even beginning a bachelor’s or associate degree in a new field of study can lead to many opportunities in your career.
If you are like many people, it’s very difficult to hold onto your current job, take classes, and juggle life and family responsibilities. Learning remotely is a great way to get through school and advance your career at a pace that works for you. It’s a flexible option you can tailor to your personal situation so that you can make the most of your education. What’s more, you can choose to attend part-time in many online programs, as most of them are created for people like you who have demanding lives and schedules.
One thing to bear in mind, for either working or learning from home, is data security. Whenever you rely on a computer or smart devices, you open your data up to potential threats. Check into ways to ensure your devices and information are safe and sound.
2. Explore Home-Based Business Opportunities
If you are struggling to manage your commute and an inflexible schedule along with your work responsibilities, consider jobs that allow you to work from home. Freelance writing, graphic design, digital marketing, and information technology are several careers that include viable work-from-home options. How you build your dream career depends on your interests as well as how your disability fits into your life.
If you can’t find something you love but you’ve got a knack for networking with people, consider branching out on your own and starting a small home-based business. Before putting your passions on the internet, though, be sure to have a solid grasp on cyber security, online safety, and understand how to protect yourself from identity theft. Also, be sure to check with your state for home business regulations, including forming an LLC to protect yourself and your assets, before you begin.
3. Understand Hiring and Employment Practices
Disclosing a disability to potential employers is a tricky subject — especially if your disability is not readily visible. First, make sure you understand your state’s nondiscrimination laws and your rights if you are a worker with a disability. Then, utilize online platforms that allow you to search for a job that matches your qualifications. Many of these platforms have areas in which you can specify that you are looking for full-time, part-time, and even remote work, and quite a few remote work positions encourage applications from individuals with documented disabilities.
4. Consider Using Assistive Technologies
Maybe you would like to remain an active member of the in-person workforce for as long as possible. Perhaps you prefer the company of others in a bustling office atmosphere to the solitude of a home workspace. In this case, check out the assistive technology options available. For those with physical disabilities that restrict their movement, devices like wheelchairs, walkers, and prosthetics can aid in a world that is otherwise difficult to navigate. Technology can also assist in other ways. For example, nonverbal workers with autism can use assistive technology to communicate their ideas quickly and effectively to co-workers.
You already know that you are far from incapable of contributing your thoughts and abilities to the workforce. Sometimes you need assistance, and that’s okay. When you find the right technology, support products, and a positive work environment, you can be well on your way to realizing your career potential.