When job-seeking, it can be very hard for people with mobility or communication disabilities to navigate hiring managers’ fears or biases. These situations are challenging even when the disabilities would in no way compromise a person’s professional capabilities — even when the prospective employer or hiring manager sincerely has no bias relative to working with “differently-abled” people.
Today’s legal environment includes obligations for employers to make workplace provisions in support of people with disabilities or health problems. It also makes it risky for prospective employers to have straightforward conversations with candidates about these topics. So hiring approaches today may incorporate some degree of unspoken “risk management.”
Even the most compassionate hiring manager may struggle to choose the atypical candidate — so job-seekers with disabilities have to hustle extra hard to connect with opportunities, stand out from the crowd, and give employers confidence that they can perform with excellence.
I have helped people with these situations in the past. Maybe I can help you.
Immigrants can struggle to navigate the language, norms and nuances of job-seeking here in the States. They may be well equipped intellectually and academically, and have extraordinary drive and work ethic, but they may also find our hiring processes and work cultures to be foreign and intimidating. It can be especially challenging if English is not their first language. The difficulty is multiplied for people who are sensitive or shy or lacking in confidence as they become part of our American story. And if people have limited family here or communities of support, it can be a very lonely journey.
It is not just the primary challenges of picking a career and finding employment, there can be secondary challenges with succeeding in a new workplace. Young immigrants face the same “onboarding” hurdles as other people, but with increased degrees of difficulty.
I have coached young immigrants before. Together we have experienced how helpful it can be to have a well-traveled American businessperson assisting as a coach and mentor. The principles and approaches I use to help other clients achieve their goals related to livelihoods and careers are quite applicable to the special needs of immigrants. They just need to be tweaked a bit based on the circumstances at hand.
Not unlike immigrants, when young people are the first in their family to pursue skilled or professional employment they may encounter situations, expectations, processes or norms of behavior that are foreign and intimidating to them at the outset. Risk-taking, learning curves and challenging circumstances – especially setbacks – can be hard for a young person to process if they are inwardly operating from a place of uncertainty or lacking confidence. They may lack cultural fluency on dozens of topics that co-workers or managers take for granted. They may also not have trusted family members or community friends who can give them experience-based guidance along the way.
I have worked with young adults in this situation before as well — people who seek accomplish things that may have been out of reach for their parents and grandparents. Together we have experienced how helpful it can be for them to have a well-traveled adult assisting as a friendly behind-the-scenes advisor. An attentive guide can help them understand the workplace environment, consider risks and opportunities they encounter, answer potentially embarrassing questions, and play each day with preparedness and confidence.