Blind Worker Motivation

Steve Holmes steve at
Wed Apr 10 15:06:37 EDT 2013

Thanks John for that bit of motivation.  I too have been fortunate to
be employed in IT work for over 30 years but I also have found it to
be complacent at times and probably have not obtained further benefits
I could have.  Well, there is always time to get more motivated and
work harder, learn more and do whatever to enhance my marketability.

I guess even us working folks need a virtial kick in the pants now and
then <smile>.

On 4/10/13, John G. Heim <jheim at> wrote:
> Oh, yeah, I believe you are talking about the time I went to a job
> interview and I already had like 20 years of experience in systems
> administration and programming. All this was on my resume, of course,
> but when the woman who was going to interview me saw that I am blind,
> she flatly refused to interview me at first. She wouldn't believe a
> blind person can use a computer. I had to convince her that the stuff on
> my resume was real. She went ahead with the interview but she clearly
> didn't believe a word I was saying. I sure wish I had had the presence
> of mind to let her send me away. Then I could have sued her dumb a**.
> I don't think there should be any question that prejudice  is a far
> bigger factor than anything blind people bring upon themselves. I mean,
> I look back at my co-workers over the years and there is no way they are
> any better than many of the unemployed blind technologists I know.
> Here's the deal... Blind people never get to skate by. Blind people
> never have things just handed to them. Blind people can't just show up
> for work every day, put in their 8 hours, go home, and expect to keep
> doing that for 20 or 30 years. You have to fight for every new
> assignment, every promotion, every raise you get.
> You might be thinking, "Well, everyone has to do that." Yeah, sort of.
> But the difference in degree is so great that it's astonishing. Keep
> your eyes open and you will see. The vast majority of people skate by.
> They just pretty much show up for work every day. The economy takes a
> downturn and they get layed off. But eventually, they find another job.
> A blind person has to fight for everything he gets. I am well aware that
> a lot of blind people just need a good kick in the butt. But if that was
> all it took to be unemployed, the whole world's unemployment rate would
> be around 80%.
> I'm not whining. None of this really applies to me. I've never been
> unemployed for a single day since I got my first job after college. I
> started each new job literally the day after I left my previous job. In
> fact, I feel  extremely lucky that I happen to be so good at making
> computers work. I didn't do anything to deserve that. I have worked very
> hard and I've been smart managing my career. But what if I wasn't good
> at computers? Where would I be? I don't know. But I do know a lot of
> sighted people who aren't particularly well motivated, not particularly
> good with computers, and who have never had a problem finding a job. I
> don't know any blind people like that. If you're blind, you have to be
> very good and very motivated or you are probably going to be unemployed.
> Note that I said *probably*. I know some blind people skate by. But like
> I said, its a matter of degree and that difference is huge.
> On 04/10/2013 03:20 AM, Tony Baechler wrote:
>> I agree.  John on this list has his own story of how he got hired by the
>> math department of the University of Wisconsin.  However, it makes a lot
>> better case if the blind person can read and write.  Let's take an
>> average sighted person.  I suppose there are exceptions nowadays, but I
>> can't imagine an employer hiring that average sighted person if they
>> don't have literacy.  For one thing, how would they fill out the job
>> application?  The blind person's solution would either be a sighted
>> reader or a scanner, but I would guess that most employers would find it
>> rather strange if a sighted person brought their reader with them and
>> explained that they can't read print.  I do agree with you completely
>> that the blind person needs to try harder and has more to overcome, but
>> I still think that literacy has a lot to do with it, regardless of being
>> blind.  Nowadays, most jobs require at least a college degree and I
>> don't see how a sighted person would get one if they can't read.
>> Granted, reading Braille isn't the same as reading print, but at least
>> the blind person can show the ability to take notes, phone messages,
>> etc.  In the computer industry, I've heard that it's a lot easier to do
>> programming with a Braille display, but I don't have one and I'm not a
>> programmer.
>> On 4/9/2013 11:18 AM, acollins at wrote:
>>> Hi Tony.  To a certain extent, you are right.  But while being able to
>>> read and write properly, and have good gramar is important, I would
>>> argue that the misperceptions, and misunderstandings about blindness
>>> are the larger problem.
>>> Most sighted folks just don't have a clue about what is possible for a
>>> blind person, and because they can't conceive of how a blind person
>>> functions through out his daily life, they aren't willing to give a
>>> blind person a chance.  Saddly, I've experienced enough of this kind of
>>> behavior to know that what I say is true.
>>> A successful blind person always has to try a bit harder, and make a
>>> better impression than his sighted counterparts.  I'm not crying in my
>>> beer, just expressing the facts.  Blind folks who allow themselves to
>>> feel sorry for themselves, just won't cut it, and there are a lot of
>>> them out there.  Saddly, like thesong says, "That's just the way it is."
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