It’s always daunting when you’re a new grad looking for a job, scheme or placement. You wonder if you’ll be good enough for the role and how it will suit you. This is even more pronounced when you’re disabled or have a long term medical condition.Obviously it’s illegal for a company to discriminate based on disability but it’s still pretty scary as a disabled person entering the corporate world!
I am disabled. When I was applying for graduate schemes I was so worried that my health would affect a potential employer’s view of me even though I was never asked if I was disabled in the application process. I was concerned if I didn’t mention my disability during my application that I would appear dishonest to IBM, but I also didn’t want to mention it and thereby put them off me by seeming difficult.
In the end I found myself telling IBM during my interview. The response was that I didn’t need to worry and that individual projects would work things with me there and then. This was such a relief; even though I knew I was qualified and capable for the scheme, i’d still been so scared of being judged!
Since joining IBM, I have undergone an occupational health assessment where IBM talked through my condition and how and when it might affect my working life. They considered my issue individually and together we came up with an agreed list of allowances which have helped me with working here. For example, my condition is aggravated by travel and fatigue so it was decided that I would work on projects which were closer to where I lived!
That and the other couple of allowances agreed upon have made so much difference to me as a person and employee. My current project understand that on bad days I may need to work from home and trusts me to be reasonable with this. I am deeply grateful to work at such a caring company and have been so pleasantly surprised with IBM’s reaction to my disability, with after all, doesn’t make me any less capable for the grad scheme!
I hope this reassures any potential applicants with disabilities that IBM really will care about you as an employee 🙂
Until the next time!
-Ruth, Technical Consultant@IBM
IBM are very open about their understanding of disabilities as you can read here; http://www-03.ibm.com/able/access_ibm/disability.html
Positive Appraisal of IBM’s disability support: http://www.disability-marketing.com/profiles/ibm.php4