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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Being Realistic or Selling Myself Short?

A friend pointed me in the direction of a job in my town that pays significantly more than what I make now at my job in another town. When I first looked at the job notice, I dismissed it outright because the position would require more interaction with the public than I have in my current situation. Then I looked the ad over a second time and realized that on paper I have all the qualifications they require. I got to thinking...Perhaps the acoustics in that library would be better than where I work now. Hmmm....was the only thing holding me back [gulp] me?

I decided to send in my application after all. When I was writing up my resume and cover letter, I realized that I had accomplished quite a bit at work recently and that cheered me up enormously. I'll have to wait and see what response I receive.

How has your hearing loss impacted your employment prospects? Do you think it would be better to stay in a job that requires less interpersonal communication or would it better to go for the better paying job close to home and then ask for accomodations if needed. Each option has its pros and cons. Let me know your thoughts.

Update #1
Here's a selection from one of the comments I received so far that I found particularly inspiring: Don't ever let your hearing stop you doing something you really want to or need to do. - Mog

Update #2
I didn't get the job. I never heard from the library but I did hear from a coworker that someone else got it and when I checked the online job posting had been removed. Oh well. To be honest, I have mixed feelings of disappointment and relief. All the same, I really appreciate all the supportive comments I received when I questioned myself as to whether or not I should have applied for it.


Anonymous said...

I feel when looking for work it's affected my chances because of my hearing. I can't proove this, but this is how I feel. I can't get a job now like I used to when I was hearing, so I feel I'm stuck where I am.

As you know from my blog. I was continously job hunting for 3 years. Out of that I had 3 interviews. 2 of them were a year apart with the same employer who in the end just used me. The one where I had 2 interviews would have been something new that I enjoyed when I did a work trial. The other would have been more hours, in a job I was qualified to do.

I've applied for loads of jobs I was qualified in between all this, and heard bugger all. I even had my support worker from the RNID help me with one. But heard nothing. She rang them to see why they had not phoned me as promised. And their excuse was a lot had applied, and the position has been filled. They said they'd keep me on their list for future reference. But I never heard anything, even though they advertised other jobs. No surprises there.

But although I've given up job hunting now. It doesn't mean I've given up on some things. I'm doing a writing course, and hope this year I will have success in a book being published.And in the past I gained new experience in being self employed for a year. This was by accident when I was making cards.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks, Liz for your comment. It sounds as though you've had a tough time finding job opportunities. I hope your writing course will lead to getting a book published. That would be a fantastic accomplishment.
All the best,

Anonymous said...

My opportunities were altered by my hearing loss. As some things were not available to me then I had to look for alternatives. What wasn't available was working in MRI and on OR, this also meant that I earned less. I could have complained as this action was illegal but sometimes it's easier to avoid that sort of action.

My current employer and immediate colleagues just would not accept that my lack of hearing limited what I can do, they insisted others worked around it.

Go for the new job, look at accommodations, maybe a microphone and telecoil switch, or FM. Don't ever let your hearing stop you doing something you really want to or need to do.

kim said...

Wow! This is so timely. I'm struggling this very issue myself. My library cluster will be a 'pilot' for staff restructuring. The different will be people in my position may either be put on the front lines-- doing a good share of what the librarians are doing OR will be stuck in the back room. Since I'm already working with the public quite a bit due to my 'techie' designation, I have been told that I am the type of person they're looking for to work with the public. It means more training and a pay raise. Yippee! BUT-- given the reality and nature of my progressive hearing loss, I have some real reservations. I have only had these aids such a short time. Before getting them I was really struggling with the old aids. I know it will only be a matter of time before I begin to struggle with these too. Having said that, I really prefer working with the public- (when I can hear them!)

(e said...

Good for you! I am glad you went ahead and applied for the job.

I cannot think of a time where my hearing affected me looking for or applying to jobs. If I were to apply as a bartender or a waitress in a noisy restaurant, then I would be concerned.

Of course the most recent jobs I have looked for were in deaf education. However, there have been a few times where other people would tell me not to apply to some jobs because of my hearing. I even had another teacher tell me that I should stick with only signing deaf and hh students--because with my speech skills I would not be a good model for deaf and hh students in an oral or mainstreamed school environment. (My speech is really good I think, people can understand me fine; speech does not have to be perfect it needs to be understandable). But, I never paid any mind to them.

I hope you get the job! Good luck. :)


SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks for your inspiring words, Mog. I am going to edit my blog post to include your quote!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Kim,
Don't write off the "back room" totally as I have really enjoyed my work in technical services - something I could never have imagined when I was a reference person. But if you are offered more money and training for the public service job which you find more appealing, than why not go for it? Perhaps your employer would consider switching you to the other job if it didn't work out for you.
I enjoy helping people too "when I can hear them". Yesterday I did well with my hearing at the desk, while today I struggled. I also had a long stretch with few library patrons which I found very boring. It reminded me of why I like my back room job - there's always something to do :).
I'm glad you understand why this is a dilemma. I'll be interested to know how your situation works out.
All the best,

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi (e,
Thanks for your comment and welcome to my blog. I headed over to yours and read a few of your thoughtful posts. I'm looking forward to reading more very soon.
For other readers, here is (e's blog link Eh? What? Huh?.

Taylorstales-Genealogy said...

My dear friend,STOP selling yourself short. You can do anything you want to go girl!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Nothing like reading something in a blogpost that you haven't been told about, right? I want to talk this over with you. Thanks for your support!

Sara Chapman in Seattle, USA said...

Well, I'm not deaf, just the usual age-related hearing loss where people do seem to mumble more (especially my own dear husband), but it's ALWAYS best to try for something you want. What's the worst that could happen? They could say no, right? It takes courage to reach but it's kind of a muscle that gets stronger and easier each time you do it. You go, girl.

And I love the icicles!

Sam said...

I can sympathise - there have been moments when I've thought - "hmmm, they expect me to man (or woman!!) the telephones - I can't do that, so I wont apply". But now it matters less to me - particularly at the level that I am at now. What does make me laugh now though is that I was once rejected when I applied for a post at a deaf charitable organisation because they said I was over qualified!! (sometimes you can't win!!)

Anyway - you apply for whatever you want!! You deserve it!

ms toast burner said...

Sarah, I'm so glad that you decided not to sell yourself short and to send in an application!

Fingers and toes crossed! :-)

JR said...

Three comments:

1) Realistic is the word hearing people use when they realize the deaf person is better qualified.


Hurdle 1: Getting an Education
Hurdle 2: The Job Hunt
Hurdle 3: Access at Work
Hurdle 4: Cultural Conflicts
Hurdle 5: Dealing with the Realization that you will probably never get the recognition, support, or teamwork that you need from hearing people
Hurdle 6: Forgetting about them and chasing your dream anyway

3) Your concern was more interaction. While I understand that - I'm a deaf person teaching English to hearing kids in public school - that can work out over time. You figure out rules and you develop a system. I was afraid of that, but I didn't have to be. I hope you get the job - we need more reflective Deaf professionals like you.

Some people develop thick skins - other people break down. You have to sort out

Jonathan said...

To be honest, when I first read your blog, I thought oh no, she didn't. Then, I continued on and thought, oh goodie, she did. Finally, I reached the end of the blog and saw the update and thought, oh good she's been told off!

I'm so glad that Mog suggested you to not let your hearing loss to get in the way of doing what you want to do.

I've recently started to really take Mog's message home and apply it to my own life, after telling this to other HOH people who I knew. I've recently returned to a swimming pool for the first time in over 20 years. Luckily, there's an instructor at where I work who knows some basic sign language and knows that I need to be nearby so that I can speechread. Now, she's offering some lessons for me to improve my swimming, learn how to breath underwater, and more.

And, I used to worry about lots of things. Then, I realized that life is too short to worry and that I could use my energy on what I want to do instead of worrying and neglecting life from myself. I've recently signed up for a hip hop class for adults at the local college. My first class is on Tuesday. Sure, I'm nervous, but I'm sure it'll work out - hopefully better than Mog's tai chi experience.

Go for it! I do hope that you get it. Not only would you get more money, but also you'd get to spend more time at home with yourself and your family as you won't have to commute as much! Plus, when you start working there, more people will be more aware of HOH issues!

JaTara said...

I've been hearing impaired since birth (and studying to be a librarian as well -- yippee) and as far as my employment prospects, I don't think my hearing impairment has affected it much.

Then again, I'm mum about the whole hearing impaired thing until they call me in for an interview. I'd rather let my qualifications and experience speak for themselves.

Yes -- go for the higher paying job with the shorter commute. IMO, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you'll adapt to the people-facing position.

HOHCanadian said...

I'm a HOH library associate. Been at the job since my mid 20s. Was made aware of my hearing loss by my colleagues in my mid 30s. I've been losing my hearing ever since and now am profoundly/severely hearing impaired and wear 2 BTE Phonak digital aids.

I am currently typing from the Research Help Desk. Working with patrons hasn't been too difficult. To my relief they've been accommodating and patient. Over the years the questions have been similar so I grasp most of what patrons are saying. I "face read" i.e. I need to look at there face for gestures to fill in what they are saying. Occasionally I don't understand and patrons are very good to repeat and if I still don't understand they will write. Once in awhile someone comes to the desk with a very soft voice, or a very thick accent. In that case, I explain about my hearing loss and find another colleague to help them. I can't remember anyone ever getting impatient or rolling their eyes or sighing.

Virtual Reference has been a great form of reference for me. I have asked my manager to give me as much time as possible on VR. It has it's challenges in terms of explaining things in writing only (Chat service), but it's wonderful because I don't have to hear to help.

Regarding the phone, I do have a lot of difficulty with it, even with the telecoil function on my hearing aids - it keeps kicking in and out. There are enough associates in the pool who will answer the phone so I'm fortunate that it's not a problem.

It's exciting that you have new opportunities. I hope it all works out for you.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

I am really humbled by all the supportive comments I've received. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and comment on this situation.

I'll let you know what happens next.