Disability discrimination?

I have no doubt that it's generally harder to find work if you have some kind of health limitation, whether that's considered a chronic health condition or a disability, it may affect someones ability to find work.  I do however question whether discrimination is a legitimate gripe if someone has not bothered to gain skills, qualifications and experience.  Yes, all three before being engaged in paid employment.  And then, once gaining any kind of paid experience funnelling that money into further education and adding to your value has to be the way to go.

At the moment, as much as I would like to, it seems unlikely I will return to the world of paid work.  I've come to accept that however begrudgingly.  Lately though, curious about whether my attitude is normal I've been reading about other people who have limitations with their health.  Now, I know plenty of people want to work and can not.  I do not dispute, or begrudge, people needing a disability payment.  Sometimes people can not work and should receive extra support for medical care and their inability to work.

My alarm has been raised at discovering stories online of who people do not want to engage with medical services with hope for a cure.  Thus far, I read about a grandparent who demanded that his grand child be granted the DSP for depression.  The grand child had finished school and not engaged in any therapy.  I would have thought that wanting treatment for your grand child to treat the depression is actually a far more compassionate response.  One third of us will experience depression at any given time.  It is not unusual to be depressed and it is entirely possible with the help of therapy and life style changes to recover.  I do recognise that extreme cases may necessitate permanent time away from the world of work though with the right support most probably only need a temporary absence.

I met a man in his twenties over twelve months ago that had been told by his mother that he was depressed and he was granted the DSP due to witnessing alleged trauma his mother had been through.  After spending years on anti-depressants that made little change to his depression but did make him fat he decided that he wanted to lose weight and go to work.  Leaving his mothers' house was likely the trigger for his change of mind.  This young man completely changed his diet, started to come off his medication after he started to exercise at the gym regularly.

Now, I do think this young man needed some supportive therapy and help regulating his mood as I found him unrealistically positive and somewhat hyper.  This young man had more than enough energy to engage with the world of work but really needed someone to direct his energy into gaining skills. From what I saw of the job agency managing him they really only fuelled his feelings of being happy while completely ignoring the elephant in the room: his complete lack of skills, qualifications and experience.  Unlike the agency I stated the obvious in a private conversation and he said that he felt "hope" for the first time.  All I told him was that he could not expect to get a job just with a can do attitude, he actually had to do something to prove he had a can do attitude.

Today, I read of a case of someone who had looked for jobs endlessly for years with no success and claimed that once people noticed her disability they were disinterested.  All I could see was someone doing the same thing year in, year out and expecting a different result.  Yes, people may and probably do, get discriminated for disability but I suspect, as in this case, not having a qualification, skills or experience had more to do with a lack of job success.

The reality is that being honest and open with employers as I did in my previous life, meant that I was not discriminated against.  I worked harder because I knew that I had health issues.  I was clear about any time I might need off, that I was managing my conditions and that the likelihood of my health impacting my work was slim.  All of which was true at the time.  I had qualifications, skills and experience which really are key to getting a job in world where most of us are not born with a silver spoon in our mouths.  It's a competitive world out there and if you are managing your health then there's no reason you can not be the best person for the job.



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