How to navigate the business world with a disability. When you have a disability, it can sometimes be challenging to figure out your place in the world. Although there has been a ton of progress when it comes to making industries accessible, there are still more barriers than most people might realize. At the end of the day, finding a job that suits your skills while being truly accessible can be a surprisingly difficult undertaking.
However, you might be surprised to learn that the business world is often an excellent fit for people with disabilities. This isn’t to say it comes without obstacles, but there are plenty of opportunities as well. AAPC Publishing is committed to ensuring that people on the spectrum and have other disabilities are empowered to reach their goals. Here’s a look at how to get started on your path to a career in business.
Earning Your Degree
The first step on the path to business success is usually earning a degree. Yes, there are success stories out there of people who managed to hit it big without going to college, but you’ll find they’re famous because they’re rare. For the most part, the education and connections you build through studying for a business degree will empower you to go far.
However, going to college can be an intimidating prospect for many people with disabilities. Yes, nearly every campus promises accessibility, but earning a degree through traditional, in-person means is never going to be the right fit for some people. Fortunately, online degrees are making higher education accessible to a whole world of people who may not have been able to pursue it otherwise. If you earn your business degree online, you’ll have the freedom to study when and where works best for you. This can make earning a degree more feasible than you’ve ever realized.
Building Your Network
As you pursue your degree (and throughout your career), professional networking will be one of your greatest assets. Many people misunderstand the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” and think that knowledge isn’t important. It absolutely is! However, networking allows you to make the connections necessary to prove you have that knowledge. Without a strong professional network, you’re at risk of going unrecognized, no matter how much talent you have.
In addition to networking through courses and professional networks in your industry, you should look into joining disability-focused networking groups, as well. This is your best bet for getting the resources and connections that you need to thrive. Other people in the disability community can help you discover which companies are most accessible or open to hiring diversity. They can provide advice for overcoming unexpected workplace obstacles, and they can provide solidarity and guidance should you ever face discrimination for your disability. Community is a powerful tool — don’t be afraid to use it!
Creating a Brighter Future
Again, all industries are still in the process of becoming accessible for people with disabilities. However, most still have a ways to go. When you enter into the business world, your very presence makes the space more welcoming and accessible for other people with disabilities. Much of the barriers to gainful employment for people with disabilities have as much to do with unconscious bias as it does anything else. The more evidence the industry has that people with disabilities have plenty to offer, the weaker that bias becomes, making the world more accessible for everyone.
If you’re looking to build a career you can be proud of, the business world may be a good fit for you. Focus on building up your skillset and making good use of your community, and you can find a job that suits you perfectly. In doing so, you might just make the world a little more accessible for others down the line.
For more empowering content for those on the spectrum and their loved ones, visit the AAPC Publishing blog today.
About the Author
Linda Chase created Able Hire to help people with disabilities build rewarding, successful careers. As a person with disabilities herself, Linda understands the challenges people with disabilities face when trying to get hired. She hopes Able Hire will be a resource for people with disabilities seeking jobs and for hiring managers seeking a better understanding of what people with disabilities have to offer. ablehire.org
The Hidden Curriculum of Getting and Keeping a Job: Navigating the Social Landscape of Employment
A job is important to the self-identity of many people. Adults on the spectrum often have difficulty getting and keeping a job. This practical and easy-to-use book provides necessary yet often untaught information on a variety of topics related to...Read More
Who knows better about developing the talents of those with ASD than Temple Grandin! This updated and expanded edition of Developing Talents Careers for Individuals With Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism considers the continuing dismal employment statistics for individuals with ASD....Read More