Thursday, March 01, 2007

I Know The Type

In checking on Charles Dawson's blog (The Meanderings of a Politically Incorrect Crip) today, I followed a provided link to this, Anne by Colin Cameron. Go and read it -- I'll wait.

Like many crips, I suspect, particularly those of us in the biz -- the service provision biz, that is -- I found myself feeling both angry and sick when I read Cameron's piece. We have been on the receiving end of services provided by "Anne" and her ilk; or we have interviewed for jobs with her, or she has been a co-worker.

In fact, it brings to mind a co-worker of a few years ago (a saint in the minds of many), I'll call her Lucy. Lucy had been a Voc. Rehab. Counselor, and a provider of services in the higher ed setting -- where I met her.

One day we were talking with our boss about interviewing candidates for an open position in our office -- a disability services office for students at Ivy West. One of the candidates had disclosed a disability, and Lucy said glibly, "Oh, we don't want anyone with a disability or with kids -- they'll be out sick all the time."

Seriously. Sitting there in my power chair, I just looked at her and looked at my boss, who looked suitably taken aback.

So many people -- I venture to guess far more women than men, but I don't have the numbers to prove it -- just fell into a variety of "helping professions" as the laws started mandating inclusion in education and later, in employment. Sometimes they were an unqualified crip in the right place at the right time. Sometimes they were social workers who wanted to "help the handicapped".

I can't say that they are all terrible, but I can say that 90% do more harm than good, when you add up all of the gains and losses for the "cause" at the end of the day.

Another "saint" I dealt with out of law school, was the Voc. Rehab. counselor -- the only one, apparently -- who handled law school graduates in San Francisco in the '90s. Even though I had graduated from law school, had worked successfully in business for over 10 years, had filled out reams of complex forms in my time, ad nauseam, she wouldn't let me fill out my own federal application forms, nor would she give me access to the names and phone numbers of the supposed leads she had for me.

As it turned out, every single one of the interviews she sent me on were "practice/informative" in nature -- meaning there was no job to be filled. But she didn't tell me that ahead of time.

Ultimately, I found my own job. But, my hatred of that woman is a vivid ugly memory to this day.

I insist on treating the students that I deal with as adults. I "help" by providing information, and advise based upon my own experiences. There are the laws and then there is the real world, and they only bear a tangental relationship to each other.

The don't call me Reality Check Woman for nothing.

1 comment:

Becs said...

There are types like this in, of all places, Human Resources in some very large companies. I have actually heard HR directors say, "I wanted someone younger with no kids." And if someone with a "black" name applies in a very white company, it's likely the resume will be put aside. One company had aisles of handicap parking spots and all of two people with disabilities in the company.