Tag Archives: Employment

A Writer Goes Retail– A Lesson In Liking Your Job

17 Feb


I encourage you to read the column written in the New York Times by Caitlin Kelly. The author is a freelance writer, who recently took a part-time job at a department store. In the course of her time she learns about her profession of journalism, about the store that apparently does a good job of creating a friendly, productive environment and, most importantly, something about herself. She concludes her column:

My retail co-workers have chosen this job for many reasons. Some are college students, some already work at two other jobs, and for top managers, it’s a well-paid full-time career. It offers flexible scheduling, can be a lot of fun and — in an economy forcing millions to redefine themselves professionally — its expectations are manageable and clear.

With so many media companies struggling, hundreds of my peers are losing their handsome titles and well-paid jobs. Some of them, too, may have to redefine themselves, temporarily and part time, or permanently. Right now, at our store and for this company, I play on a winning team. It feels good.

“Are you still there?” my friends ask me, month after month. Luckily, I am.

Many of us will need to rethink careers in the midst of this crisis. One thing we should keep in mind is that liking what you do and who you work is important. Ms. Kelly’s journey can be a good guide for the rest of us.

Supporting Employment Of The Disabled

14 Feb


A new program to support the employment of individuals with disabilities is being launched in New York State, according to a New York Times post:

The School of Industrial and Labor Relations’ Employment and Disability Institute is collaborating on the project “New York Makes Work Pay,” which plans to make finding employment easier for disabled people. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services is sponsoring the initiative. Collaborators with the EDI include New York State Most Integrated Settings Coordinating Council’s Employment Committee, the New York State Office of Mental Health and Syracuse University’s Burton Blatt Institute, according to the Cornell Chronicle.

In the state of New York, there are over 1 million residents between the ages of 21 and 64 that have at least one disability according to the EDI’s 2007 Disability Status Report. While 78 percent of non-disabled New York residents in that age group are employed, only 34 percent of New Yorkers with disabilities have jobs.

In the short-term, the project is working to inform disabled people of their options. Golden explained that the project will create a website to make public the information disabled people need in order to return to work. One current issue Golden mentioned was that many disabled people incorrectly believe that returning to work would compromise their current health care plan. Since they do not understand the rules they elect to avoid any risk by not returning to work.

I wish the program managers well in this endeavor. It’s sad that the unemployment/underemployment of the disabled is so high. Studies show that the retention, productivity, absenteeism and health care claim activity of the disabled is on par, or better, than peer groups. As employers, we may be missing out on a group of talented people who could add value to our companies.

Disabled Unemployment Rate

6 Feb


I’d like to call your attention to a serious labor and social problem– the unemployment/underemployment of the disabled. The report published at Occupational Safety & Health Online gives the numbers:

The Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy released the first employment and unemployment data on Americans with disabilities this morning. This began a monthly data series that “will assist the nation in understanding how changing labor market conditions affect Americans with disabilities. Although it is widely believed that this group typically faces a higher rate of unemployment than individuals without disabilities, official estimates were not available until now,” the DOL news release said.

This morning’s release showed the unemployment rate for disabled Americans in January 2009, 13.2 percent, was 59 percent higher than the unemployment rate for non-disabled Americans in the same month, 8.3 percent.

“Now that so many Americans are suffering job losses, there is a tremendous amount of attention being paid to employment problems and solutions affecting the general population. Americans with disabilities typically experience similar employment difficulties, even when there is a robust economy. The economic downturn may just exacerbate their struggle. These data will go far toward efforts to increase the employment of people with disabilities,” John Davey, deputy assistant secretary for ODEP, said in the release today.

Are we missing an opportunity to hire people who are ready and able to work? As  the category of this blog post admonishes: Disability Isn’t Inability.