Can you do

In the previous issue of Rolling I mentioned that the aim of the employment section is to share employment information. This should assist people with disabilities to find
gainful employment and also assist those who are already in a position to excel at what they are doing and move along in the organisation.
Over the next couple of issues we will address matters such as: how do I go about finding employment, where do I find posts, what format must my CV be in, do I disclose my disability on my CV or not, how do I plan for and conduct a successful interview, what is reasonable accommodation and will it minimise my chance at finding employment?
But before we look at any of those, I want to address the matter of having a positive and can-do attitude. I have witnessed time and again that a positive attitude outweighs a person’s disability.
In Matric I dreamed of decent employment and success. Despite a good Matric certificate, and although most people knew me in our town, employers would not readily consider employing me. They mainly saw my disability which prevented them from finding out who this prospective candidate was: my personality, career aspirations and what skills and traits I had to offer.
One thing I knew for certain was that I wanted a job and that I was going to get a job – no matter what – and no matter how long it took! I went for one interview after the other and eventually – after thirteen interviews – I was successful! Although the position was a junior administrative post it felt like I had landed the best job in the whole world. I decided from the outset that I would work hard and display a can do
attitude. I made it my goal to provide excellent service at all times and this enabled me to be a top performer.
My positive attitude truly allowed me to be successful at everything I was doing in the workplace. Every task I did I would try to see the big picture because it allowed me to see where my role fitted into the organisation as a whole. Performing my tasks with
passion and with a positive attitude caused good results. My colleagues and management no longer noticed my disability – they merely saw me as their colleague who was doing a damn good job! In fact, when an employee with a disability performs consistently by delivering good results, this automatically sets the pace of a team as
other employees are encouraged by it.
I could never understand what good managers and leaders meant when they said that, when they recruit candidates for a post, they recruit for attitude rather than for skill. This became a reality for me when I eventually had to manage big teams in
a large organisation.
I once employed a candidate who had all the right skills, but the wrong attitude. This employee would delay decisions that needed to be taken in meetings, side track the real issues, was not a team player and always found excuses for not completing tasks
by the deadline date. That is when I realised that attitude is an inherent part of a person’s personality and that negative attitudes can have detrimental effects within a
team. I also learnt that it is easier to teach a person new skills than it is to change a person’s attitude.
I work closely with recruitment centres and have often experienced that a person with a positive attitude, who makes an impression on the recruiter, gets the job. This is especially true when a person with a disability displays a positive attitude during the
interview and recruitment process. When the interviewer experiences this positive attitude it usually causes them to feel encouraged, which makes it easier for them to focus on the person’s ability and not merely on the disability. It says to the recruiter that this candidate with a disability faces and overcomes challenges and barriers
daily and, despite this, they choose to adopt a positive and can do attitude.
A can do and positive attitude is noticed. These employees add value to the organisation whilst also excelling in their career. Can do employees also tend to be passionate about what they do and do a job because they want to and because they want to make a difference within their organisation.
Recruitment guru, Carl Mueller, lists the traits of people who have a positive attitude in the workplace. They:
• are considered to be stars in the company because they offer outstanding work and can be counted on to hold up their end of the bargain
• work hard and it is apparent that they care about what they do
• are reliable and know that talk is cheap. When these people say it, they do it.
• may not always agree with you, but they are not disagreeable. They do not disagree just for the sake of starting an argument.
• Are not whiners and they do not complain a lot.
• are more than just a dent in a seat cushion.
Having employment or a job is one of the biggest fulfilments that a person can experience and it certainly adds to a person’s self worth.
Make sure that when you commence with the job seeking process, you become aware of your attitude. Become aware of how you will project yourself during the interview and ensure that your attitude will ultimately contribute hugely towards you being successful at finding employment.
A positive and can-do attitude at an interview will convince employers to consider appointing a person with a disability and to give them a chance to do and learn a new job.
A positive attitude is infectious – let it work for you and allow it to become the catalyst for your success. In allowing this, you do not only motivate yourself, but you also contribute to the organisation in a positive and constructive manner.
Would you like to share with me how your positive attitude has enabled you to be successful in your job? Send an e-mail to karensmit50@gmail.com or send a fax to 011 653 5138.

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