Finding work can be challenging for my husband, who has hemophilia
Employer bias still exists, despite equal-opportunity laws
My husband, Jared, is a capable person. He has a degree in business management and excelled in elementary and high school, consistently ranking at the top of his class. He’s an accomplished swimmer, an excellent cook, a decent handyman, and a wonderful dad.
I’m not biased as his wife when I say these things. Many others share the same opinion about him. His friends admire his eloquence and the creative manner in which he expresses his thoughts. When he’s needed recommendation letters, his supervisors have always been eager to speak highly of him.
I’m not idealizing him, either. While he certainly has strengths, he also has imperfections. Though he’s patient in tough times, he also has a temper. He does better working for a boss than by himself. These are just some of the weaknesses he acknowledges. Yet his chronic illnesses— severe hemophilia B and a seizure disorder — are what stand out the most.
Ideally, disability shouldn’t be seen as a weakness. Society should accommodate people of all abilities and enable them to live fulfilling lives on their own terms. Unfortunately, reality presents a different scenario for him.
The struggle to get hired
Jared often expresses to me that his conditions put him at a disadvantage when it comes to employment. Although equal-opportunity employers exist and there are laws in the Philippines, where we live, to ensure fair opportunities for people with disabilities, their implementation isn’t consistent.
Many job interviewers still evaluate applicants based on perceived capabilities, or they rely only on résumés without giving people a chance to showcase their skills in real-life situations.
Jared was fully aware of this when he began conducting interviews at his current company. He designed his questions to gauge an applicant’s understanding of their role and how they’d fulfill their responsibilities.
Quitting a difficult job can be tough
Jared also struggles with quitting a job. Even when working conditions are poor, he’ll engage in prolonged and often paralyzing debates with himself about whether he should leave.
A simple pros-and-cons assessment isn’t enough for him to make a decision. Even when a particular workplace mistreats him, he’ll hesitate to transition to another company out of fear that no other employer will hire him.
Jared recognizes that he can be a valuable asset to any company he joins, as long as they see beyond his disability. He has an impeccable work ethic, and he’s always eager to delve deeper into things to expand his skill set. However, a fear of rejection persists, causing him to undervalue himself.
Consequently, he often remains with difficult employers longer than necessary, similar to how someone with low self-esteem might struggle to end a toxic relationship. He has many reasons to seek better opportunities elsewhere, but the fear of being rejected holds him back.
As his wife, I naturally want to support him. I wish I could reassure him that his fears are unfounded, but I understand that he needs personal experiences that contradict his long-held beliefs.
He must witness firsthand that finding a job is not more challenging for him than it is for someone without disabilities. And if he happens to fail, he should believe that it may not be due to his disability, but simply because he wasn’t the right fit for the role he applied for.
However, he needs to discover this truth with his own eyes and through his own personal experiences.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.