My Favorite Piece of Career Advice (and How I Tailor It to Job-Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired)

woman at computer

I don’t know if you follow the CareerConnect Pinterest Board, but I must say it’s quite entertaining to peruse. We’ve posted blog posts with topics ranging from general career advice to counsel specific to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Basically it’s a one-stop-shop when you’re in the mood to glean career guidance.

Today I “pinned” (that’s the term for adding an image and accompanying web link) a Forbe’s article entitled, 20 Things 20 Year Olds Don’t Get. I’ve noticed that title on many occasions when I scan Pinterest, but I’ve previously ignored it because I find it too incriminating; it’s off-putting even though I’m past my 20s. Today I ignored that inner voice.

I can’t say it’s my favorite article as it is mildly condescending, but the 20th “thing 20 year olds don’t get” is my favorite piece of career advice. Listen to this quote:

Your Reputation is Priceless, Don’t Damage It – Over time, your reputation is the most valuable currency you have in business. It’s the invisible key that either opens or closes doors of professional opportunity. Especially in an age where everything is forever recorded and accessible, your reputation has to be guarded like the most sacred treasure. It’s the one item that, once lost, you can never get back.

Bam. That’s good. It deserves a re-read.

Consider not only its general networking implications for all professionals, but also the implications specific to job-seekers who are blind or visually impaired:

  • Carefully decide when to disclose your disability, preferably never hiding it. If you disclose your disability after hiding it, the potential employer may no longer trust you.
  • Put careful thought into requesting accommodations when it’s time. Know what you’ll need; know associated costs; and be reasonable. If you don’t know what you need or its cost, or if you are inflexible, your reputation will quickly corrode.
  • Don’t delay learning accommodations and skills (such as Orientation and Mobility) that enable you to accomplish your job responsibilities. If you begin a job without mastering blindness-specific accommodations and skills, your job performance reputation will suffer.
  • Embrace your diversity. Your confidence, or lack thereof, is contagious and will establish your reputation.
  • Become fluent in expressing nonverbal communication. Appropriate body language demonstrates care, concern, confidence, connectedness, and even trustworthiness. Its use may not be meaningful to you, but I assure you its use will convey your reputable and likable self to others.

And so I close my thoughts with the reminder: Your reputation is priceless, don’t damage it.