Here’s the second of three articles by BIST Member Mark Koning on the steps to returning to work.
Step 2 of 3: Employment Assistance
After you have self-disclosed your brain injury and have prepared yourself for the possibility of disclosing to your future employer, my suggestion is to seek out assistance in the job search process. I have written about discussing your venture into employment with your doctor or therapist, friends and family, but I am now referring to specific employment assistance as opposed to friendly advice.
There is quite a lot out there to help with the job search, you just have to look, and in my opinion it is always better to have a second pair of eyes and someone who knows the ins-and-outs of the labour market on your side.
Ontario March of Dimes, for example, has employment services to offer that I don’t think a lot of people are aware of. Unlike places such as Seneca’s Workforce Ready or Job Skills, both of which offer great employment services, Ontario March of Dimes specifically lends services to people with disabilities. Another one is JVS Toronto who are ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) service providers; and through ODSP you can also apply for income supports if you find that you need financial help.
There are many different employment service providers that you can work with and you can locate their services and organizations through Employment Ontario by filling out the requested fields, or by visiting a local disability-awareness site regarding Employment Service Provider organizations or for north of Toronto regarding Employment Services Provider organizations.
Once you connect with an organization, you can obtain the assistance of an employment service provider/employment consultant. Disclosing your brain injury here is not a must but I believe it’s beneficial and your provider is obligated to keep your information confidential. And remember, these people are your assistance in the job search and there to help you, not necessarily to take over and find you a job while you sit back and relax. If you want someone to do look for you then you need to look for an employment (temp) agency/recruiter that will charge an attached fee and/or take a percentage of whatever you make through your temp job. A temp job can last for quite some time, but it is still temporary, not permanent.
The choice is always yours and some people prefer temp agencies and temp jobs. But the employment service providers I am referring to come at no cost.
These Providers work with you on a one-on-one basis and can not only assist you in looking for work, but in building your resume, referring you to other free programs that can help boost your skills, preparing you for those forthcoming interviews and possibly even attending your interview with you and acting as an immediate reference, if you so desire. Your provider can help you disclose your disability (after you’re hired, I suggest and your provider likely will as well) to your employer if you wish and then to help them understand what accommodations you may need, something I will discuss in more detail in Part 3 of this employment series. Providers can be there for you and your employers to help make the transition back to work go smoothly.
(As I discussed in Part 1, disclose only what is necessary in order to help you with the job at-hand. Your provider I’m sure will have suggestions to offer as well).
About Mark Koning:
Mark has two passions in life: Writing and Giving Back through volunteering, donating and advocating in any capacity he can to help out.
First, he decided to further enhance his skills by working toward obtaining a Creative Writing diploma through the Stratford Career Institute; graduating with highest honors.
Next, he decided to learn about his own learning disability and brain injury, (acquired at the age of 6) growing through his writing, speaking with others and his work with One Voice Network, a not-for-profit organization that works to build inclusion and awareness for job seekers with disabilities.
For further information on Mark visit: www.markkoning.com
Mark’s hope is to share, learn, grow, and maybe offer a little inspiration along the way.