Employment Series – Post 1

Working at the OfficeOver the next few weeks we will post 3 articles by BIST Member Mark Koning on steps to getting back to work

Step 1 of 3: Employment Disclosure

So I believe this to be the most important step in venturing into employment after brain injury and I don’t know if the full meaning of disclosure is really understood and carefully considered.

The definition of Disclosure: n. to make (information) known; to allow to be seen; the act or process of revealing or uncovering; a revelation.

Why do I disclose and when do I do it? These are probably the first questions that come to mind. The first Who would be yourself; and the When, as soon as possible. We put so much emphasis on the employer and we don’t think enough about ourselves; and we should

We need to think more about Self-Disclosure: the process by which one person lets his or her inner being, thoughts, and emotions be known. It is important for psychologic growth in individual and group psychotherapy. (And continually self-disclosing helps keep your mind fresh) I realize disclosing to yourself may sound a bit silly, usually I refer to this as self-awareness, but it is important.

After brain injury has occurred wanting to get back into work and a regular routine is understandable, but taking small steps and gradually building is probably best. Talk to your doctor and/or therapist; speak with close family and friends. Ask them and then yourself if you are ready? What changes have occurred in your life? What kind of barriers or challenges do you face? Can you handle full or part time employment?

As a person with a brain injury, I know how important it is to be honest with yourself; as well as how hard it can sometimes be. And as someone who works within an employment awareness organization I have seen people rush into something without having asked the question, Can I handle an eight hour shift? Can I stand on my feet for a prolonged period of time? Can I really lift the weight described in the job ad? Can I sit and stare at a computer screen all day?

The employment scenarios of job duties may change, but the fact that you need to be honest with yourself and really think it through, does not.

Once you’ve gotten through the process of self-disclosure, you need to ask yourself if you are prepared to disclose to your employer. It is suggested that disclosure is not necessary during an interview and only after you have been hired; but even then only if there is a need in order to get the job done and done correctly. When and if disclosing to an employer there is no need to go into details about your injury and uncover everything that happened or what you may currently go through.

In the end, disclosure is always your choice. The fact that we have an “invisible” disability doesn’t necessarily make it any easier. Knowing yourself and what you are capable of can help you become a better employee, but it is also uncertain the way in which an employer will react to the news. This is why I will suggest that taking on the job search alone should be avoided and in Step 2 I will discuss how to go about making things a little easier by getting some Assistance.

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.

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