Disability Support @ IBM

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Disclaimer: this article is my own opinion  and research and doesn’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, beliefs,strategies or opinions.

Hi all,

It’s always daunting when you’re a new grad looking for a job, scheme or placement.  You wonder if you’ll be good enough for the role and how it will suit you.  This is even more pronounced when you’re disabled or have a long term medical condition. Obviously it’s illegal for a company to discriminate based on disability but it’s still pretty scary as a disabled person entering the corporate world!

I’m disabled and believe me I was terrified when I was applying for graduate schemes that my health would affect a potential employer’s view of me even though I was never asked if I was disabled in the application process. I was concerned if I didn’t mention my disability during my application that I would appear dishonest to IBM, but I also didn’t want to mention it and thereby put them off me by seeming ‘difficult’. Invisible illnesses are always difficult to explain and you never know how they’ll be interpreted by people.

In the end I found myself telling IBM during my interview. The response was that I didn’t need to worry and that individual projects would work things with me there and then. This was such a relief; even though I knew I was qualified and capable for the scheme, i’d still been so scared of being judged!

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Since joining IBM,  I have undergone an occupational health assessment where IBM talked through my condition and how and when it might affect my working life. They considered my issue individually and together we came up with an agreed list of allowances which have helped me  with working here. For example, my condition is aggravated by travel and fatigue so it was decided that I would work remotely or only on projects deemed a suitable travel distance from me!

That and the other couple of allowances agreed upon have made so much difference to me as a person and employee. My current project understand that on bad days I may need more breaks and trusts me to be reasonable with this. I am deeply grateful to work at such a caring company and have been so pleasantly surprised with IBM’s reaction to my disability, with after all, doesn’t make me any less capable for the grad scheme!

IBM are very open about their understanding of disabilities as you can read here; http://www-03.ibm.com/able/access_ibm/disability.html

Positive Appraisal of IBM’s disability support: http://www.disability-marketing.com/profiles/ibm.php4

Ruthy xo

Disclaimer: this article is my own opinion  and research and doesn’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, beliefs,strategies or opinions.

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