Reasonable accommodations and covid-19

When I was first attempting to get a tech job, I thought of job hunting as my full-time job. I threw myself into it… and got nowhere.

I am disabled and I need reasonable accommodations. Here are the things I need in order to be successful at work:

  • Remote work
  • Flexible work hours

That’s it. That’s the list.

These things are advertised by many companies as standard “perks” of working there. These companies typically don’t hire anyone without many many years of experience, or they only offer remote work and flexible schedules to people who have the most seniority with the company.

And then… covid happened.

Suddenly, employers bent over backwards to accommodate remote work for all. Seemingly overnight, companies were embracing working from home. Companies that claimed they couldn’t let anyone work from home because it would interfere with company “culture” were switching to a fully remote model without a significant (or any) impact on productivity. Suddenly, workers without enough seniority to work from home were able to work from home like their more senior colleagues.

Suddenly, Zoom meetings were the norm, and the ability to work around “Zoom school.”

Suddenly, positions that employers insisted could not be done remote (despite only requiring a computer and internet connection) were made remote.

As if by magic.

Not only did this become no big deal, but the change was instant, without giving workers any grief about it, or requiring proof of their needs.

Disabled people everywhere witnessed this.

Disabled people, who have the highest unemployment rate of any minority group (and whose oppression intersects with many other identities which are also more likely to experience high rates of unemployment), watched companies to everything in their power to help abled workers continue to work and be productive.

Now, as workers are starting to return to their office environments (too soon, if you ask me, but that’s another post for another time), disabled people see that too. We see that as quick as it was to switch to a remote model and become an accessible workplace, we see companies throwing it away, in a race to reinstate the status quo.

Costco’s wayward catalogues

We keep getting Costco weekly specials to a PO Box we don’t use much… never mind that we aren’t shopping at Costco (Life Pro Tip: we have a membership only to access their reasonably priced Delta Dental plans), but also we don’t want wasted paper and space in our tiny post office box.

I suggested my partner find a phone number on the catalogue to call, to get us off the mailing list. After waiting on hold for 30 minutes, he finally got a human, who insisted she couldn’t talk to anyone but me because my name was on the account. (Never mind that I know my partner is an administrator of the account too.)

I’m in the middle of a busy work day. He passed me the phone and I quickly rattled off our addresses and my birthdate to “verify” who I am. (Never mind that the address is on the envelope, and my DOB is public record nowadays…) She offers to make my spouse an administrator so he can handle this BS, I thanked her and handed him back the phone.

He’s explaining that we don’t want paper mailings at any address on file, and the rep is insisting that we opted out of paper already, but cannot explain why we are looking at a brand new mailing received this week. No offers to ask someone higher up, just the suggestion it might be because we purchased goods from (we haven’t, and never mind that her phone number is the one on the catalogue to opt-out)… so nothing was resolved.

Talk about bullshit jobs…