Living with a Disability and Keeping Your Job










Are you having difficulties keeping your job because of your disability? If so, you need to read this BLOG. Having a disability is tough enough in life, but when we enter the workforce, we have to be careful not to allow our problems to become other people’s problems too. This is where you need to take a close look at yourself and how you do things.

See my 5 tips to help you keep your job:

It is important for you to find a job that you are good at doing. If you don’t like being around people, then teaching in a school might not be for you. If you are scared of computers, then working with technology might not be the best fit. But if you are good with money and enjoy math, then the banking industry could be a perfect fit. It is important for you to find a job that matches up with your past experiences and things you enjoy. Search the internet, newspapers, and network asking friends and family members if they know of people looking to hire in your field. Make sure you have a resume ready and be up front and honest about your strengths and how you can add something special to that position. Always dress for success and leave a lasting impression.

Once you have that job, it is important to build relationships. Make sure you allow people to have a chance to get to know you. If you want to move up in the company and need more leadership experiences, then find someone who will allow you that opportunity. Get to know everyone you pass in the hallway. Call them by their first name. Find out something special about them. Praise them for the littlest things so they want to be around you more. If they approach you with a smile on their face or they leave you with a smile on their face, then you are doing something right. It is ok to laugh. It is not only important to get to know them, but also open up a little and allow them a chance to get to know you too.

Learn as much as you can and become the expert on everything you can in your field. It would be great that anytime someone wants a good idea or wants to learn something they come to you. That shows others that you are valued for your expertise. Share your knowledge with others and offer to help others if they need it. Show them that you are a team player and willing to do whatever it takes for the team to be successful. Next time they want something to get done, let’s hope they think of you to get it done.

I have always believed in being open and honest about living with my disability. It has been a way for me to educate others as well as prove to others that there is more to me than just Tourette Syndrome. I never said to be open and honest about every single thing going on in your life. That would be crazy. But for me it was best to educate others about TS. They wanted to know. They needed to know. And I had a chance to shine because I let them know. My disability is part of who I am and if they accepted me, then they needed to accept my issues that come with my disability also. By me taking the initiative and being open and honest, this made a huge difference in my life because we discussed the elephant in the room. You need to decide if this is the best approach for you. You might start small with your team or people that work directly with you, then open it up on a larger scale.

I tell my wife that I don’t go to work everyday, I go to school. I love what I do and I do what I love and I believe if you bring that passion to the workplace, then it will only benefit you in the long-run. Give 100% every single day and be excited about what you do. Passion is very contagious. If others see you are passionate about doing your job, they will follow suit. People enjoy being around happy people who enjoy doing their jobs. It is always nice to have a person with passion on the team, because others know that passion produces high expectations, low failure rates, high attendance rates, and an overall positive attitude for the team.

These 5 tips could be the winning combination you have been looking for to help you keep your job. If you have other tips, please share!



13 Responses to “Living with a Disability and Keeping Your Job”

  1. Pete Post Says:

    Hi Brad,
    Professor Pete Post from Trinity Christian College once again – I am always so impressed when I come to view your website and want to be able to continue to share your ideas with my education students here. I have just ordered your dvd and also want to express my appreciation for providing a teaching guide for it as well.
    This summer I am teaching an adult accelerated course designed to earn teachers an endorsement in special education. I am going to assign my nine students to read your thoughts on living with a disability and keeping a job. One of the more recent trends in special education is to get students and families actively thinking abut transition to a life beyond school as early as age 14 (or even younger). After reading your article I would like my students to post the top five things they would intend to teach their students about getting and retaining a job. Thanks for stimulating this conversation and I would love to hear your take on their suggestions as well.
    Best wishes as you continue to be a significant ambassador for students with various needs.

  2. admin Says:

    Hello Pete,
    Welcome back. I love your ideas and look forward to hearing their conversations. I’m honored that you can use me as a resouce to help stimulate conversations for your class. Be on the look out for the DVD, I just placed another order as they are going like hotcakes! Cheers Brad

  3. Joanna Says:

    I have to say that your five tips will be helpful not only for my students with disabilities, but for all my students. I would also make sure I told them to stick with their choice. I don’t want them to give up. If there is a job they want and they get it, I want them to know it is okay if it isn’t perfect from the get go. Most of our lives, we find that the things worth while are the things we have to work for.

  4. Carol Joyce Says:

    Those five tips are wonderful. I definitely believe those five tips should be the guidelines for everybody in the job market. I have a daughter with a disability who is working various jobs this summer trying to find her passion. She loves cooking and preparing food in the kitchen. She is a hard worker and never gives up. I believe once you find the right job and have the passion to pursue it the rest will fall in place. I have many friends with children who have disabilities and I will forward your article to them. Thank You

  5. Carol Joyce Says:

    The top five things that I would teach my students would be……
    1. Explore all options
    2. Try different jobs
    3. Accept Change
    4. Work Hard
    5. Give it your best and be yourself

  6. Carol Joyce Says:

    Those five tips are wonderful. I definitely believe those five tips should be the guidelines for everybody in the job market.I have a daughter with a disability who is working various jobs to find her passion. She loves to help with cooking and is a very hard worker. I believe once you find the right job and have the passion to pursue it the rest will fall in place. My five tips for my students would be…..
    1. Explore.. Look around at different careers. It’s a big world out there.
    2. Be Yourself… You are the Best!
    3. Accept Change…Nothing Stays the Same
    4. Ask for Help… We don’t know everything.
    5. Try Your Best…You can do it!

    I have a big circle of friends who have children with disabilities and I will forward your website to them. Thank You

  7. Ray Says:

    I like these choices very much for my students as well. Having a passion for what one does is so much more important than the salary. Finding a fit is so crucial for all people- if it feels like work, you’re in the wrong field! It should be an extension of who you are- and that fit isn’t always what those around us expected it to be. Along with being an expert on the job, I’d add in being an expert in how you learn/work best. I know many people who understand their job well enough, but can’t seem to structure their work environment in the little ways to fit their needs. Whether that be having a small radio in your office, or seeking a position where you are interacting with lots of people. I’ve marveled this summer at the construction workers renovating my school- almost all wear an iPod to help keep their focus during mundane tasks!

  8. Jessica Says:

    I believe that the five tips that you have posted are great for all students. I also think that your list should include be your own advocate. As I have learned while working a few jobs, I was able to move up in a job because I voiced my opinion and showed that I was the best qualified for the job. Being your own advocate will show your employer that you are educated in your field. Also, one thing to remember is that you need to be happy with your job choice; I know that teaching is one reason I wake up in the morning. If you show your passion within your work, your peers and employer will see it.

    I do like what Carol has listed as her five tips. I think that all career bound people should look at both yours and Carol’s list. These are some things that many people take for granted and don’t think before they do (just getting a job to pay the bills).

  9. Donna Says:

    I’ve enjoyed viewing your website, thanks for the great suggestions for students. Here are a few more ideas that might be helpful.

    First find the job

    Assess your abilities. What activities can you do without interference from your disability? Make a ist of job possibilities based on your unique abilities.
    Plan and Organize Your Job Search. Take advantage of the free tools on line available to help you plan and manage your job search (job search engines).
    Attend Job Fairs. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with employers that you might not be able to meet any other way.
    Contact government agencies that serve people with disabilities. Often, a state employment office or vocational rehabilitation center can assist with job hunting and placement.
    Don’t be discouraged. It takes a lot of work for anyone to find a job.

    Then keep the job

    Cross train: Be willing to learn other jobs.
    Take courses to increase your knowledge base-,If needed,
    Be flexible regarding your work schedule
    Follow the rules – dress codes, use of personal cell phones, etc.
    Show respect for your superiors whether you like them or not.

  10. Barb M Says:

    I found your advice and tips to be useful for all adults and students entering the workfield. I work in Sp Ed in Chicago Public Schools just now they’re starting to have eighth graders start thinking about life-after high school. I especially believe urban students need to explore their ideas about future careers to give them incentives, goals and most of all hope for a bright future. For example, my student with MMR loves animals and wants to be a vet but there are other possibilities for her to look at in related fields such as a groomer or vet tech. Children need to be taught that if there are many opportunities in sports or whatever they love to do. Plus this teaches students to be proactive in their life.
    I also agree if you are passionate about something you will try harder to be successful.

  11. Amanda Says:

    As I read the five tips to help keep your job, I too thought that these tips are not only useful for job-seakers with disabilities, but anyone seeking employment. As I brainstormed additional tips that could be useful for students with disabilities I discovered that these tips would also benefit any person seeking employment. Below are a few more suggestions I felt were also important when seeking and keeping a job.

    -Don’t become discouraged
    -Collaborate with co-workers
    -Share ideas and expertise
    -Never stop learning
    -Believe in yourself!

  12. Stacy Says:

    I find it very important that everyone looks for a job that they truly love. I think so many people find jobs that are just that a job, something they have to do. I think that your five tips are very important for everyone, we all need to make choices in our lives that we can live with. I especially like your last one, no one likes to be around unhappy people, so why don’t you do something that makes you happy for a career that is where you spend a majority of your day!

  13. Martha Finleton Says:

    I was surfing the site above and located a really fantastic website named that can really help you if you are disabled. This website has really good information that can help people with disabilities who live in the US apply for Disability Insurance and win. This website offers a lot of resourceful tips and information where you can get free information on how to successfully apply for and win SSDI with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

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"Brad Cohen is a walking billboard for the idea of living positively. He is like a cold drink on a hot day--refreshing, energizing, and likely to put a smile on your face."
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"Brad Cohen's story is a triumph of hope, determination, will and relentless good humor."
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Purdue University

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