I am not at that job anymore that I took one year ago. Partly because I want to be an entrepreneur, and partly because I am Deaf and they were unaccommodating. I thought they might be willing to work with me due to their progressive, liberal stance on social issues. I won’t get into details about the Disability Discrimination now because I’m not sure if maybe revealing this information could be used against me. In fact, all the while I had been employed at that job, I wanted to blog about issues I was having. But I was afraid that I would get in trouble for expressing my view of things regarding being Deaf in the Workplace.
My experience in the past, with 99.9% of my interactions in life being with hearing people, taught me that they don’t want to hear about MY WAY of doing things, being DEAF! Being given hearing aids and no sign language, the message I got was ‘act hearing’. I had no Deaf peers or mentors. I never learned how to BE DEAF! I only got in trouble all the time and never understood what the problem with everybody was.
I suppose because I can talk, that was used being against me. Co-workers then assumed I could hear and would get mad at me for not ‘doing my job’ (which was assumed that I heard my job task for the day, as they passed by behind me, speaking at me and I didn’t hear, for example). So perhaps I should stop doing hearing people the favor of trying to communicate with them if they are just going to be upset when I don’t hear everything. From now on, I will be Deaf (not speak or listen) and so if I hear or speak, it will be appreciated as a favor, instead of taken for granted. Before they would see the empty half of glass wondering why I didn’t act more ‘hearing’. But as I learn to act more Deaf, they can’t then get mad at me for not hearing, and will instead see the full half of the glass, appreciating when we do connect.
Well, so I got this driving job now and it is easier and less stressful. It was so exhausting trying to hear people at my last job and nobody understood how it took me so much more energy to do an eight hour shift actively listening. I just want to be myself and life should be easier as I learn to accept myself more and more. I wish society wouldn’t try to make me be hearing, but rather accept me for who I am.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Deaf are one of the last minorities to really be accepted. It seems OK to judge deafness as bad and everybody acts like it is OK to do cochlear implants in babies, etc. Well, the fight will continue as long as Deaf People live. My life continues, and day to day I just want to feel good and get along. But as long as hearing people continue to only expect to communicate with me on their terms, apparently I need to shake my head and correct them. Exhausting work. Maybe that’s why there are so few Deaf Militants. Is it a losing battle?
Tell me what you think. Comment and share. Thanks!