Future Reflections Fall 1989, Vol. 8 No. 3

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LITERATURE REVIEW

TAKE CHARGE A STRATEGIC GUIDE FOR BLIND JOB SEEKERS

Written by Rami Rabby and Diane Croft Published by National Braille Press, Inc., 1989

A Review by: Barbara Cheadle

[PICTURE] "Rami Rabby, who is blind, is a consultant on employment of the disabled. He has a B.A. degree from Oxford University, England, and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Chicago. The strategies he brings to this book result from his long experience as a personnel and training professional in business and industry, and as a seminar leader for the Job Opportunities for the Blind Project (JOB). Mr. Rabby lives in New York City." (Caption is from the back cover of the book.)
[PICTURE] "Diane L Croft is a marketing manager at National Braille Press in Boston, Massachusettes, where she promotes Braille products. She earned her master's degree in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy at Harvard University. She has complied and edited three books on computer access technology for the blind, as well as a Braille primer for sighted parents of blind children." (Caption is from the back cover of the book.)

This book review began as a simple announcement in the Hear Ye! Hear Ye! section of this issue (Fall, 1989). I had received a press release about it, but didn't have the book. Not wanting to delay getting the word out about Take Charge, I decided to publish an announcement and do a review later. Just as I was in the middle of completing the issue, the book arrived. I was delighted with it. It was everything I had expected, and more.

Take Charge: A Strategic Guide for Blind Job Seekers has been described by the publisher as "...apractical self-help guide built upon the real life experiences of blind people. The book is anchored in reality. ...It proposes strategies for dealing with a resistant labor market, and assists blind job seekers in unraveling the complexities of the labor market and of life in the workplace; analyzing jobs; focusing on one's true career interests and work-related skills; networking one's way to the personal attention of a hiring manager; probing an interviewer's state of mind and conclusions about one's candidacy; and strategizing one's way out to of frustrating work situations."

It is all that. But, as I flipped through the book, I knew I had to ask myself the question our readers would ask: "Is this a good investment for parents of blind children?" As I read, I quickly found myself agreeing with the authors who state that, 'This book is for you...the savvy parent of a blind child, who sees a brighter future."

True, many aspects of the book will not have immediate appeal to parents, especially parents of the young blind child. But there is much more to the book than meets the eye when one first scans the table of contents. For example, I immediately noticed that portions of the text were in bold type. It turned out that these were personal anecdotes of successfully employed blind people. Blind adults described, in their own words, strategies that worked, or didn't work, for them in their employment search. Parents and blind teens will particularly appreciate the many anecdotes dealing with early employment experiences; that is, summer and part-time jobs. Parents of infants and toddlers will find many questions and worries about their child's future laid to rest as they read about how blind adults overcame difficulties and found a place for themselves in the competitive job market.

Then there is the section in Chapter One called, 'Tips for Parents: Preparing Your Blind Child for the World of Work." This section, written specifically for parents, combines practical advice with a sound philosophy about blindness and work.

However, much that a parent will find useful in this book is not immediately apparent. Take the section called, "Handling the Blindness Issues." It isn't easy to decide when and how to tell a prospective employer that you are blind. The authors use a seminar discussion of this topic to demonstrate the different strategies blind jobseekers may successfully employ in handling this question. Although the discussion is confined to the employment situation, the savvy parent will immediately find an application for the strategies outlined. For example, your daughter wants to take ballet lessons. When and how do you, the parent, tell the instructors that she is blind? You are filling out an application for Boy Scout Camp for your son. What do you do with the question, "Does your child have any medical condition which will limit his activities? Please explain." For these situations, and many others, parents will discover that Take Charge has outlined strategies which can work for them as well as for blind jobseekers.

One particular passage from Take Charge: A Strategic Guide for Blind Job Seekers summed up, for me, the value of this book to parents of blind children. You will notice that the authors are speaking to the blind job-seeker, not to parents. But it only takes a little thought to understand how parents fit into this passage. After all, we are our children's first teachers. How well they are prepared to meet the world of work will depend largely on how well we have done our job. Here is the passage.

"You can't afford (we're talking dollars and sense here) to remain ignorant about the world of work. Not if you want to be part of it, because: 1.Ignorance limits your career options. 2. Ignorance reduces your chances of getting a job 3. Ignorance ultimately affects your job satisfaction. 4. Ignorance keeps you from developing a philosophy about how you, as a blind person, will compete."

Take Charge: A Strategic Guide for Blind Job Seekers is available from:

National Braille Press, Inc.
88 St. Stephen Street
Boston, MA 02115
(617)266-6160

$19.95...five-volume Braille edition (shipped Free Matter, add $4 for UPS)

$19.95...two, four track cassette edition (shipped Free Matter, add $4 for UPS)

$23.95...350-page paperback edition (includes UPS shipping)