Welcome to the second part of the Intergenerational Deaf Forum. The topic: Work.
Version with translation into international sign (IS):
Also I, as a person with a disability I was looking for a job for a long time. This is actually in Poland – I was working in Germany on a contract employment contract – but in Poland it is my second employment contract, where I could find employment, in a sheltered workshop. I couldn’t t find a job anywhere. I was working as a barista, I worked at different jobs. However, I didn’t support myself, but I didn’t make it and it was the communication barrier was too strong.[Tomasz]: Okay, please.[Bartosz]: Before I say, I wanted to ask: 70-80% unemployment among 6 million (hearing impaired)?[Tomasz]: Deaf, only.[Bartosz]: So six million …[Tomasz]: With the ruling. Who has officially a disability certificate, which is about a million people, that’s 70-80% of that.
On the other hand, I have spoken to various friends who don’t have jobs. So out of curiosity I asked them, whether they want to work, whether they are looking for a job. Mostly, most of my friends answered, That they are afraid to find a job, because they don’t want to lose their pension. And it’s so absurd a little bit, That it’s either work or pension. And they don’t want to lose their pension. And it’s so stupid, Because some amount of salary… so that you don’t lose your pension, and here employers don’t always listen and they always exceed. This causes them to lose their pension and they are afraid to lose their pension, and the pension is necessary for them, so that if they lost their job, then the pension would come back. And sometimes it happens that if they start to work, they lose their pension – that’s sick. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say, but this is a sick system, but that’s how it works here in Poland.[Marek]: This one colleague told me that she sent a CV and they invited her to a personal meeting, live. “You’re the one who can’t hear! Aha, well then we can’t take you on”. And this girl read well, she was deaf, but overall she read well, she wrote well. She had no problem with that, “We are very sorry. I’m sorry, we can’t, because you can’t hear, because for example can’t answer the phone and I’m sorry, we can’t accept to work”. And then deaf people feel discriminated against.[Tomasz]: OK. Please.[Robert]: Previously, when I didn’t have a job, I signed up for the project, I went for a job interview with the company, I asked what the conditions were for deaf people, for people with disabilities. They said 7 hours of work, Weekends off. I asked, I inquired. He explained everything to me. I signed the employment contract, then, when, I came to work it turned out that I work 12 hours, Saturdays and Sundays. I said, “what do you mean, earlier we talked and there was something different. It is such a scam”.[Tomasz]: Agnes.[Agnieszka]: My experience, general -. of course I have friends … but whatever. In the beginning, when I was employed I first had to participate in the project “Activation of disabled people” and were looking for people for this project. After completion, I started looking for a job. A lot of people were applying for jobs, but they didn’t write in their CV that they were deaf. CVs were without this information. It was often repeated. It was only at the meeting that it turned out, that it was deaf. But before that, nothing on the news. If I write that I am deaf, I will not get an answer. Whether it’s because of deafness, or prejudice, or lack of awareness – I don’t know.[Tomasz]: Wait. Please.[Paulina]: Very often I have just I’ve encountered this kind of problem, That people, not only deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf, but also with different disabilities, are very often afraid to inform at the stage of sending their CV, that they have, for example, a hearing impairment. And only during the interview recruitment process it turned out or even later – that is, during the work, when they had a clash with reality, that they didn’t understand the messages, That they didn’t understand, for example, how they received telephone calls. And very often such employer nevertheless was a bit disappointed by the fact that he was not informed earlier. At least that’s what I heard.
But there was also the other side of the coin, such that the employer specifically took on a probationary period persons with hearing impairment, to simply say “Thank you, but…”.
I have a friend like that, who has a very extensive CV in terms of internships, a lot of three-month internships and no employer wants to take her on, on the grounds that she is so poorly … if she writes, it’s beautiful Polish, but people don’t understand it, because she has a little bit of articulation problems, also because of her disability, due to paralysis of the face from the past. And she is very disappointed, because neither in her profession she could not find a job, nor in a job of any kind, which would allow her to survive with dignity to survive until the first one.
Second situation from Poland: I have a friend, who has taken up nursing studies. The lecturers and a few other people said: “You’re not fit to be a nurse. because you are deaf, hard of hearing. How can you take care of patients, if you don’t understand, you can’t hear. You have to be responsive.” And here it seems to me that this is also this change in public attitudes, as to whether you can do given professions or not – this is the first thing.
And the second thing, though, is that predisposition. Nevertheless, you have to individually answer the question for yourself: “Am I suitable for this profession?”. “I’m disabled, so I can’t do it.” just in terms of: “Do I have the the competence, the skills to do this?”. For example, in the case of being a pilot: Am I capable of being a deaf pilot? Am I able to jump over these limitations, that are associated with it, That, for example, I will not hear an announcement alarm from the airport?[Mark]: One more thing, the work. There’s a hearing person, there’s, say, four, four hearing people. And now the question is, right? It’s easier for the hearers to communicate. We know quickly how to follow a command. It’s different with deaf people. We write and think. And the hearing people look at that time and don’t know, whether that person understands or doesn’t understand. And so they further explained. And okay, there’s this problem. It’s a little bit so it takes time, to contact somewhere a hearing person with a deaf person, that hearing people have somewhere easily made quickly. That’s the difference between deaf and hearing people.
And by reference, this is a handicap on the part of the public, not hiding, because in my past, my first job was an internship at the municipal office and it was not extended to me because of that, that I simply could not answer landlines. This does not change the fact that the work office work was reliably performed. First and foremost is the fact inability to talk on the telephone. Well, it is, frankly, such a humiliating feeling, it’s such a restriction …[Eugene]: Can’t you talk on the phone? And you see… barrier. [Jolanta]: …and here, as I say, for the deaf it’s a lot of restriction,[Jolanta]: all the more so because there’s a lot of competition, but for them … (inaccessible).
In the Netherlands, a lot of deaf people work as lorry drivers, and here in Poland there was such a barrier. One deaf person succeeded, and now more and more deaf people working as a lorry driver, like 20 people are already working in this position. Well, we ourselves are trying to to get around these barriers, not just stopping on that barrier, we have to keep our heads up forward, we have to make an effort.[Agnieszka]: I want to add, my brother, hearing impaired, is now working on a tirade, and before that it was really very hard. Why? C+E driving licence? I think it’s an E. He was going to the doctor and he kept he kept getting refused. Four doctors refused him permission to work. He could talk on the phone, he talks – actually he’s almost like hearing. How was that possible? I can say, that he is like a hearer, maybe 30 decibels has a hearing loss, was like hearing. I wonder where the barriers come from. Doctors don’t allow such people to work as drivers, but he normally he can hear after all.
I, for example, had this situation, when I was working abroad, that I was talking to another person and the distance between us was several metres. And instead of walking from one person to another person, I just read it out what the other person was sending me, signals by talking and I was just colleagues I was telling, that “they said we have to do this”, instead of going back and forth like that. Also you have to look for the positives of being person with a hearing disability.
But that’s this problem, this nuance, to inform the employer already at the stage of sending the CV. Because actually if our CV is not accepted, then we are not able to prove that they have discriminated against our CV, on the grounds that they can give a thousand other reasons, and it is known that discrimination overt discrimination is punishable … I mean, not that it’s punishable, but we just we can appeal against it.[Tomasz]: Aga.[Aga]: I recently started a company, I’ve been working in this industry for a while now, but the clients encouraged me to start a company. I recently set up a company, focused on translations, on sign language classes. One client suggested, That I should teach Polish Sign Language. And I immediately said, that in the classes I don’t use my voice at all, then the client was surprised And why if I am deaf and I’m not going to speak. These people need to develop, if they want to sign well. Oh no, you don’t have to, you must speak, okay, we can’t. That means that you do not want to cooperation, because it is impossible. I run my classes that way. It shows me that actually these people have no awareness.
For example, in these situations deaf people have some needs of their own. For example, on their CVs they record the fact that they are deaf. They can actually refuse it because of the reason that it’s a deaf person. If I give a CV and I get a reply that they invite me for an interview job interview, fine, we start talking phonically. And you have some other articulation voice. Nothing was written down, It was not written down, of course in the CV. And then I admit that I am a hearing impaired person. And ok. And then he doesn’t answer anything anymore such a person, but the conversation goes on normally.[Tomasz]: I have heard – in addition to these proposals of yours – as one deaf person wrote in the CV, what financial benefits does the boss have (by employing a deaf person). We have such a time that every boss counts every penny. That’s why you should know, that if you write in your CV: “If you employ me, then you have an 8k PLN subsidy from PFRON (National Found for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled). Second: “every month you get extra 1200-2000 PLN”. The boss, reading such a CV, he will reject hearing people, because he has the benefit of a deaf employee.[Eugeniusz]: Yes, that’s what happened in the plant …
And so I worked for a year and I feel, that I was at a bit of a loss, because it doesn’t count towards the pension and so on. They knew themselves, so it was already a bet protected, that you can’t do that. But the deaf needed money, so they agreed to these conditions. It’s really a difficult situation. It’s difficult unless sometimes they took it on later.[Tomasz]: How do you solve that? First of all, I think… Please.[Karolina]: I think that through some campaigns, that you are implementing as the Deaf Forum – that will be one milestone. Whereas once again – raising awareness, because I have worked in various places worked and very few people know, still, even though I’ve been hitting with training courses, some webinars we have, some organisations, it still needs to be probably take and cuss to the employer’s head, or just to the employee. Well, you actually have to do brainstorm a way out of this.[Anna]: To get into just this kind of environment of ordinary employers, whereas he doesn’t do this kind of actions only in his environment, just to get it out to other employers, more outwardly, and not so much in your bubble.
And I will say from my own experience, that this distinctiveness and this identity is important for people or deaf people, hard of hearing, or with other conditions, people with disabilities, whether intellectual or motor, etc. It is, however, no less important, that this access, because it makes it possible at sporting events, for example, a deaf person, who competes in swimming, e.g. I started, it was thanks to that conditions were adjusted to me, there were hearing impaired girls and we had equal opportunities, because, for example, we wouldn’t hear the whistle, where it is in standard competitions, and here, thanks to that, the judge waved us through. And we had a level playing field, that we don’t hear these sounds we don’t hear at the start. But that way we could look and take a slightly different approach to the start. So like this.[Anna]: I agree. And I’m aware of that, but I’m aiming more for that, to try not to treat at least these sports as such, strictly as such professional, just more in the form of such actions of getting to know each other, and not such strictly rigid rules.[Karolina]: This is something else I would add, that there are people like the hard of hearing, They go to the sports club, as much as there is this action, but they’re already aiming in the IMPs to be they are mixed in the future, like my colleague says, that it’s evolution, that already these changes are coming in. We just need a little bit of time. But a good idea, actually.[Tomasz]: Aga, please.[Agnieszka]: I wanted to to refer to the topic of Annie: integration of deaf and hearing, hard of hearing. I will say approx. My experience over the years is that, that these groups are completely disconnected, but that’s how I see it, I’m asking myself if that’s going to give any result, if we combine these groups, for example hearing people are interested these topics, for example, on my tiktok I collect approximately 8,000 people, who are watching me. I talk about the subject of sign language, they also ask where to meet. I’m happy with that, but I’m looking, that there is an opportunity for integration, But sometimes it depends on the person, whether that person is interested in it. It’s really an individual thing. It depends on the person.
And that’s why the crux of the problem really what we’re talking about here, is a change of attitude of the hearing public in general or there in general any society in which we function. Because if we don’t change attitudes, so what if there are these regulations, if nobody is going to out of goodwill want to, and sometimes really good will, this is sometimes probably the most important part, because okay, there are regulations etc, but the issue is, to be open to change all of that, actions towards just being open and accessible to these people.[Tomasz]: It’s interesting that on the one hand regulations Poles are able to get around them, and on the other hand in Europe Poles have the biggest heart, they are most willing to cooperate, to help. Why? Why is it being pulled apart? Very curious.[Anna]: I think, here is a lack of awareness of certain regulations, That we are entitled to. That’s important as well.[Karolina]: Why is this coming apart? That’s how I think about your question. I think it’s a question of culture, that we are going to develop. The Polish mentality is coming in.[Weronika]: I think in general you need is just awareness, to make as many as many people hearing, to talk about it as much as possible and to show positive sides and that they change attitudes, so that they are not afraid of contact also with people who are hard of hearing, deaf and that they feel comfortable around them. You have to talk about it as much as possible.[Dominika]: Because if I can’t hear, it doesn’t mean I’m biting or infecting.