The HK government has a work program that encourages employers to hire handicapped/disabled people to trial work at a company, and the government will reimburse 50% of the employer’s salary for a maximum of 6 months. I have hired a colleague who is deaf and could not speak to take care of warehouse inventory and general small deliveries to supermarkets, and running errands around the office. It really is a great experience and my other colleagues and myself included see him as a vital part of the business operation. Frankly speaking, we could not function without him around and we want him to stay for as long as he likes!
Lately, I needed to hire another assembly line worker to help with product packaging and met up with the labor department officer to view potential applicants. The other day, I met a candidate that has left quite an impression on me. Now in his 40s, he went through a train accident in his mid-twenties that left him in a coma for over 48 days. Miraculously he awoke from the coma, but because his brain has been deprived of oxygen, his speech is a bit slurred and there is a mild limp in his left leg. This gentleman has overcome so many obstacles and will continue to face job discriminations and obstacles for the rest of his life. Before the accident, he used to oversee the export of a warehouse, and now he is doing odd end jobs handing out fliers and leaflets, or doing manual and cleaning jobs on a part-time basis. I admire his ability and his willingness to continue moving forward with life and to immerse into society. Rather than sitting at home waiting for a handicap pension, he puts himself out there and completely learns to adapt to life base on his existing circumstances. One can only admire and respect him for his drive and determination, fortitude and perseverance in life.
The reason I am sharing this post is because there clearly are stigma and discrimination for the unfortunate few who are “different” from the general population. From what I have experienced, they work so much harder, more focused, and dedicated than a lot of “us” general work force. Not to stereotype, but I have been disappointed by so many interviewees that are in their mid and late twenties because of their lack of responsibility, drive, and outlook to life in general.
Over the media, it has been repeatedly broadcast that this generation is very spoiled and cannot take hardship. The parents think their children are “that” much better and “that” much more special, so if you do not employ their children or if their children decide to walk out unprofessionally, it is the job’s fault, not their children’s attitude or irresponsibility. It might also be because we are so lucky to be facing so many difference choices, possibilities, dreams, visions, we think the job we applied for is meaningless, not important, a mere stepping stone, something to wave off casually if something better comes along…or if we just cannot get up that morning. When typing this, I am well aware I am over-generalizing Gen-X, and since I am in my 20s, I don’t want to be categorized into this clout either. So please everyone, step up and tell the world that just because you are in your 20s doesn’t mean you live with a nonchalant bubble that doesn’t care. Show the employers your passion, your motivation, and your heart when you walk into the job. Show the bosses they have made the right decision to have hired you, don’t give them regrets in giving you a chance, frightened them into not hiring people in your age group.
As an employer, I have given job offers to a number of people who have just entered the work force, only to be disappointed by them not showing up, never picking up their phones, or just went missing. Many a time, some of them couldn’t even hold their composure or have the right attitude and start arguing and butting heads with clients and customers. I am the first employer to admit I stay away from the younger work force because I have been disappointed over and over again. Opportunities are given, but when not valued and appreciated not once, not twice, but on many occasions, any sane employers will stay away. Why bother wasting time and money doing job shadowing or even going through training only to have them not show up?