Sunday, December 03, 2006

Whenever they say this, what they REALLY mean is...

Almost one year ago, I wrote what has become one of my most popular posts on the blog. The post was entitled Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions. This article was a satirical look at silly questions I fielded in 2005 and some of faulty reasoning leaking through about why customizing employment was not a possibility for people with significant disabilities. The title Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions was borrowed from a popular feature run in MAD Magazine and written by one of the great social philosophers of our generation Mr. Al Jaffee.

Well anyway, I am proud to announce that I'm still MAD! I am sure this news comes as a great shock and surprise to many of my readers and colleagues. And so to further demonstrate that "you just can’t take the MAD out of the boy," I offer yet another satirical feature from the archives of this irreverent but socially relevant magazine. This classic featured in MAD was entitled: Whenever they say this, what they REALLY mean is...
Alright, so let's get started--
Whenever they say this:
Welcome to our sheltered workshop!
What they REALLY mean is...
Welcome to the Hotel California! You can check in any time you like, but you can NEVER leave. (credit to the Eagles)
Whenever they say this:
These tests and assessments are going to help us to get to know you better.
What they REALLY mean is...
We need to identify the reasons why you can’t possibly be ready for a job in the workforce.
Whenever they say this:
It’s very important that we take time studies to measure your productivity and readiness for a job in the workforce.
What they REALLY mean is...
People with disabilities must be held to standards of perfection before they are privileged to join the workforce with the rest of us perfectly productive and competent workers (credit to Bob Niemiec).
Whenever they say this:
According to our production time studies, you are working at 15% of the competitive standard on these assembly jobs.
What they REALLY mean is...
It would be too inconvenient for us to find a job in the workforce that better matches your interests, talents, and abilities so you can earn a competitive wage.
Whenever they say this:
We would like to place you into an integrated job in the community, but we can’t find the money.
What they REALLY mean is...
We would love to place you into an integrated job in the community, but we don’t want to lose the money we are receiving to serve you right HERE.
Whenever they say this:
We can’t place you into an integrated job in the workforce until you change your attitude and behaviors.
What they REALLY mean is...
I can’t place you into an integrated job in the workforce because I am unwilling to change MY attitude and behaviors.
Whenever they say this:
It’s way too stressful to hold a job in the competitive workforce.
What they REALLY mean is...
It’s far less stressful to live a life of unemployment and poverty! (credit to Joe Maronne)
Whenever they say this:
It’s really not very safe to place a vulnerable adult in the competitive labor force.
What they REALLY mean is...
You know, it’s just better to stay here in our perfectly safe center-based program where accidents and exploitation of individuals with disabilities NEVER, EVER occurs.
Whenever they say this:
I would like to help you find a job in the workforce but we just don’t have enough staff to do the job placement.
What they REALLY mean is...
I would like to help you find a job in the workforce but I am unwilling to change my job duties to be of helpful service to you.
Whenever they say this:
We would love to place you into an integrated job in the workforce but it’s going to take time and patience.
What they REALLY mean is...
We would love to place you but we really need you right here to help us maintain our productivity goals in the sheltered workshop.
Whenever they say this:
I would like to help you find a job in the workforce but you work way too slow to meet an employer’s competitive job standards.
What they REALLY mean is...
I would like to help you find an integrated job but I'm just not creative enough to locate or suggest an opportunity where job speed is not an essential factor to overall success.
Whenever they say this:
My recommendation is that you consider participating in our work adjustment training program so you can develop your "soft skills" and readiness for a competitive job.
What they REALLY mean is...
I have never read the professional research findings about how job skills and behaviors rarely generalize from sheltered workshops to competitive job settings. But what the heck, I'm going to try to change you before I place you anyway.
Whenever they say this:
I would like to help you find a job in the workforce but our community is lacking public transportation resources to help you get back and forth from a competitive job.
What they REALLY mean is...
You know, lining up transportation so you can get back and forth from a competitive job is very hard to organize and coordinate. Good luck to you!!
Whenever they say this:
Why would an employer want to hire someone with a significant disability?
What they REALLY mean is...
I haven’t read the recent Gallop Poll study that reveals 87% of the American public prefer to give their business to companies who hire people with disabilities!
Whenever they say this:
Many people with significant disabilities just aren’t flexible enough to handle the duties of competitive jobs advertised in the workforce.
What they REALLY mean is...
I have never heard of customized employment.
Whenever they say this:
Why would an employer want to negotiate job tasks around the abilities of people and offer a competitive wage for their labor or services?
What they REALLY mean is...
I have never been trained in strategies of business marketing or customizing jobs to widen opportunities in the workforce for people with significant disabilities. Go find a progressive organization that employs professionals with these skill sets.
Whenever they say this:
I am only trying to protect you from experiencing failure.
What they really mean is...
Gee, what if "I" failed in trying to develop a competitive job in the workforce for you?
In closing this piece, I thought I would share some related wisdom from the great Mark Twain. He once mused-
"It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble.
It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so."
..................................................................................
Aw c’mon now readers, why should I be having all of the fun? Feel free to add your own observations to my list of Whenever people say this, what they REALLY mean is... You can join in on the fun by clicking the comment section and sharing your own gems below.

2 Comments:

Anonymous A Graduate from Rise said...

Whenever they say "he can't work in the community, because he has behaviors" what they really mean is that he hates working in the workshop, has no other way to communicate it, and would love to have a real job that is customized to fit his interests and abilities.

When they say "you don't understand, she is really, really disabled," what they really mean is that it is they would have to work really, really hard to find the person a job and that would be really, really difficult.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous A graduate said...

Sorry, that last line should say really, really difficult FOR THEM.

2:29 PM  

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