Finding a Path to Employment


What are the pros and cons of choosing on one’s own, without professional support?

The major advantages of choosing on one’s own without much support are:

  • That the individual may have an increased sense of empowerment. S/he can proceed without feeling overly “pushed” in any one direction. The job seeker is “in charge”.
  • By not having a (disability) vocational specialist, a person who proceeds on his/her own can reduce or eliminate discrimination that is common in the workplace. There are different kinds of stigmatizing behavior that can happen related to the workplace such as failure to hire or to promote, firing or disciplining the employee, micro-managing the employee, gossip, more subtle microaggressions, and social discrimination. Sometimes any difficulty the employee might have is “blamed” on the mental illness even if it is totally unrelated. (Wheat)

The major disadvantages are:

  • Even if the person uses Self-Directed activities, s/he can still benefit from having an Employment Specialist or Rehabilitation Counselor in their corner as expert consultants on employment, market trends, employer leads, the ADA, transportation, or connecting to peer supports.
  • Programs offering rehabilitative services and employment supports are more likely to have already established relationships in the community or have more access to prospective employers as well as training/education resources.
  • Research indicates that programs which offer active job development (employer development) services have a 500% better outcome rate for acquiring jobs. (Cook)
  • If the person does everything on his/her own and does not disclose, the employer cannot benefit from tax credits or the consultation from an Employment Specialist. (IRS)
  • The Employment Specialist can also help with job keeping and proper accommodations, which will lead to job retention. can also help with career exploration when it is time to move on.
  • Peer professionals are very effective in helping people at all stages of vocational recovery so it benefits the job seeker to have a peer supporter. (BUCPR)


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