A recent Kiplinger.com article reports, “the job market for people with disabilities is booming” as Americans with disabilities are returning to the work force. “More than 35% of the disability community ages 18-64 were employed in September 2022, the highest rate since the U.S. began tracking this figure in 2007.”
Understanding the psychological impact of work can help adults with disabilities make better decisions about what type of job to pursue and what type of work environment to select. Everyone values the benefits of working differently — what seems important to one person may not matter to another. Help individuals with disabilities understand their values and which work benefits are most important to them so they can make smart employment decisions.
Cognitive behavioral therapist Alice Boyes shares seven benefits of work below. Encourage Aktion Club members to rate these work benefits from most important to least important. Understanding this will help them make decisions about their future workplace.
- Work can provide friendship. For individuals who struggle to establish and maintain relationships, work “can provide built-in friendships.”
- Work can provide a sense of stability when life is rocky. “If your work is stable and you’re good at it,” the experience can keep you levelheaded when other parts of life are stressful.
- Work can provide an intellectual challenge. For individuals who enjoy solving problems and conquering challenges, work offers the perfect outlet.
- Work can help you maintain a positive identity and self-worth. A healthy way to experience these feelings is through work projects that enable self-expression. Successfully completing these projects helps build self-awareness and self-worth.
- Work can provide the funds for you to do the activities you enjoy. Some people “rely on their outside interests for fulfilling their psychological needs.” For them, earning an income allows them to participate in things they love.
- Work can help you understand the world, other people, and yourself. While at work, we’re exposed to people who think, problem solve and behave differently than we do. This can be a wonderful learning experience in developing skills we can use outside of the workplace.
- Work can allow you to contribute to the public good. If doing good in the community or world is important to you, working for an organization that impacts others in positive ways will be motivating for you.
Learn more about each of the psychology of work benefits here.
Learn more about the job market and how more adults with disabilities are active in the work force here.