Can I Wear Sunglasses to a Job Interview?

Not all people who are blind wear sunglasses — some of us think it makes us look too, well….blind. A post BlindBeader wrote for her own blog explains how she decided whether or not to wear them during a job interview. BlindBeader is a gifted young writer who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with her husband, their cats and her guide dog Jenny. You can read the post in its entirety on her Life Unscripted blog, but for now, here’s an excerpt to wet your whistle.

by blindbeader

A pair of sunglasses on a white desk next to a keyboard and mouse.When I asked several people I knew – sighted and blind – through the instant question-answer format of social media, I received so many answers, and many conflicted with each other. I had no idea the types of division I would stir up. All paraphrasing is mine, but the general ideas went something like this.

“Absolutely not! Your interviewer NEEDS to at least have the semblance of eye contact.”

“Why not? Your eyes hurt; you need to be functional.”

“It’s SUCH a blind thing to do.”

“If they’re fashionable, wear them!”

One friend, whose blindness is due to Retinoblastoma, described in vivid detail being forced by parents or teachers to wear them. Retinoblastoma can sometimes lead to facial scarring that may be off-putting to some, and my friend would get in trouble in school if she took them off. Even now – as a grown woman – if she’s in her family’s company, the comment is made that she needs to wear them. Like it or not, she is judged on her appearance. She has a very complicated relationship to glasses today, for the simple reason that they were pushed at her so much as a child and teenager and even now as an adult.

Asking questions about an accessory that most people wear without a second thought opened up far more questions for me than it answered, and yet, I made my own piece with my sunglasses. I chose to wear the sunglasses during my interview. They had been purchased years before and were both fashionable and moderately functional for my purposes. The frames were basic black with round lenses, and they didn’t scream “blind person!” to anyone who looked at them.

The instant I put them on, just before leaving my house, I felt my entire face relax, and the stabbing pain in both eyes magically disappeared. When I left the interview and went about my day, my sunglasses still in place, I noticed something else I hadn’t considered before.

People treated me better.

You see, if you were to look at my eyes directly, you would know that I am blind. My left eye is, for all purposes, unusable. My right eye won’t stay still. Walking down busy downtown streets that morning – even with a guide dog – while wearing those sunglasses, people seemed more inclined to make general non-blindness-related conversation with me, or accepted my assertions that I didn’t require their assistance. I loved how it felt.

But those glasses I wore to that interview no longer flattered my face the way they had years ago when I had first purchased them. I needed, as a friend stated, a more fashionable pair.

So what does a girl do when she needs a stylish pair of sunglasses that she doesn’t need to see clearly through? She goes to Walmart, and finds the coolest, most professional-looking pair of sunglasses they have that also covers her eyes and flatters her face. I spent a grand total of $15 on my sunglasses, and the compliments from friends, family, and strangers make me feel like I should’ve spent more. My cute sunglasses make others more comfortable with me, which makes me more comfortable with myself. And when I wear them, people generally treat me better, like I’m any other office worker or customer or pedestrian.

I wonder why that is.

And I wondered why I had resisted them for so long.

More posts by blindbeader:
Girl on the run: you do what with your guide dog?

“I want you to see more than just my blindness”


 

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