02/23/2011

"Hello there, do you want to work from home? Do you want a shorter commute?" Working from home is a hot topic and has been for a while. Often people think of all the positives about working from home, but do not grasp the negatives. Most of us receive emails telling us about the latest work-from-home opportunity, but many of these turn out to be scams. I am Joe Strechay and I work for AFB in the CareerConnect program. I write about employment issues. I get the opportunity to look at a lot of "work from home" opportunities —some valid, many not. The idea of working from home is very enticing; your commute is limited to a desk in your home, you are your own onsite supervisor, and the dress code is very lenient (I prefer my pajamas). AFB CareerConnect offers some great resources and in particular, an article on "how to spot work from home scams" from the true opportunities. You can also use a search engine to research an opportunity. Put the word "scam" or "fraud" in the search box, as well. You will find posts from others who have had this same opportunity. Take the time to research any opportunity prior to signing up.

"Working from home" can be even more intriguing for people with disabilities because it limits transportation issues. Transportation can be an extremely large barrier to persons with visual impairments becoming successfully employed. Another benefit could be that you may already have your assistive technology at home, so it would limit the cost to the employer—this might be more enticing for some businesses who worry about the cost of assistive technology. A negative would be that you become your own IT (Information Technology) specialist. This means you will have to able to problem solve and fix many of your own technology issues. Some issues can be resolved virtually, but not all. Disability.gov's "Disability Blog" offers a great series of posts called Career Connections. The most recent update is by Raymond E. Glazier, Ph.D., (Director of the Abt Associates Center for the Advancement of Rehabilitation and Disability Services and Member of the Work Without Limits Initiative) called Career Connections: The Pleasures and Perils of Working from Home: Is Telework for you? This piece gives a great list of positives and negatives to consider dealing with "working from home."

Another great resource to check out is AFB's "Work Life" message board where you can get commentary from other job seekers or persons with employment experience. Whatever you decide, just be smart and cautious. Stick with the old adage: "if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true."

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