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working again




Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)

A World In Which People With Disabilities Have Unlimited Employment Opportunities. All of the latest news relating to work opportunities for people with disabilities and what the Department of Labor is doing.

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Seniors have many years of experience and can use that as options to start their own business or open opportunities for work. The following site give some helpful information.




The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 became effective on January 1, 2009. Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has not yet completed the regulations for the new legislation, ODEP’s Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has developed both a publication and a resource page regarding the Act.




As a professional recruiter with over 22 years of experience, it saddens me to see people so discouraged by the mindless prejudice of prospective employers.
My specialty has been computer systems for professionals in banking and securities. In my career I have had the privilege of working with people with disabilities. I have been amazed by how many can "more than compensate" for their disabilities, primarily because of their self-confidence in their skills and experience, as well as their positive attitude towards their work. Professionally speaking, some have been among the best people I have worked with.

I think that you should consider first, that finding a job is tough for everyone who is unemployed, not just for people with disabilities. I offer, however, a few tips that might be of help. The best way to find a job is through ones own personal network, especially people with whom you have worked in the past. They are very likely to know of any openings where you might fit into in their current company and would serve as an excellent "in-house" reference that any hiring manager would welcome.

Considering that most people you speak with will not know of any openings, be prepared to ask if they know anyone else who might know of a job opening. Build your network by getting the name of another person to call.

Try to maintain contact on a 60 - 90 day basis. Do some research on companies that might have one or more jobs that may be a good fit for you including competitors, clients or suppliers to your former employers. As you identify prospective employers try to find the person to whom you would report if hired and mail your resume directly to them. If you don't hear from them in a week, call them. I do not think mailing or e-mailing your resume to human resources will get you anywhere as they are already deluged with solicited and unsolicited resumes every week. Nor do I think posting ones resume on the job boards - one among tens of thousands - will yield much success. But if you have nothing else to do, post it with no expectations.

Above all, don't give up, as slim as the chances might be. If you give up there will be no chance. When you get an interview focus on one thing, that you can get the job done. That is all that counts. If you can convince a prospective employer that you can get the job done, you will be hired.

John Russell, WW Member




My former employer, Naval Air Systems Command, was very accommodating. I had a lot of sick leave saved up, so a month off when I had my surgery was no problem. After the surgery I went right back to work after a month off, two weeks for the in hospital recovery and two weeks at home recovering. I worked another 2 years and, having the years of service and age, I retired.

I lived in Maryland then. I moved back to California. I was bored so I started looking on line for employment. I found this web site titled National Older workers Career Center, that employs older workers at the Environmental Protection Agency. It turns out that they had a job at the San Francisco office that I could do. I also had a phone interview. I speak with an electrolarynx and it went OK. I have been working at the EPA for 3 yrs now, and they say they have enough funding to keep me another year.

Yes, age and breathing through a hole in your neck are negatives but I found there are websites online oriented towards older workers getting employed. The folks here at the EPA have been very nice to me, even though I am old and speak with my EL.

I don't make the pay I did as a GS-13 employee, but I don't work that hard either. And one of the benefits I now have is two medical insurances and a dental insurance plan. That has reduced my out of pocket expenses.

Some of the websites I have found in my search: (lists employers recognized for exceptional practices regarding older workers and national employers that abide by age-neutral policies. Its foundation also sponsors a worker information network to help older workers manage their job search.) (lists jobs for people over 50 and offers “age-friendly certification” to employers) (a large independent job and information resource for boomers, retirees and people planning their retirement) employers connect with the over 50 talent pool) (employment and career change resources for people over 50) network of veteran scientists and engineers provide companies with fast, flexible and secure access to recently retired experts) (an online community for those 50 and older and the companies that want to recruit them)

Good luck and Good Hunting

Scott Sysum


success stories

I, too, find job/career a VERY important factor in my life. My surgery was mid-2010 and I've worked pretty much through it (with about a month's break, off course) and since. But my work is as an independent consultant and I was very lucky to have a couple of good clients who have kept me busy. However, those projects are wrapping up and I need to "get out there and face the music". I'm rather apprehensive about reactions and rejections I will meet because of the way I look and speak.

WOULD LOVE TO HEAR OTHER'S EXPERIENCE IN THIS AREA! How does it work for those who have to sell, either themselves or things? If you have a story, or found out what works and what doesn't, please share!



Many of us Larys that are working went back to jobs that we worked before the surgery. Myself, I had quit my job but was told I could
come back whether I could speak or not ( office work) and I went back after 10 weeks because I was just to bored.



I went back to work for two Major Account Sales...sold to multi-million dollar companies.. was the #1 sales person..but...after the two kept getting much more difficult to do my job.. the air conditioning took a real toll on me, plus the tiredness and I had to go on full disability. If you do, make sure to take ALL your Dr.s records, files and the more info for SSI, the better. I was approved in two weeks time!!!


I am a consultant (software educator and developer.) Once my doctors gave me clearance to travel for work again, it took me about 4 months to land a job. This full-time position with an International consulting firm had me hopping in 2012 and 2013: I worked in and commuted to and from seven US cities and rang up over 175k miles in those two years! But things are a little quieter at the moment; in January 2014, the company had a reduction in force and I am back on the job market.

My approach both back in 2011 and now is to not "sugar coat" or hide anything from potential employers. My resume contains an entry titled "Medical Hiatus" with the corresponding dates. The folks serious about hiring me ask "what does that mean," and I explain that I use an artificial voice but otherwise I am fine. Typically, this occurs during a phone interview and answers their questions (grin). Once at a client site, I am treated as an equal as far as work is concerned. Several co-workers at
different sites have asked me to speak with them privately. This has involved family members and recent diagnoses and me describing my situation, my treatment (chemo and radiation), rehabilitation and my "new normal".

So, nothing that has really changed from a work perspective except I don't work as a "platform instructor" in a classroom anymore. I was recently fitted with a hands-free HME, so even that may change in the future! Best wishes to all and remember the words of Wayne Gretsky: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."



I retired in 2005 at age 57. I was a safety engineer in the mining industry. Before I retired I set up a consulting company specializing in supervisory effectiveness. I worked as much as I wanted from 2006 through 2010 then my health started to go down hill. I thought it was just getting old so thought no more about it, just kept turning down work until they stopped calling. Turns out my health was being affected by thyroid cancer. Went through a pile of surgeries until my laryengectomy in 2012. I had just never gotten around to unwinding my company and this year a firm dropped me a note asking if I would do some computer work upgrading training courses for them. At first I was reluctant as, not really what I envisioned using my skills - but then thought a bit more about it and figured if they are willing to pay my hourly rate to edit some programs, what the heck. Long story short - the first three courses I was asked to edit have turned into 27 courses.

I work a couple of hours a day, usually in my housecoat, and am enjoying it. I could never go back to what I enjoyed, supervisory effectiveness, as that entails going underground and no company in their right mind would let me, and I'd be crazy to try.

Point of this post is, there are jobs for us after surgery. We may have to pull in our wings a bit and take something that uses our skills in different ways but this is the new normal. Good luck.



I am in the inspection field working as a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) and a level II MT PT tech. When I got sick and had my lary operation, I was at work one day and gone the next as my surgery was scheduled within days of detection. This really put my employer in a bind as no one knew all the things I did to keep things moving through the shop and they were very supportive during my recovery. I returned to work 6 months after surgery and have had very little trouble, the biggest thing is the noise level on the shop floor and my appearance. People got over the appearance thing pretty quickly, I wear a Blom Singer hands free HME, and they also learned to listen more closely when I speak and we kind of have hand gestures that just seemed to evolve. I'm hoping to retire from this company but feel pretty certain I wouldn't have a hard time finding another job. I'm 56 now and only have about 10 years to go until I retire! Good luck out there.



I too had to deal with an employment crisis. My company down sized three months prior to my surgery and I was left out of a job, a job in the retail furniture industry, sales and sales training. I depended on my voice to make my living, and I wondered what would happen to me. Well, I stayed positive and I was told by others, that larys have been able to go back into sales and function pretty well. With my experience I was hired by a national company in sales, but when I went in to meet the store manager, someone I knew from the industry, the job suddenly was not available. I was very disappointed and a bit angry.

I continued to look for work, finding an opportunity (on Craig's list), at a near by furniture store, and I was hired for the sales job, and this April makes two years I have been there and doing well. This company never had a problem hiring me, and I am sure my positive attitude had a lot to do with it. Most customers notice the way I "talk" differently, at first, but within seconds we are chatting like nothing was unusual. I do have moments where I have to clear my trach and I always have tissue in my pockets. I do not cover my stoma with clothing, except for my TEP and baseplate. I want people to see I am not handicapped by this inconvenience, which is all that this is. I still make my living with my new voice, and I am told I talk more now than I did before. I hope this helps you in finding employment.








WW Member Dennis Leo, born in 1949, lives in Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, Australia. Dennis was working as a radio announcer when diagnosed with larynx cancer in 2004. Non-

surgical treatments ultimately failed, so Dennis underwent a laryngectomy in October of 2004 and acquired an indwelling TEP/prosthesis two weeks later. Encouraged by his ENT, Dennis returned to broadcasting in early 2005 on CHRFM 96.5 in Hunter Valley, NSW, starting a new program called "Sunday by Request" on February 6, 2005 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. This is a talkback, request-type show that attracts a lot of callers. Dennis has also augmented his TEP/prosthesis with a Blom-Singer HandsFree device. WW has managed to obtain a short (1 1/2 minute) audio file from this show so that you can listen to Dennis "on air"both his "old" and his "new" voices!! This is a 4 MB .wav file .. (it takes a while to load, but is worth it).






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