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How to get work when disability makes you lose your job

Jasmine Birtles 11th Jun 2019 One Comment

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I’ve just had an email from a reader asking me how he can get work now that disability lost him his job.

This is what he says in his email:


the problem

Dear Jasmine,

I am writing to you because I need your kind advice. I am 64 and from 2017 I am disabled person with moving problems. Until 2017 I worked some 44 years in the Shipping industry. Last 12 years I worked as Fleet Superintendent with one of Ship management Company located in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2017 I was dismissed due to health problems because on 2012 my left knee was replaced and on 2014 I got the stroke.

After dismissing I got serious stress because I have lost not only my favourite work and livelihood but also the goal of life because I have a wife, two daughters and three grandchildren, and they all depended on my work. I tried to find some job in another ship management company but unsuccessful despite the fact that I am experienced specialist for different types of seagoing vessels like Tankers, LPG Carriers, Balkers, etc and I have very good knowledge for mechanical engineering, accounting, budgeting, purchasing, etc related with ship management.

Can you recommend me what I have to do because I still trying to find any job suitable for me. I am looking for any job suitable for me. I prefer job from home. I have laptop, printer, scanner.

Your kind reply will be very appreciated.”


jasmine’s reply

This is a rotten thing to have to go through and I really sympathise. It’s bad enough to lose your income if there’s just you to look after, but when there are children and an extended family to support, it’s very difficult.

A lot of people face this and, although I don’t have contacts in the shipping sector or any experience in this business, there are some basic things that anyone can do when they find themselves out of work, but willing to work, because of a disability.



Firstly, make sure you have all the benefits you are entitled to. As someone with disabilities – and particularly as you have dependents – you are entitled to a number of benefits.

If you haven’t already done so, do try out the benefits calculator at

these will show you which benefits you are entitled to so that you can check and make sure you have everything you should.


your union

Many unions have money that they can give out to people in cases of hardship. They also often have access to jobs and work in your field so it’s a very good idea to get in touch with someone at your union to see what they might be able to do for you.


get the family onboard

When the main breadwinner has problems, everyone needs to pull their weight. Sometimes it’s a good wake up call for people who have got rather too used to living off someone else’s sweat and toil. It can also be an opportunity for stay-at-home wives, who have not had much experience of work, to get that experience.

There is no shame in staying at home through disability and allowing someone else to do the money-earning for a while. Work on it together and see what work possibilities there are for other people in the household apart from you. For a while you could do the cooking, perhaps, and manage the home as far as you are able while they go out and bring home the bacon.

It’s also possible that together you could set up a family business. Something where you can do the computer work, the strategy, the books, the thinking etc while other members do the physical work, the driving, delivering, building, meeting or whatever else is needed outside the home.

If you all work together you are much more likely to succeed than if one tries to do it all on their own.


break down the elements of your work

It might be that the job you’ve been doing isn’t one that you can continue to do with the illness or disability you now have.

However, there are always elements of your job that are transferable.

Think about all the elements of the work you used to do.

  • Think about the qualities you needed for that job – maybe flexibility, or leadership, or organisation,
  • What skills did you have to have – maybe computer skills, building skills, designing skills
  • What did you notice that you were particularly good at? Did you find you were good at selling? Maybe you were good at negotiating or getting projects finished or calming people down. These are all useful skills in other work.

Once you have worked these out (write them down to remind yourself) then you can look at other, quite different work.

How to get work when disability makes you lose your job

network – online and in real life

Now is the time to get in touch with everyone you know or used to know and let them know that you’re looking for work.

  • Tell them your situation and how it happened
  • Tell them what you can do
  • Tell them that you have your CV to send out, or your business idea to tell people about and could they put you in touch with someone who could help.

Throw away any pride or shame. You can’t afford it!

It’s the people who network like crazy who get the jobs. They’re out there but you have to put yourself in the way of them to get them.



Have you updated your Linkedin profile?

If not, go on there now and fill it in to make yourself look as employable as possible

  • Get yourself some recommendations from people you have worked with (ideally bosses)
  • Make sure your photo is good and up to date
  • Put in any awards, any quotes from bosses that are positive and anything you can think of that you did in your job that is worth a bullet point!
  • Join some groups connected with what you do. Get on there and network with the people on there.
  • Make it clear that you are looking for work.
  • Also make it clear what your limitations are, if you have any (mobility etc)

You could also post more – interesting items that people in your industry could go for.

Also, consider posting articles about your sector which would get you noticed. If you have time, post something every week or more often.

Look at the jobs on Linkedin. A lot of people hire there so if you’re looking for work it’s a good place to be.

Increase your connections and make the most of the ones you have. Are any of these connections people who might be able to introduce you to someone who could give you work? Or perhaps they could give you work themselves. Start a conversation. Tell them you are available for work (at least from home) and see if they would do a Skype conversation with you or speak on the phone. Keep doing this as you build up your connections.


facebook #jobs and twitter #jobs

If you’re on Facebook and Twitter, create columns in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite (or whichever platform you use) that will notify you every time the word ‘job’ or ‘jobs’ comes up. You will see loads of posts that are of no relevance to you but every now and then you might see something that will work for you.


it’s a numbers game

I’m serious about putting yourself out there.

Don’t think that because you’ve applied for two positions and been rejected by both that that is it.

It’s a numbers game.  I don’t want to hear from you until you’ve tried at least 100 people.


You need to be in touch with loads and loads of businesses and individuals to get work. If you’re not out there touting (or online touting) for days and weeks then, in this world of work, you’re just not trying.

Be like this writer who aimed for 100 rejections. If you aim to get rejected then you can’t fail. If you actually get accepted then that’s a bonus in itself. Oh and, by the way, she did get accepted…lots of times.

Let me know how you get on!


useful articles to read

We have lots of articles that are helpful to those looking for work and those who have disabilities. Check these out for a start:

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5 years ago

Very useful info if you find yourself in this difficult situation.

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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