I'm Blind And Didn't Tell Anyone When I Interviewed For My Tech Job. I Got Hired And My Boss Had No Idea.

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  • Sameer Doshi grew up visually impaired and became blind as an adult.

  • His blindness did not prevent him from pursuing a successful career in technology.

  • This is Doshi's story, told to Lauren Crosby Medlicott.

  • I remember as a child wearing very thick glasses to see better. My eyesight has always been very nearsighted, but that didn't stop me from having a happy childhood, being elected high school student council president, going to Boston College to study biomedical engineering, or getting a job in New York to get to get not. technology for a financial services company. My eyesight, although poor, has never slowed me down.

    But when I was 25, I had a retinal tear in my right eye. When doctors tried to save it through several operations, my right eye became unusable.

    I am a positive guy and I decided to continue. My wife and I moved to Illinois, bought a house and got a dog. At that time I was working as a vice president at Citi Group.

    I had cataracts in my left eye during my wife's pregnancy and we plan to have surgery when our baby is born. Although the cataract surgery went well, I had a poor response to post-operative steroid treatment and subsequently lost vision in my left eye.

    When I contacted my company's disability coordinator, he offered me sessions with a low vision specialist who helped me understand how to navigate as a newly blind person. It was such a life saver for me.

    I applied for a tech job without saying I was blind

    A colleague of mine left her job to work at Microsoft and said there was a digital transformation position at Microsoft that would be a perfect fit for me. I decided I should try to fill out the online application since it didn't specifically ask about blindness.

    When the appointment came for my personal interview, I began to doubt myself. How would I work for one of the largest software companies in the world? And not only that, how am I supposed to work there as a blind person? They wanted the best workers and I was worried if I could deliver what they wanted.

    The story continues

    Instead of worrying, I decided to prepare for the interview. I spent a month preparing a technical PowerPoint presentation and memorizing where every word and diagram was written on every slide. I asked friends, colleagues and family to let me practice the presentation. In the shower I talked through every slide.

    On the morning of the interview, I arrived two hours early, cane in hand, and asked the receptionist to show me the room. Over the next two hours I created a space where I felt comfortable presenting. setting up chairs, getting up and going to the screen for my presentation, plugging in the computer to make sure everything works, and arranging the floor so I don't trip over it.

    Although I had no intention of hiding my blindness, I chose to do the interview because of my ability, not because of my poor eyesight. My practice paid off and the interviews went well. There were three rounds of interviews and I felt confident at the end of each round. I never once mentioned that I was blind. You didn't ask me once.

    I got the job

    I was offered the position and told I would start in October 2018. When I went to employee orientation, my boss, one of the people interviewing me, called me and told me to get someone else on his team. trained with me He said he was 6'1" with purple hair and drove a blue truck. It was the first time I realized that my boss had no idea I was blind. Although I didn't during the interview revealed that I was blind. , I was sure it was obvious, but apparently not.

    "I'm blind," I answered clearly over the phone. I felt uncomfortable putting myself in a position where he might feel bad, but I had to tell him. “Wow,” he said. "It's okay. It's okay. I'll let the boys look for you."

    And since then my boss has supported me in my career, growth and learning. When I started working, I realized that there are many blind people in the company. Even when I had to go through all the paperwork to order a special zoom software, I never felt less comfortable. I could do the job well and that's why they hired me.

    My disability has not affected my career. I am the empirical proof that whatever matters, it can be done. Despite my blindness, the job was done. There have been challenges along the way, but I have not been deterred and four years later I am still working and thriving at Microsoft.

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