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  • They Don't Make It Easy (Work)

    I'm just wondering how you guys ended up in the careers you've ended up in, and if you've ever had to kill your dreams to just take something mediocre so you can survive... and how you even got into the mediocre job, lol.

    I want to be in the medical field - leaning toward psychiatric nursing, but right now schooling is out of the question for that particular path, and I'm not sure I could do it anyway. I know, there's always a way to work around things (especially when it comes to walking), but sometimes it seems impossible, which is part of why I've knocked my wants down some (medical coding would be cool...).

    I recently sent out a resume for a job in a medical office, which would have been perfect, as it'd help with the schooling deal, and they were willing to train the right person. So, I send the resume, I get a call the next day, and I go in for a written interview the next day. The written aspect wasn't difficult for me at all; there was an alphabetising part, some medical abbreviations (which I was told not to worry about too much), and a few questions. Great. The woman reads over it, says that everything is perfect and I got more abbreviations than anyone. I'm then asked if I'd like to come back the next day for a working interview. Well of course I do, right?

    Unfortunately, I had to decline.
    I was so unbelievably happy... just to have my hope shattered. Guess what I'm physically unable to do? Stand for 8 hours.

    Now, when you think "office", you don't think standing for 8 hours when it comes to filing and faxing, or answering phones. You think some sitting, some standing and moving around, but not an on-your-feet-24/7 type of job.

    I asked if there was any way to work around that. I mean, I'd proven that I know things! That I'm fully capable brain-wise! They actually liked me! But... they said no. And this isn't the first time this has happened. There have been a few "we'll hire you on the spot! ...oh, sorry." experiences.

    I've been told I should mention my disability before I ever apply to anything as to not waste anyone's time, but as far as I'm concerned, it's none of their business! Not right away, that is. And I did do that before, only to never receive any responses because they'd see that part first and they'd think the worst.

    How the hell do you deal with this? I'm at the point I feel like I should magically attain brain damage just so my mind matches my body. I feel like I'm never going to get anywhere, not even in a workplace I absolutely despise. I'm not one to say "it's not fair", but it really isn't fair, lol.
    -NerdaliciouS-

    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." ~ Socrates

  • #2
    I gave up years ago with trying to get into the workplace. I'd applied for over a hundred jobs, giving them the benefit of knowing I was a wheelchair user, and being turned down on the grounds of access, or being told they would keep me on their files, and then never hearing from them again. In this country the work place seems to be somewhere that isn't really ready to welcome disabled people, and so we usually end up on long-term disability benefits, which isn't as bad as it sounds, as they are usually more money per week than one could expect to be paid for a 37 hour week in a job. I also benefit from not having to pay rent, full council tax and free prescriptions.

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    • #3
      I haven't been in work since '05 or so. It's frustrating on one level because I feel useless occasionally. But I really never loved the workplace like many seem to. I don't miss it.

      Also, even though I have the Agent Orange pension and will (supposedly) never lose that, other social security here in the USA depends on whether you have a job or not (if I understand correctly. My mother helps with a lot of my financial matters. Probably not such a great idea, but that's another thread).

      So, at the end of the day, it's a hassle alternating so much between employment and pension. It's just not worth it. I feel like my countrymen don't want me in the workplace with them. Fine. It doesn't mean I can't or don't contribute to society. In fact, I think this fuels my political fire with regard to disability in society.

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      • #4
        Man, that sucks.

        How do you guys find you stay busy then? I really do feel useless a lot of the time. No job, no school, no... anything, really.
        It isn't even so much that I -want- to work - I mean, who really wants to have no time to themselves? Lol. But I also... want to work.

        I'm on disability now, but it isn't enough to survive on, by any means, and if it weren't for my parents, I would be homeless. I make just over 900 a month (which I'm fairly sure is the lowest in the country, despite the province being the most expensive - go figure), and where I live, the crappiest places you can find, the rent is usually 900, without any utilities or room for food or fun. A lot of my medication is covered, but a lot isn't (which is why I'm not on it - who has over $200 a month for one prescription? And this is in Canada with insurance!).

        I basically have until I'm 65, to somehow save enough to last me the rest of my life, if I make it that far. So I really am trying to find something to supplement it. I'm 24 now! I'd love to have a place of my own, a car!, a life, y'know? Things are just getting more and more expensive as time goes on. I still say F it, and do some fun stuff, but the older I get, the more I realise how screwed the system is.
        Last edited by NerdaliciouS; 04-24-2016, 12:10 AM.
        -NerdaliciouS-

        "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." ~ Socrates

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        • #5
          I have health issues (GI and such) that often preclude my going out. I like soccer, and follow my university team, either women's or men's. Fleetingly I like to watch other sports like tennis, lacrosse and volleyball. Again, mostly on the university level. And only when my body is agreeing with my mind and willing to go out.

          I listen to a lot of music on Spotify, KEXP.org and other sources. I try to hit movies fairly frequently (yesterday saw "Hello My Name Is Doris").

          I also participate in meetings of the neighborhood council. They bring in people from city government, both in our city council district and beyond.

          In the mid '90's, I got schooling for a drivers license, but I did not take the test. Too much anxiety. I like taking the bus.

          I'm 40 years old.

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          • #6
            Up until recently, I was kept busy looking after my dog, but now he is gone, I do find I'm less occupied, but that is where jigsaws come in. I really enjoy jigsaws. I also pass the time by taking myself out in the car, and on my powered wheelchair to see people and get some fresh air. I watch a lot of tv.
            Last edited by M A R K; 04-24-2016, 01:28 PM.

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            • #7
              Nerdalicious, you are still young and I have hope you can find something of interest to you and can give you more independence. All I can do is share my personal experience and career path.

              Background: A L4/L5 Limpoma, wore AFO's from childhood through my 30's, self cath and came from a low income family, who primarily used medicaid through my late teens.

              I graduated high school in 96' and went straight into "college", the Art Institute of Houston (for profit school that actually worked out for me). In hindsight the career choice could have been more practical but pursued my dream. During my time in school I had a couple of internships and then graduated in 98', right when the tech bubble busted! I took about year off and went back to my hometown, approximately 3 hours away. Oh, though while in school I did have a part time job in retail for a few month which was behind student housing and at the time was walkable. I was a frequent customer and so the staff knew me and knew I was disabled. When needed I had a stool to sit on if it was slow day or inbetween customers.

              Eventually I got a job in my field in 99', though it did require me to move back to Houston. I slept on a friends couch and took 2 buses to get to my job. The position had a 90-day probation period, not uncommon in my field, and in that time I had to have surgery. I thought for sure they would not take me on post probation but they did. It was $10/hr and within 3 years received an annual salary of 50K, plus overtime, grossed 75K+ one year. I was able to afford a car and share an apt with a friend after 4-6 mos. After a year I had my own place with parking. The biggest obstacle was walking my laundry to the onsite center but I was young and stronger at the time. I stayed there for 4 years and then left on my own. They were a small company and it was tough and competitive. We would regularly work 60+ hour weeks and weekends but the best experience out of school.

              After that job I moved back to my parents home in my hometown again and took a few months off as I was seriously burnt out. I recklessly blew through my savings going out, paying bills, etc with no income. I did not qualify for SSI/medicaid since I had been working and did not stop due to my disability. In the end I needed money for my car note, student loans, etc and went to a temp agency. Since I had 4 years of solid computer skills I ended up working at bank doing data entry and at times stuff envelopes, it paid about $8.50/hr. It was a humbling experience. Though after a few months I was picked up my an educational testing company, then an educational publishing company doing educational games for the K-12 market. I started out with a 40K salary and after 4 years left with a 67K salary. Then I decided to leave for my dream job...

              Ever since "college" I wanted to move to San Francisco not really understanding what that all entailed other than 'making it there was MAKING IT in my career. I would randomly apply for jobs in Austin and San Francisco, and one day got the call for an interview in SF. Before they flew me out I had to interview with 7-8 people back to back over the phone. I passed that "test" and they flew me out and did another round of 6-7 onsite interviews. I thought it went relatively well but you never know and I did wonder if they would invest in paying to relocate someone with a disability. The following week I got the call with a job offer. It would be more money but less pay due to the cost of living and I had just turned 30. While 30 is not old I always saw myself there in m 20's and at the time I was still relatively healthy. After much debating and support of my family I decided to go, even though I only had one acquaintance in SF. After arriving I was semi-regretful and actually homesick. Once I started working things got better, I was doing what I always wanted - true game development. Though it was daunting to be the small fish in a big pond and working with peers who had degrees from Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, etc. After some time I realized schooling had nothing to do with it, as that type of job required grit. Thank goodness for grit, because that is what I had a lot of, plus more hands on experience. While they were getting their degrees I was getting experience and in the end I surpassed my colleagues in my department. I went from 85K, plus 10K relocation package to 120K+ and quarterly bonuses, though SF, or California in general is expensive. Even though I visited many times its not the same as living. I had to pay 2200/mo in rent, plus parking. And mainly because I had to leave in mid to higher end places in order to parking and have a washer and dryer in my unit. And thank goodness because after 6 mos of moving to SF I had hurt my knee and struggled on my own with no family, other than when I needed surgery. I could have easily tapped out and gone home but I stuck it out. Work actually made it easier to deal with the situation. My bosses allowed me to work from home and I tried for a week but was going stir crazy and so there I was in the office and making it happen. And going through iterations and iteration of KAFOs (whole threads about that experience).

              I stayed at that job for a few years then was hired on at Disney and made much more money, much much more. Though the cost of living for a jr 1 bdr was going up to 3K/mo and finally left SF when rent hit 3700/mo. While I could afford it I was not saving enough. Though the jobs in CA all had fantastic insurance I decided to return back to TX. I continued to work remotely for Disney which was great, Cali pay in TX. The company was going through the annual restructure and while I could have found a team to keep me on I decide to start looking locally. Strangely I found an unusual job requisition that fit my career here in my hometown and where I am currently working and residing. The pay is good but the insurance is lousy. I am hoping to return back to SF for many reasons. I will turn 38 this year, use a cane but still driving and working and most importantly saving AND paid off my student loans!

              I feel all these jobs were luck or as I believe blessings in disguise. I never disclosed my disability before or during an interview. When I interviewed at my first job I was in bad bicycle accident and almost canceled my interview as I had a busted lip, cuts and bruises. I told them why I looked the way I did and in my opinion I think they thought my limp went along with my bicycle accident. And by the time they figured it out I was already doing a fine job, or maybe they did not correlate the two and hired me anyways.

              The SF job, I was early to the interview and was taken to the meeting room by the HR director. When people walked in I stood up with no issue and shook hands. Once the interviews were over I went out the back entrance with very few people. None of the hiring managers or interviewers saw me walk. Again, I do not think that would have not swayed their job offer as I had plenty hands on experience. Though my former boss and friend (who is trying to hire me again) mentioned that he didn't understand why HR was asking him if I need any special accommodations, he did not know that I was disabled. Not saying he would not have hired me but he did not know and I was working directly for him.

              I know this is very long post but if you got this far then you can see it is possible and you do not have to settle if you do not want to, you can accomplish your dreams, even if you have to go through a few nightmares to get there. In between those jobs I had many interviews where I was more than qualified for the position but turned down. I would have a great phone interview and when I went in person for the onsite interview I would see "the look" when I started walking towards them. I had to shake those off as 'was not meant to be' and it may not have had nothing to do with my disability, they could have had a better candidate.

              I would say keep trying, it may be a lot of interviews and rejections but eventually you get a chance. You just need one company to take a "chance" and prove yourself and build up your job experience. Disabled or not it is work experience that goes a long way.

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              • #8
                Hi Nerdalicious,

                I agree with Technovicki on everything she said. She laid it out really well.

                Background information: I have a BA in Social Work, I graduated Cum Laude in 2009. In 2009, It was a horrible economy for jobs. I was working with DVR career counselor to help me look for jobs. I applied endlessly and managed to get a handful of interviews. Some interviewers were really good and seemed genuinely interested in me and even offered me jobs but ended up going with someone more qualified in the end. I really do believe in that instance there was someone who was more qualified. I also had some interviewers who didn't hide the fact that they judged me for being disabled. It showed in ways of not shaking my hand during the interview but did with other people, to giving me looks, to not taking my skills seriously, to not showing much interest even though they obviously needed to fill a job position. I didn't have much paid experience which is something a lot of employers seem to want. This contributed to the lack of job offers. I was getting really down and depressed with the lack of job offers. I was so depressed I was crying a lot. I was starting to lose confidence in my abilities. I was getting angry at employers for not offering me a job even though I was well qualified but I never showed it. I was always professional and sent them a thank you card. You never know who will be a professional reference for you or know someone else who is hiring so you don't want to burn any bridges.

                After 6 months of getting no where I started volunteering at a local hospital. I volunteered 8 hours a week even though the average volunteer did 4 hours of time a week. I enjoyed what I did immensely. I knew I wanted to work in the medical field so I volunteered. I gained knowledge of how the system worked, I gained knowledge of what services were available at the hospital, I networked with supervisors, managers, directors, and Vice Presidents. I was the first and only volunteer to be on a hospital council. I wrote up a job creating idea and circulated it to supervisors, managers, and directors, and it went all the way up to the chain of a Vice President. They liked my idea and my initiative to improve hospital policies but decided against it because they lacked the funds to make it happen. This is around the time I was taken more seriously as a potential employee. I had directors talk to Human Resources on my behalf and give me good references. I talked with HR as much as I could to find out what types of things they were looking for in an employee. I asked them for advice on my resume. I was honored as an exceptional volunteer. I kept applying for jobs like crazy. I had everyone I knew at the hospital talk to HR and hiring managers on my behalf. You don't get your first job on your own. You always need someone to vouch for you if you don't have much experience and there is nothing wrong with that.

                After 3 years of searching for a job I finally got my current job. I have excellent benefits. It allowed me to get off Social Security but still keep government medical insurance while gaining private medical insurance through my employer. I have a retirement pension. I also can afford more of the things I have wanted to do in my life like getting an apartment that is not subsidized, traveling, more shopping, etc. You don't get a job because you enjoy working, not many people enjoy their jobs but you do it because you enjoy the benefit and financial security a job will give you. Also, it sucks staying home all day by yourself with nothing to do. Its boring and depressing. We groomed ourselves our whole lives to be able to be independent enough to fulfill our full potential. Don't give up. Your job is waiting for you. Job searching is a lot like dating, you have to go through a lot of interviews or "dates" to find the right one for you. Most of them are going to be disappointments but you just have to find a way to keep your confidence up to keep searching for the right one.

                As far as mentioning your disability before an interview, everyone has their own thoughts about it. I never put it on my resume. I don't believe it belongs there. Sometimes if I knew the building was accessible I didn't mention my disability at all unless I got an offer. Then you can go into what accommodations you might need. Other times when I wasn't sure if the building was accessible I would ask them on the phone when we set up the interview date if the building had an elevator. Otherwise, when the interviewer asks if you have any questions, you can ask if they see any problems with your application and if they have any questions about your ability to do the job.

                Bottom line: keep up your confidence, keep trying, and network like your life depends on it because essentially your well-being and livelihood does depend upon it.

                I hope this helps. I know you will find a job. Keep it up.
                Last edited by jellolegs23; 04-26-2016, 12:29 AM.

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                • #9
                  Just remember anything worth doing or having is not easy but well worth it in the end.
                  Last edited by jellolegs23; 04-26-2016, 01:27 AM.

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                  • #10
                    In South Africa the general unemployment rate is around 25 to 30% (depending on who you ask and how it's measured) but for disabled adults who are willing and capable of working it is over 95%.
                    Roger
                    Sumus semper in excretum sed alta variat!

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                    • #11
                      Over 95%! That's insane! How do people afford to pay their bills?

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                      • #12
                        A meagre government grant (about $100/month) and family help.
                        Roger
                        Sumus semper in excretum sed alta variat!

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                        • #13
                          Thank you, everyone.

                          And I'm glad some of you were able to achieve your dreams.

                          I'm not settling, and I have no intentions for doing so, but it's still incredibly hard. I find I get depressed easier and easier these days, and I'll stay in it for a while. I don't want to be by myself forever, and I don't want to sit at home and do nothing forever. I want to travel! And explore! Have my own house... my garden... Something of MY OWN. I want to do things while I still have enough body ability to do it. I'm not sure I've ever been in the right place at the right time, but it's so discouraging when your brain works, but your body doesn't... and I have a bunch of qualms pertaining to it. The pain makes things hard enough, but sometimes I honestly feel like I should "do nothing" so I can be like what society sees me like.

                          Even a friend of mine recently flipped out at me (all because I wouldn't drive to his house?) because "I get money for nothing"... I have 19 dollars in my savings account, and I actually have overage fees on my credit card right now because of an impromptu emergency room visit, but apparently this constitutes me as having big money. The money I get from the government, while I'm grateful, is meagre. I can't do anything on it. Not really. But people insist I'm sitting on loads. Meanwhile, they're working, then mad at me when they get fired. Bah.

                          I'm still trying... because I -want- more. But I find the lack of reception highly agitating. If you want me for my brain, you can deal with the rest. But hey, that's just like relationships too, I've found.
                          -NerdaliciouS-

                          "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." ~ Socrates

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                          • #14
                            I was very depressed when job hunting too and not getting great responses. I was so depressed I had to seek counseling. Hang in there. You can vent to us any time. We have been there and get it.

                            By the way, it is unreasonable for anyone to assume you have money to do anything because you get government help. That is not what the money is for and your friend was being childish. I would have asked for an apology.

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                            • #15
                              Do your parents have connections in their respective fields? Maybe you can ask for their help to pull some strings.

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