Job Search Jottings: Not A Good Start

Feeling that at the age of 31 I really ought to be in a better position careerwise and moneywise than I am, I decided to focus and make a proactive plan rather than reacting to whatever chances come my way. To be fair on myself, I have been proactive at several stages in the past. Or else I suppose I wouldn’t have got the jobs/pieces of work that I did get. But at the same time it strikes me that I have had a lot of luck, and a lot of people who, for some reason, respected me and thought I was worth giving a chance. It dawns on me now that a 31-year-old blind somewhere-in-between-para-andquadra-plegic with a 10-year-old degree in Philosophy and History, a Masters in Computer Studies and a rather patchy mixed bag of employment history needs to do much more to get where I want to be. It does also strike me that luck and friends are running out, but I try not to think about that and the negative thoughts which go along with it (the interviews I’ve failed at, not capitalising on being a “young graduate” with a Masters while I was still young and it was still relevant, resigning from the most long term job I’ve ever had because my manager was essentially bullying me e.t.c.).

Where do I want to be careerwise anyway? I have never had any long term “career goals”. I have had things I think I’m good at and tried to get work involving them. My most long term job, with a Disabled People’s Organisation, seems looking back on it to have just come to me. That was fortunate for me, because I ended up being paid for something I thought was useful and seemed fairly good at. But things changed and, still struggling to come to terms with the fact that as a disabled person I can’t try and get *any* job in a factory, doing bar work etc, I need to decide on the sorts of jobs I’m looking for and get into a position where someone will give me one. It’s got to be a well managed project, not a wandering journey. Of course few people really want to work in bars or factories anyway, but I find it difficult not being able to seek such work as a means to an end. Still, I have decided on some goals and a plan to implement them.

This plan involves something I would have never considered until now: contacting the Disability Employment Adviser. Oh the the joys of the job centre: discussing your personal situation in front of everyone, being told you aren’t entitled to benefit, banging your feet while getting out of the ridiculously tiny lift, being turned away because they gave you the wrong appointment time. Still, I decided it’s just possible they can help me, and I ought to give it a try. So I banish my cynicism, swallow my pride and phone the job centre.

And the line went dead. They say they’ll put me through to my local Centre, but it just rang and rang before simply cutting me off. No answerphone, no “There’s no answer at the moment, would you like to call later?” from a helpful receptionist. Just cut off. Great.

I wasn’t surprised by this but still it’s pretty shoddy. I suppose I could have tried again but after psyching myself up once was enough. I will have to go in to the job centre and ask to make an appointment there. Not a good start.

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2 Responses

  1. I’m not surprised.

    When I was 18/19 I saw a D.E.A. and was told, twice, that I would be better-off on benefits – very demoralising at the time. Do they understand that I’d rather be earning money than have it handed to me on a plate? I filled in loads of applications and got nowhere, so I left it for a while.

    The new D.E.A. came and was more helpful, but still no job. I also saw the person who shared his job a couple of times. They had a website full of job-vacancies, which only they could access, so instead of just giving me the address and letting me go home and look at them, she would just send me 1 or 2 at a time by E-mail, which was frustrating. The last time I saw her, she said (this made me laugh): “Oh, we don’t put people into jobs anymore. We haven’t done that for some time – we just point you in the right direction”. It made me think they should call themselves the Signpost Centre!

    The jobcentre put me in-touch with other organisations too. You’d see somebody, then they’d leave the company and you’d have to start all over again. But one good thing was that I’d applied for so many jobs with the County Council, they decided to let me come on a Get That Job course – normally something that only their employees did. It really helped to know what happened when they got the application forms and how they decided who to interview, and it improved my interview-technique as well. Instead of failing miserably, I was hearing things like: “It was a very strong field. If you’d been in the last lot of applicants, you would have got the job”.

    I still have no paid job, but I haven’t given up looking, and I love the voluntary work I’ve been doing for 6 years. So if I sound patronising here, I don’t mean to, but after all the job-searching I’ve done, I think the fact you had any job is fantastic, and I hope you find another one soon.

  2. Interesting to hear your experiences and not patronising at all. They must have changed their policies since you saw them though as they refuse to e-mail me anything or give me any information in electronic format. They say doing so would be breaking the Data Protection Act (even though said data is about me) and that we may give each other viruses. I should have asked for stuff in braille instead and see what they make of that. Good thing I’m not applying for a job with their office.

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