Headway

Not found a job yet :-(

I used to be a university lecturer, but I got 'Voluntary Severance because my department is closing down. That was at the end of June. I thought I wanted to go into teaching, but all the courses I applied to turned me down. I was gutted, but now I've actually decided that they were all probably right, and teaching isn't for me.

So, I'm looking for an office-based 'Administration' job. I am aiming for universities, just because I know the system so well.

I have had 6 interviews (and I have another one this Wednesday). One of them was rubbish. It was really, really awkward to get to, and the interview was miles away from the one I had applied for. I had no idea why it was so far away. And I still don't. It was actually a 'pre-interview', for a job I never applied for, and don't want. Ridiculous!

I am a bit bothered because a few of the universities effectively say "If you are disabled, we will always interview you." Now, did I get the five interviews that I have had, because I deserved them, and had a real chance? Or was it only because I am 'disabled'. "Well, we have to invite her in, and talk to her, so we look like we are being fair, but she hasn't really got a chance!" I have no experience of this office-based administration, but, realistically, I haven't got a hope in hell of getting another job like my lectureship. I had been there for 6 years before the accident, and after 18 months on sick-leave, they eventually let me go back, but any other university would say "She is 'blind', and has bad balance, so she can't do geological fieldwork. Why would we want a geology lecturer who can't do fieldwork? And she has done no research since she went back..." I use to do lots of good research. but then I fell off my bike. :-(

So, I am worried. I haven't found a job yet. Maybe they are looking at me and thinking "Well, she has coped admirably well with that awful Brain Injury business, and she deserves another chance." But maybe they are thinking "Oh well, we have to interview her, to 'give her a chance',and tick all the boxes. But she doesn't have a real chance, because she doesn't have the right experience."

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Hello Flumptious I empathise with the 'Am I invited just to tick a box?' element, and also the quandary of having been highly specialised 'before.'

I parted company with my last employers in April of this year, and am currently walking the very wobbly tightrope of being on Universal Credit, and awaiting my PIP tribunal date. I've hit an absolute brick wall within myself, mainly because the 'functional assessment' that Workplace Well-being asked Neurology to undertake LAST October still hasn't been done. (I've asked my GP to re-refer me to Neuro-psychology, they were going to assess me in April 2016, but I bolted, because the timing clashed with some personal-life issues.)

I'm well aware that I'm 'blocking' myself from applying for lots of jobs that I probably 'could' do, not because they're £7.50 per hour and I'm being precious about working for minimum wage, but because part of my previous job was care-planning and risk assessment, and I automatically analyse and assess everything to the nth degree, to make sure I'm not placing myself or others at risk of harm. I fatigue every afternoon/evening, I'm not safe to make decisions or interact with people after about 5pm. I need the PIP-award so that I can find a semi-suitable part time role.

'Disabled candidates who meet the specification will be guaranteed an interview', how very kind of them? I've only been invited to two interviews since March, that 'niggle' is always there, every time I tick the 'do you consider yourself to have a disability' box... I suspect I'm 'over-qualified' for a lot of the vacancies I've applied for, and I'm becoming increasingly creative with my wording to explain the yawning gap in my employment history. (I might go with 'following a traumatic medical event, I took a period of time to access therapeutic intervention, and am now ready to return to employment' this week.)

My 'work coach' at the job centre is sympathetic, but she's working within systems and processes designed to force people into any/all employment, we're playing the 'suitable' angle very heavily. Saying that, next week, I'm compelled to go to an open day for NHS vacancies for people with disabilities. The flyer has 'admin' in much smaller lettering than 'domestic and porterage services', I can't tolerate fluorescent lighting, and only one of my hands works properly, I'm not even 'fit' to push the tea-trolley...

We'll both keep looking, and keep trying, if brain injuries didn't 'stop' us, evidencing to potential employers that we can work to overcome barriers won't be a problem, and something will fall into place eventually. (This mid-winter is looking VERY bleak for me, on Universal Credit, fingers crossed for the PIP tribunal to go in my favour soon, because I really don't want to be queuing at the food bank with people who used to be on my work caseload.)

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Just a comment on food banks here., I help out sometimes at my local one. We get varying people there... No judgement or queueing involved mind you and some of the customers come from a fair way away. Some people travel to the next village or town rather than the local.

We hand out better quality of food than the food in my cupboards!

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Thanks, moo196 I'm sure food banks aren't as bad as my skewed sense of humour wants me to think they are, I was trying to poke fun at myself, because I'm usually on the 'other' side of support plans and such.

That being the case, my cupboards and freezer would shame an apocalypse-prepper, when Universal Credit rolls out fully in this village, there will be people harder hit than me, because the system assumes that 'everyone' will have their last month's wage to subsist on. Policy makers don't live in the 'real' world, and I suspect they don't have as many cans with plain white labels on.

I wasn't being snobbish, it's just another crashing part of the before/now theme common to brain injury, I used to facilitate support and strategy meetings, now I'm stuck in this awful procedural loop, and trying to decide between toothpaste and shampoo in my next grocery order.

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No worries. My whole life has been lived on what used to be blue and white stripey goods. My kids uses to joke about it and say their Xmas presents would be the same colour.

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I nose-laughed at that, my son's in his second year of Uni, and he's essentially getting a food parcel for Yule... we're pragmatic and practical, he'll need soap and noodles more than he 'needs' the suspicious tat his Dad tends to buy him. (Look up Approved Foods online, most of his 'special' stuff came from there, I bought food with RRP of about £150 for £48, some of it's past sell-by, but with canned and dried, it doesn't really matter.)

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Morning,

Sorry it's taking so long to get a job.

Have you spoken with remploy about this yet? They are the experts in helping disabled and newly disabled people into work. They may have some other ideas and suggestions. For instance they may suggest not declaring any disability in a first application unless specifically asked.

Also wondered if you have registered with employment agencies? I get most of my temporary work there. But they also may have suggestions /comments. They will be constructive.... They want to place you. And they know employment law from your point of view too.

The university here has a dedicated temp agency. Might be worth a look at that in your area?

Are there any courses you might benefit from... Because being out of the workplace for any length of time for whatever reason can make one less attractive to prospective employers.

Good luck ☺️

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Sorry that its been tough. And hope things pick up soon. From what you have written, sounds like you have a lot of experience and that they would have invited you because you were a good candidate.

I dont think there will be a quota of people with disabilities to invite to interview and in theory they should only invite to interview someone who is disabled if they meet the basic job criteria. It would be disability discrimination to invite someone to interview because they were disabled but who they had decided they would not employ. In effect, they would be treating you less favourably because of your disability which would constitute indirect discrimination. In essense, they would be making disabled people make unncessary journeys.

There again, its posisble that it happens. And, though there will not be a quota, some organisations will keep track of how many disabled people they interview and this could incentivise interviewing people they dont intend to interview. There again, again, if they interviwed lots of disabled people but didnt recruit many that would show up like a sore thumb in their equality stats.

Sorry that was abit of a long ramble.

good luck with job hunting.

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I would suggest maybe doing some voluntary work in an administration role to gain some experience. Also furthering your computer skills, typing etc may help. You might even find this opens up other areas that you could work in.

No-one knows what interviewers are thinking to be honest. I certainly don't. But maybe you could try ringing them for feedback when you don't get jobs. They might be able to give you a clue as to what else you should be doing that you aren't currently.

Best of luck.

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Sorry you're still having to fight for a post Flump ; it's such a waste of your abilites and credentials.

I hope Wednesday brings better results ! Best wishes, Cat x

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