I was wondering to myself how I could fulfill my self-imposed challenge of blogging everyday this month? I thought I might stumble at the first hurdle and fail to come up with a subject for today’s blog. Well here it is, it leaped out right at me from an article on The Telegraph website. telegraph.co.uk/women/women...
ESTHER MCVEY the minister for/against (delete as applicable) disabled people. Today she’s wheeled out a disabled person to try and help her get employers to look at disabled people in a new light. That’s the light that’s been turned off to save money on the electric bill, that’s also the disabled person who has lost their means of getting to work as they’ve had to surrender their motobility car due to the new assessment criteria for PIP (Personal Independence Payment). She’s hoping that employers will see disabled people that were previously unfit for work that have long-term conditions such as MS that will over time get worse and those with long-term serious mental health problems which prevent them from working. She’s also hoping that those people that will no longer be able to get help from the ILF (Independent Living Fund) which has enabled them to have full-time carers and hold down a job will be the perfect, reliable employee. Somehow this drive to improve our employment chances doesn’t seem to match up with parts of the Welfare Reform bill which came into being as of yesterday.
Going off on a slightly different tangent, I received a call earlier this afternoon from a teaching agency I used to work for, I would seriously love to work again but since then my workplace needs have changed. Throwing myself into a classroom full of unknown teenagers would no longer be an option. Although the idea of a teacher with TS sounds a good one, I would need to build up a relationship with each class, as I would most likely spend the first lesson explaining my TS to the class after getting over the sheer hilarity of the Tourette’s-Teacher, with deadlines to meet and other people’s lesson plans to fulfill. I’d just be wasting my time and their time if I was at a particular school for a short period of time. I would need to be at a school for a minimum period of a term for the pupils to get used to me and me to them. An SEN setting would be better as the classes are much smaller and the pupils would most likely to be more accepting of a teacher with TS as would the parents of the pupils.
Up until Christmas I was doing voluntary work in a café that put on regular art workshop sessions for adults with learning disabilities. I would love a job like that and I fitted in, if extra funding had been secured rather than funding taken away and a permanent job created I would have applied at the drop of a hat. The TS no problems, the clients that attended the workshops didn’t seem to notice my tics and as a volunteer the organisation and the clients were very sympathetic to my mental health problems and occasionally not being able to make it in.
How many employers would be give me that amount of flexibility? Working from home could be an excellent option but I do thrive on interaction with other people and would have to spend some time with my colleagues if not whilst working at meetings or over the phone (this was a massive NO NO with many prospective employers…what if the phone rings and I’m the only person in the office?). Working with a great bunch of colleagues can make a really bad job seem much better. I did once spend a few days working in a cake factory for my sins, the constant sickly sweet headache inducing smell aside I could have coped much better with the monotony and constant cold if I was able to speak Urdu and converse with my colleagues.
So as you can see I have some useful skills and some interesting personal traits I could bring to a job but when employers notice that I’ve filled in that box that says “do you have a disability” I’ve said that I do and I have Tourette’s syndrome, I’m not sure what’s going on their heads but I imagine they think I will scare aware customers or upset colleagues. “Upsetting colleagues was one reason that was given for me not getting an interview for a warehouse job. Me, upset a bunch of forklift truck drivers with my potty mouth?
I would like to get this Bi-polar thing under some kind of control so I can be a reliable member of society and be “useful” but currently I’m near the end of the queue of prospective employees and should get back to weaving baskets in a day centre. (I can’t actually weave baskets, but I’d like to have a go, preferably without the support of local mental health services).
By the way in yesterday's blog post number 5, was a complete fib. Despite the teaching agency calling me they didn't think they could find me a suitable placement soon.