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Life at the Crossroads

June 7, 2012

I’m at a crossroads right now. I’m in a job I’m no longer happy with. Around the end of April, after telling these people that both my desk top and laptop were out of service, I lost most of my promotional status on the site due to not publishing. The last two articles I posted were declined even though they scored a 7.0 out of 8.0 scale.

A few people in my family know I’ve been sending out my resume. However, I found that I had to explain to both my brother and the director of my Sunday School class why I can’t seem to get hired locally. Without a Class C driver’s license, a car, and the means to maintain it, there was no job. Employers won’t hire someone without a reliable way to work.

I am well acquainted with Work Services Corporation and the Paper Clip Factory on Armory Road. In 1986, I counted paperclip packets and closed paperclip boxes because I had no prior skills. What Texas Rehabilitation Commission’s evaluation suggested, I could’ve done before high school graduation in the Decca program and had a lot of other skills under my belt besides. My counselor even went so far to have a neuro-psychological test done on me. I never got the results to that even after transferring to two other new counselors within seven months. Since the men in white suits didn’t show up at my house with a straight jacket and a paddy wagon, I felt pretty safe about not starting World War III.

Even after returning for a re-evaluation in 1996 because my job as a PRN-Cashier on base didn’t work out,I found out things still hadn’t changed much. While the new people were more approachable, the attitude about who they were supposed to integrate into the community hadn’t. I will admit that I went head-on with the head of the testing department because they assumed I was wasting a lot of energy in a manual wheelchair. My assessment said that I looked sleepy at the end of an eight hour day.My ability to read and do math dropped from 8th grade to 6th grade. They thought I couldn’t handle full time work, suggesting that I purchase an electric wheelchair to get around. It had been at least four years since I had to get up at six in the morning to be somewhere at eight that morning.I only took eight o’clock classes as a last resort because I had to drag my sister out of bed to take me. Yes, I wasn’t used to that or the jump from mental to physical activities within a five minute time period. That should not have been a factor in finding full time work.

One of the van drivers at my church said that the above organization did more harm than good when trying to help these people. They were right.How could anyone be it a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor or a parent guide a disabled person without knowing what they were able to do first? My first counselor expected JTPA to kick in when TRC didn’t know what to do after I refused my first assessment recommendations of Receptionist Training or the Paper Clip factory. Classes at Vernon Regional Junior College, now Vernon College  were not possible without money.Another thing was, while these recommendations were not etched in stone, they were treated as if they were by the coordinators and job coaches.. JTPA was inert by the second time around. Hiring me over someone with the better skills could have bought about a lawsuit. Also during this time, I’d send the job coaches ahead to check out the situation to get their reaction. Most of the time they came back with a shoulder shrug or an I don’t know answer. They weren’t even thinking that I had the capability of working with children. They were surprised that I took the  job as a Program Aide at the Girls’ and Boys’ Club on Sullivan Street to get off their rosters a second time. My mother showed me that job in the paper and I jumped. This was no time to be picky. I couldn’t wait around for the job that offered a 401k and medical benefits. They were out there, but most were downsizing,, getting rid of those they had to pay a pension and medical benefits to.

Here is the present situation. One of the applications I filled out within the last week was pushing me to go back to school for a Web Site Design certificate. That meant finding financial aid or a grant, one that I wouldn’t have to pay back, taking fifteen classes for eighteen months in a field I wasn’t interested in. My field was writing.not web site design. It was better to focus on getting that certificate as a proofreader through EditorialCourses.com. Grammatiik.com offered free access to their site via  a seal after completion of the before mentioned class. It was less of a hassle coming up with $159 than $1800 for on line classes.

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3 Comments
  1. Thank you for your post. It is the way of the “red tape” bureaucracy and the automatons that run it that causes people like us to be left behind or drop through the cracks. I am happy that you found a way out, used your gut, and made a wise financial choice. I am replying because though my disability is different than yours, it is the “illusion” others live in that causes us to have to follow our hearts, use our minds, and rise above.

    • Thanks for your reply, Barbara. It’s not over yet. I haven’t been able to find work outside the home or other help that those “other” programs people elude to out there or in my local city.

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