The fight for gainful employment remained even off the grid
Since transportation remained elusive, so did the desire for gainful employment. This was worse than any type of job discrimination due to age, though it was more subtle and trying to rely on help from the state when both avenues were missing the biggest part of the puzzle The first time, my long response time led them to believe the question wasn’t understood. In truth, my dislike of the organization and having to take a class upset me because my counselor chose it for me . Here were the reasons why my inability to fit made me want to try to find work off the grid:
- Without a reliable way to work, getting a ‘real ‘ job was even harder, even with skills
- The state demanded special needs people play the game their way, or they weren’t employable
- Even with the results of the tests in front of them, a large amount of the puzzle pieces were still missing.
Yes, there were jobs that weren’t legal. However, a few of my writing friends on line and at church referred me to legitimate work, something that was not allowed with the state agencies unless it was lucrative. My longest jobs were found with Yahoo Contributor Network and the Examiner, seven years with the first and four years with the last. Creating readable fiction with the first outlet brought in many positive comments and accolades from the web. The most ever earned from the examiner was $12.
By ‘playing the game’, one had to accept what was on the assessment. Even though they said it wasn’t etched in stone our engraved in marble, they used it as the Gospels It bothered me that my long response time negated the results of my first assessment. My not liking the teacher of the Employment Preparation Class didn’t help either, me being the water, she the oil. My high school transcripts weren’t all that great,according to her, I didn’t apply myself. Missing the crucial year of my hip surgery four years before eluded her., but I told my first counselor and was praised for it. She mocked my writing ability, labeling it as an avocation rather than a life’s work. Thanks to the Neuro-psychological test, classes at the junior college were replaced by JTPA or working at the Paper Clip on Armory road, which was not liked by me because it didn’t take much brain power to count or close paper clip boxes.It didn’t require constant supervision either. The receptionist jobs were out too, as was the ability to create a job for me. My counselor advised against being a writer because it was difficult with no car or license.
If they had a copy of my resume the second time, they would have seen my skills as a volunteer tutor a year before and not been shocked when my getting a job like that in February 1997. Their words were that they didn’t know that was possible because it wasn’t on the assessment results. The majority of the time, they didn’t see the whole picture. For instance, on my second assessment, it requested my getting part time work because of my appearing sleepy after a full day.That was normal after not having to get up before eight in the morning to take college classes in three years. My adjustment was a week after. They also thought my buying an electric wheel chair was necessary because the standard had me wasting energy. Not only was there no where to put it in my mother’s house, there was no way she could’ve hauled it having no hitch or trailer. My going from overweight on the first assessment to argumentative wasn’t all that shocking seeing as the only thing that counted was what they said, no matter how wrong they were. How was an accurate assessment to be made when the tests had flaws and the people watching didn’t see the whole picture? Even though my counselor was still a little new to the situation, she understood my plight.
It felt like the ‘guns’ I stuck to in Life at the Crossroads were turned and fired on me.
With DARS, it was even worse. It felt like there were limitations with respect to customer service jobs. This was a large field, but it didn’t offer a large enough paycheck from home at 20 hours a week. It wasn’t my intent getting involved a third time, but it was necessary needing an active counselor for a job with a government agency. At the time, new laptop was also needed because the operating system went out of service last April. The problem was that it was easier for me as a writer than a customer service representative. His problem was not knowing how hard it was to find work outside the home.For nine months, he told me he knew what my problem was and he didn’t. At least my knowing the round trip cost to his office was an asset. It got so bad, that a supervisor left me a message wanting to know what went wrong on the phone. My referring her to the playback of the tape got no call back from her. The spring writing job was a lot easier to handle until my computer crashed. It was better for me to let DARS go than stay on their list any longer.
It was hard reaching out to others because my success either didn’t occur or was sporadic at best. Most of my situations were created because of the online connections with other writers in the last few years. Yes, there were mistakes, but they were learning experiences that wouldn’t have occurred if I had given up.