Category Archives: Job search

Employable Me – BBC documentary series: Review

The BBC documentary series “Employable Me” features a bunch of job seekers with neurological/developmental disorders such as autism / Asperger syndrome, Tourette syndrome and Down Syndrome, as they strive to overcome unemployment. The series aims to show the people behind the first impressions, and dispel the myth that people with neurological conditions are unemployable.

 

Photo from Employable Me: Ashley (Aspergers) handshakes potential employer in work trial in Auction hall
Ashley on work trial in auction hall
Credit: BBC

 
A total of 10 job seekers features in the 7 episodes*:

• Paul (52) has Tourette’s, and Brett (34) is autistic
• Tom (27) has Tourette’s, and Ashley (29) has Asperger syndrome
• Ellie (23) has Tourette’s, and Ben (27) has Asperger syndrome
• Thomas (25) has autism
• Louisa (40) has Asperger syndrome
• Zena (25) has Down Syndrome
• Matthew (27) has Down syndrome

The participants are all unique and different from each other, yet the conditions divide them into broad categories of shared challenges. Continue reading

No Yes! I got the job!

My last post was about not getting the job as a Research Interviewer. Now I got it anyway!

What are the odds of being called back and offered a job after first being rejected? They called me again and asked if I am still interested. The lady said that they have more work in my area and have reconsidered what I said about being fine with the risks and interviewing people with different socio-economic backgrounds. Yay! I start training next week!

 
Preparation & probation

The preparation requirements and planning (which I have already received in writing) are thought through and fair and well organised, as everything seems to be with this organisation.

There is a questionnaire to hand in by the start of the course. It seems to be a sort of exam in the organisation’s values and the character and duties of the job. I’ll also need pass photos and a ‘fit for work certificate’ from my GP this week.

The formal job offer will be given by the end of the seven day training course. As is the norm in Australia, the first 3 months of the job is a probation period where I can get sacked without any specific reason and virtually no notice. So the job isn’t secure as such, but this is a start, and an income… which is a great improvement since last week.

 
Preliminary worries

With this success on board, I have started to worry about the training. Not the training itself, but the seven days of social challenges.
Continue reading

Job interview rejection: safety reasons

I got the reply for the research interviewer job – I didn’t get the job.

This time I did have the nerve to ask why, and the reason took me by surprise. First of all, they do think I would be able do the job well. However:

There are some pretty rogue areas in the region I was meant to cover, and I am not native to the area. We just moved here in January. They worried that it may not be safe for me to drive around by myself and visit strangers after dark, not knowing what risk factors to look out for. My closest competitor for the job was, apparently, a local guy who has grown up here and knows all the local dos and don’ts. That’s what tipped the balance out of my favour this time.

The rejection is very disappointing, and the reason very unexpected.

 
In hindsight, they did ask a lot about safety

Now when I re-think the interview, I can see it coming.

I recall they asked how I like the area I live in and kept circling around that topic. I thought it was just ice-breaker small talk. I said that although I have been told there are some rogue streets with housing commissions, I haven’t personally seen any and live in a nice section of the neighbourhood myself.

They also asked how well I know the area, to which I replied ‘not very well yet’. I then talked about GPS, assuming what they asked was how good I would be at finding my way around (a weak point which I was anxious to play down). They asked how I would feel to visit unfamiliar streets in rogue neighbourhoods after dark, being all by myself, and I said ‘fine, I don’t have a problem with that’. They circled repeatedly around this type of questions, and I should have noticed the gravitational centre the questions evolved around, but I didn’t.

I said that I feel confident and safe, that I usually respond calmly to aggression, and that I am not afraid of darkness and strangers. I aimed to convey confidence and reassure them that I would not run away from the job in panic. I repeated that I don’t have a problem with the risks when the lady called to tell me they gave the job to someone else because they thought it would be too dangerous for me.

However, now I see it: the issue is not how I feel about the risks. The issue is how risky they think the job actually is for me. They evaluated it to be too risky relative to the local guy.

 

Poster for the Australian horror movie Wolf Creek: girl running away on road, filmed from behind
Is Wolf Creek in my neighbourhood? I don’t think so.

 
‘Not native to the area’. To be fair, I am not even native to this country. It does have significantly higher crime rates and socio-economic imbalance than my native country. And I did mention that I have grown up in a very safe country, and that that’s probably why I tend to feel safe. FAIL.

 
Women are vulnerable targets?

The whole ‘women* are vulnerable to predatory attacks’ theme seems culturally alien to me.

I imagine that the risk of falling victim to random predatory violence (‘stranger danger’) varies wildly depending on the situation and bad luck. I see the risk profile of each individual fluctuating along an invisible normal distribution curve subject to a multitude of external and personal risk factors Continue reading