How the hell am I meant to hold down a job?(43 Posts)
I'm 23. Just been diagnosed with an illness for which I'll have to take methotrexate probably for the rest of my life - the doctors have told me that the damage to my knees from this is already pretty severe and causes a lot of pain while walking, but the government isn't interested. I can walk for a little while, therefore I can stand and run around for 8 hours working some retail job.
I just got a degree but my prospects in that area aren't too high. I was fine when I started the degree (relatively, anyway) and most of the jobs within the area are very active OR require extra education, which I can't afford. I've applied for hundreds of jobs relating to admin stuff sitting at a desk and even though I'm good at interviews it all comes back the same - not enough experience in the area/with the programs. I don't have the money to live away from my parents right now which we all desperately want - I'm 23 and they're both retired and understandably don't want a moocher living in the house. I don't qualify for benefits that would allow me to live on my own, especially not in a place where I can have my own toilet (which I need for other health-related reasons). I don't really get what I'm supposed to do here. Obviously, I won't be able to take sick leave every other day when I inevitably overdo it working 8 hours a day in a full time job and I can't control when flares happen or when I need to run off and throw up from the pain.
I don't want to be on benefits for life, but I don't really see what other option I have. It's all looking ridiculously bleak and hopeless. And yeah, I know plenty of other people can manage with this - I really, really can't. I could barely handle university which was only two lectures a week.
What is it that is limiting you? Think about what adjustments might enable you to work and as what. Have you applied for esa? Is there any local training available in IT packages, which may be free to jobseekers. Have you tried any volunteering to gain experience. I'm not sure I share your confidence at interviews. Many are competency based and expect specific examples of how you cope with each requirement. Ask for feedback.
I am sorry to hear of your illnesses. Without knowing the details, is it possible one of the following would work? Well done on completing the degree!
- desk jobs like editing/proofing or home based admin
- car based jobs like taxi driving or Amazon delivery person
- after school nanny?
It's very hard to say what the right job is for you without knowing the extent of your physical capacity or skills.
I do think you should try to avoid benefits at such a young age as getting a job - no matter what level - will help with beating other problems like boredom, depression and isolation, not to mention the effect on the state. I do see that it can be hard though.
I've volunteered in the past and I had a job at university but it's not possible to continue it because it's a student-based job and (pretty sure) it's technically a zero hour contract. You just got paid for the hours you picked up as a student mentor for open days and stuff.
I can't drive, sadly. I would be relying on public transport to get me to any job and there's nothing in my hometown so I'd have to live somewhere like my university town. I've been considering Leeds because it's pretty central but I can't get a place to live without money which means finding money from somewhere for a deposit/a month or two of rent and food, which is also a pain because I'm on a specialised diet that limits what I eat drastically. Can't live off of rice and beans unless I want to be throwing up all day :/
I couldn't do nannying. I actually did it for my work experience and I can't be down on my hands and knees (it's a type of aggressive arthritis) plus the medication basically means I have no immune system and I'd be picking up bugs from the kids all the time.
Most universities give you the right to use their careers service for 5 years after graduation, so that would probably be the first place to approach, they will have ideas of jobs that might be suitable not just ones related to your specific degree and also should be able to work out what you might be able to do. Good luck
Is there a Volunteer Bureau or community hub wherever you are (if google does not find it try Cab, library or the doit website)? They would coordinate suitable opportunities and candidates, some placements can lead to paid work, they may offer training or at least give you relevant experience to talk about. Even a befriending role , which sometimes can be done remotely, could be a starting point
Sorry you're not well. This is going to sound harsh but it's not meant to be - but you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and start working out what you can do not focus on what you can't.
You don't say but if you've got an RA diagnosis then you may be able to learn to recognise and manage the flare ups which will help you keep more control of your life. Methotrexate is safe for long term use if you can tolerate it so don't worry about that. Living with parents at 23 is really pretty normal and to be expected I think. And getting a job without experience is very hard for everyone.
So I think you should focus on a positive attitude towards your health (I appreciate this is harder than it sounds) and getting work experience to improve your cv and employment prospects. Does your uni have a careers service you could use?
Sorry to hear of your illness and situation.
I don't know how the government and benefits things work (or not) for you, but would there be any difference now you have a diagnosis?
Would voluntary work be any use in building up a track record of experience? Could you contact the careers centre at the university, for advice or suitable vacancies? They'll obviously have seen others who have ill health or a disability and are seeking work, so will hopefully be able to point you in some good directions.
I don't know whether you would refer to yourself as having a disability or not? Under the Equality Act 2010, you're disabled if you have an impairment with a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities here I just wondered if this would be of any use in accessing more help.
Either way, I wonder if an organisation such as Scope might have some tips about where to turn? I also found a link on their site for Access to Work.
I hope this might be of use, but I'm no expert, just wish I could help! Apologies if I'm barking up the wrong tree though. It must be really hard to be in that situation, and I hope you find some really good advice and can move forward soon.
(sorry if some of that is already answered above, they were cross-posts while I was being slow writing )
Sorry if I'm slow! There's not much voluntary work opportunities in town that aren't on your feet all day type jobs - plus, I really do need something I can actually pay my way with as stuck up as that sounds/
It also doesn't help that I have severe mental health issues (severe GAD and depression) which I'm on meds for, but they don't help much. They're the only ones I can take though thanks to multiple stomach issues that clash with medications. I did contact careers but they said they only help when people have an idea of a job they're applying for?? Which I found a little weird, but still.
The degree is biology based. I'm not sure what grade I got yet but I doubt it'll be more than a 2:2 with how badly the year went.
If you have mh issues too are there any support networks you could join? Have you applied for esa or do you have to wait until you graduate? Did you apply for any graduate entry positions yet? Did you do any placements as part of your degree?
Most people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (I assume that is what you have by your op)are able to claim Pip. If you have been turned down appeal. Go to citizens advice for help. As for work you have a protected disability therefore you can apply for any government job and be guaranteed an interview. There are literally hundreds of different jobs you could do. The money won't be fantastic but there are many schemes that will get you in at entry level.
Look at possibility of apprenticeships to get experience and maybe more education e.g. in admin related IT packages
Make sure you're ticking the relevant box on application forms as in many organisations you'll automatically get an interview if you meet the relevant criteria.
Also, Universities are generally fab employers when it comes to accommodating disabilities and once you're in there are often great training opportunities.
Good luck, it may be a hard process but it's going to be worth it.
Apply for call centre work, most use bespoke software so don't expect you to have experience using it. They generally give you about 6 to 8 weeks training before they put you on the phone and if you do inbound rather than out bound it's not that bad. Once you get experience you can even work from home.
Could you do an apprenticeship in programming? Desk/home work, nothing physical, and if you've studied a science degree you'll be numerate so shouldn't have too much trouble.
Public sector, civil service are another option to universities as supportive employers for people with disabilities. Lots of graduate posts, and having a science degree will be a real benefit. They are also good about flexible p/t hours.
Scope has an interesting looking employment page www.scope.org.uk/support/services/employment
biology based => labtech job? As long as you don't have to lift heavy stuff or stand a lot. I thought OP was gonna say she trained in nursing.
Doesn't the NHS hire lots of people to do specimen testing, pathology? Sounds like you could have a suitable background. It's a sedentary job.
I realise life handed you an unfair package, but try to focus on what you can do, not what you can't.
"Guaranteed interviews" for disabled applicants?
I'm failing to find the qualification requirements, though. Perhaps devil in the detail.
I know you feel that you can't do volunteering because you need to be paid - but at the moment you aren't getting paid either!
Can't you do some volunteering for a couple of hours a day at the same time at job hunting?
I also wonder whether zero hours contract is such a bad thing? It would mean you could choose to work when you feel more able, and choose not to work when you're struggling?
Why don't you write a list of what you can do (eg stand for ......minutes/hours) and go to an employment agency that supplies temps. They might have some short term work so you can try things out and work out what you want to do? Often they offer courses or ideas for courses that would help.
Does the job centre have advisors?
Temp work can be a good way to get office or admin experience, and often leads to permanent work - if you could get something in a university that would be a foot in the door.
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