The Most Stressful Job Program (revision)

Remember this blog post? I talked about how a program I tried that I thought would help me find a job turned out to be useless and stressful. I thought I would annotate some points. Knowing how easily people take me out of context with one word. This is necessary.

In 2017, I went through a program that I thought would help me find a job. It turned out to be useless and stressful. I don’t think they even help you with employment, to begin with. I thinking this is a result of that lady invalidating my autism, thus causing me to not get placed properly.

When my mom first called the place, either she did not ask questions or they did not provide her with information. So I did not know what these people were about. On the first day, a lady said ‘we help people with disabilities get jobs.’ They didn’t specify how. Do you train? Do you e-mail them companies hiring? Place them based on what they could handle? My guess was when my mom called she did not specify my disability and my problem with finding a job. I heard her say I need something where I am not around too many people.

I believe because the counselor they gave me refused to believe I have autism, this caused me to not get the help that I need. She refused to listen when I tried explaining. I tried explaining the struggles autism gives me and struggles it will give me on a job but to no avail. Autistic employment issues are different than someone who needs a walker to get around. My needs were different. How can I get help when a half-assed counselor refused to believe I am autistic because of ‘how I talk?’

When I said I couldn’t do this or couldn’t do that she saw is ‘negativity.’ Why are depressed people always blamed for being negative? Sometimes you see no light at the end of the tunnel. I thought of it this way before you buy a shoe, you try it on first? I know I have a problem with crowds, moving at a fast pace, understanding verbal instructions, especially if they are vague, changes, etc. Think of retail/fast food as the shoe and my foot is too big for the shoe. I can’t buy a shoe that won’t fit me. That is a waste of money.

If she refused to understand my needs, she probably did not put in the right information regarding my struggles. Let’s say she had to put in my condition and my problem with finding a job. She only acknowledged ADHD. Having both acknowledged would have made my time at the program less difficult.

When I went through the first phase when the lady introduced the program, I was given a paper to fill out. I saw nothing but physical disabilities. I didn’t see not one mental/neurological/developmental disability. This also could have been my problem.

I met with the coach in private before the first meeting. She took notes of my limitations. I thought she was saving that info for useful info to refer to so she’d understand my limits better. WRONG.

I was placed in a group with people who were previously employed.

How could I get help when I am in a group full of people with different struggles? If everyone in the group was previously employed and had to quit, have a physical disability and have smaller limits vs me who never had a job, have limitations the size of a phone book, need help finding a job that I can handle.

The coach did go over the program. Remember, autistics have difficulty filtering information and there was no written version of the program’s goals and the rules etc. Thus caused me to forget a lot of things and I had no written version of what the coach said to refer to. When you go to a clinic for let’s say a cancer screening, the doctor may hand you a booklet or they are provided in the lobby so you can better understand the condition you are being screened for. So I figured the program would have had a booklet lying around so you can better understand their goals, they didn’t have them in the waiting room or it wasn’t provided when I met with the ‘disability coach.’

Whenever I didn’t apply for a job or didn’t send out enough applications to please Sarah, she would pressure me. Like ‘you need to be committed.’ She just assumes we don’t care if we are not applying for enough jobs. She is working with disabled people. Does she not understand it’s not that easy for disabled people to find jobs? There was obviously a disconnect somewhere. This is not a group for helping you get a job. If someone is struggling to FIND a job to apply to and the coach expected you to apply. I felt the coach expected too much from us. It’s like she expected us to send in 10s 20s of applications. If you’re lucky, you may find maybe 2 places you feel could work.

She also expected us to work at least 20 hours a week but failed to realize if the person is trying to get SSI (or already have it) they have a limit on how much you can earn on the side. Let’s say 20 hours a week you’d make 200 bucks every 2 weeks. It will be 400 when you add it up. That would put you over SSI’s limit which is 200. So if the clients were on SSI, they would have to work maybe 10 hours a week or less. You have to account if they schedule you passed the amount of time you can work or call you in on your day(s) off that could put you over.

When the coach assumed I didn’t want to commit when I wasn’t applying, I felt she didn’t understand that most jobs are inaccessible for disabled people (etc no positions they can do for limited mobility) So if someone with arthritis can’t stand for several hours a day or walk too far but most of the job positions require standing, bending, lifting, unloading. They clearly need help being placed in a job that doesn’t require those things.

Another red flag is I told her I may miss days if my grandma has to take my grandpa anywhere (you won’t know until the last minute if he has an appointment) and said I couldn’t miss any days unless it’s job-related (eg interviews, volunteering) telling me to ‘take the bus’ remember I am UNEMPLOYED not getting disability checks and this ‘coach’ expects me to take the bus which you need MONEY for. If the fare is 3 dollars I’d need 18 dollars a week. Think about if I have to catch 3 buses. At the time I was in the process of trying to get disability.

In case I get attacked saying ‘you can’t miss work because your grandma is busy, entitled *insert name here*’ If I had a job, I’d have MONEY to catch the bus or a cab if my grandma had to drive my grandpa or my mom around.

Let’s put it this way. Let’s say I had joint pains, I couldn’t do retail nor fast food. Wouldn’t be able to stand for several hours, unload trucks, stock shelves, or prep food due to my pain. Can’t do office jobs due to the fact most of them are downtown and you have to commute via train and I wouldn’t be able to climb all of those stairs and walk from the stop to the building and vice versa. I think maybe this program knows what I can do. Only to get some idiot that invalidates my disorder, refuses to listen when I try to explain, has zero empathy and understanding for my autism and anxiety, get misplaced, put in the wrong group only for a ‘job coach’ to do nothing to help me find a job, expect me to apply to jobs when I clearly need help looking for places to apply to. And the coach assumes I don’t care about the program when I don’t apply when in reality I am struggling.

If this program had more than one group. I was not placed in the right one. That group seemed like it was for interviews.

These are all guesses due to the fact my mom and I failed to get information about these people BEFORE signing up and inferring the lady ignoring my autism was the result if being misplaced, say this program had a series of groups like that group I was lumped in was for interviews. Say if there was a beginners group that shows you the basics of a resume and mistakes to avoid. Or how to complete one if you have no work experience, how to find a job that fits your skills etc. I should have been in the starter group. The coach’s pace was way too fast for me based on her attitude when I was going at a slower pace finding jobs. And also due to the fact that one job was all I could find. I wasn’t ready to work. I was only applying to keep the coach off of my back. My impression was that they may offer training based on what you’re going for.

She never thought that I was struggling to find a job to apply for, I guess she thought adding more pressure to me was ‘help.’ It’s like the lady is there for show and they didn’t do a single thing that would actually help me. What I mean is emailing me companies hiring. Help me find remote work then I would’t have to worry about transportation.

I asked Sarah how much longer is this club and she says ‘forever, until you get a job.’ So what if I am out of luck and just can’t get hired? I come until I die? Sarah is pretty dumb for a job coach. Jobs are getting harder and harder to get. I can understand the club being for a few weeks or months, but until you can get a job? Remember employers are ablest. So if someone is out of luck and can’t get hired they’re confined to that program.

Maybe saying she is dumb is harsh but. The group that struggles the most with gaining employment, making them attend the club until they get a job is not a smart rule. Even with an NT or non-disabled person, hiring managers use every excuse in the book for not calling you for an interview or hiring you.

When I said the coach put pressure on me, I mean what she thought was not committing to the program was me actually struggling. She could have done something to help. Instead of ‘you need to commit’ ‘what’s the problem’ ‘where else have you applied’ ‘that’s all,’ she could have reached out. Something like ‘it looks like you are having trouble applying for jobs. Everyone else found 5 places per meeting but you only found 5 total? Can you explain to me the problems you are having so I can understand better.’

AT the staffing meeting I express to the coach the disconnect I had regarding this program. I told her I was under the impression that they help you find a job then she says with a snobby attitude ‘i told you that is not how it works.’ if the ‘disability councilor’ didn’t ignore and disregard me when I tried explaining my autism, maybe the coach would have understood that my memory is poor and forgot like everything she said.

There was a staffing meeting and the lady who caused me to get misplaced made me feel small because I ask the same questions. iI she knew anything about autism, she’d know we have issues absorbing verbal things. So we may ask again to get an understanding. She uses her arrogance to make me feel small for something I didn’t ask for. We will call the lady Sally. if Sally showed interest in wanting to understand my autism, I would have told her I cannot process a lot on info or else I will have no memory of it tomorrow. Writing it down won’t work because while I write one thing I will miss what else is being said. Then the coach would have been aware. But alas it was seen as carelessness and being ‘held back.’

If they have no intentions of helping me find employment, they should have told me from the get go and canceled my case. So it is clear that the program is for people ready to go back to work. Let’s review why I came to this

  1. They only ever did interview stuff
  2. expected us to apply for jobs
  3. didn’t go over resumes or cover letters. Someone who already worked wouldn’t need this
  4. didn’t go over how to fill out an application if you never worked

Vocational programs are useless if no one on the team has experience with autistic people.

Sally nor Sarah understood my autism.

My advice is this program needs some actually autistic counselors on their staff/or train everyone on the staff PROPERLY about autism and other neurological/mental conditions. The lady knowing zero about autism got me misplaced to start with.

They need more than one purpose, it seems like that groups only purpose was preparing you for interviews.

Actually place the person based on their struggles instead of lumping everyone together. You saw how lumping me in an interview group didn’t work. Who’s to say the other people in the group needed help with interviews.

Get rid of the rule that they have to attend the program until they get hired. Instead, if they are unable to get hired within 3 months close their case. Doesn’t make sense to hold someone hostage at that program when it’s clear they aren’t getting interviews or getting interviews and still not getting hired.

Learn how disabled people face ableism from employers. Interview people who have personally faced it.

Get networked with some companies, create a contract ( eg they are prohibited from discriminating)

Learn about remote working. Also, remote working is crucial now due to being in the worst pandemic in history. With some disabled people, remote working is all they can get.

Maybe hire an actually autistic coach as well. If that place has mostly physically disabled clients, I doubt they have any experience with neruo/mental conditions.

My final critisim is to learn about conditions like autism, anxiety, PTSD etc. If this place only does interviews I don’t think it will help someone that can’t even find a place to apply to. If they have muiltpile purposes, obviously Sally having no empathy and understanding caused me to not get placed

Also, I was ‘evaluted’ buy a different dude. I reconized the test. it was simialr to what I the socil worker did when I was in the 4th grade.

The so-called ‘test’ was to see what job I can handle. How TF did they get retail when it takes me time

to process and understand?

Their ‘conclusion’ was basically retail which is what I cannot due because of the pace, pressure, crowds etc. I would have been better off if I could work remotely for an office company.

Instead of that maybe a questionnaire and rate based on my score. If I scored low for retail/fast food then the job would not work.

I would say what each industry requires asks ‘would you be able to unload trucks no problem?’ Or ‘would you be able to work under pressure?’ Then conclude based on the results that way. If I scored low for retail then obviously the job won’t work.

No more programs for me, that coaches pressure caused me to have outbursts at my folks. If the ‘councilor’ invalidates your disorder, you are better off walking out. You won’t get any help with your needs being ignored.

Published By
aaliyahholt

It is my mission to replace stigmas with facts. There are so many stigmas and misinformation that surrounds autism. I am an aspiring writer who talks about autism and mental health. From sharing my experience to educating.

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