Personal Review: January 2019

Two days of rest-up were planned out during January’s final weekend; 26 and 27 January. Why? Well, I did strain a muscle – it’s good to keep pressure off it for a while. But still, I don’t feel lazy doing this. This month has been very busy for me – I’ve been active both during the week and weekends too. Right now, it only seems logical to start writing my first personal review of 2019.

Applications made; interviews gathered

There was an admin assistant working opportunity that I mentioned in a post just before Christmas. That didn’t go to plan, and I’ll talk about it later. But it doesn’t matter; in my eyes, it just wasn’t meant to be.

I was frustrated for a short while. But then I picked myself up and looked ahead. I decided the most effective action to take then was to just apply, apply, apply. It wasn’t long after that that I had my first interview in 2019 lined up. Since then they’ve been coming at me thick and fast.

I felt that my first interview went pretty well, but I wasn’t contacted again afterwards. A lot of companies do that, and I think it’s a crude action to take. But, if they don’t get back in touch, then I’m not as bothered about being rejected. They’re obviously not the nicest people to be working for, are they?

Formal Interview

So, moving forward, more and more interviews and appointments with recruitment agencies have arrived. I’m getting more phone calls asking if I want my CV put forward for job roles. These jobs aren’t often 100% appropriate for me, with memory loss and fatigue always causing trouble.

I’m always looking for administration work, but there are a lot of different types of admin roles. Answering incoming calls alone isn’t possible because of my memory problems. And starting before 9 am isn’t easy enough with fatigue. Simply being able to drive would be a huge advantage too! But right now, public transport is always my best bet.

Nevertheless, I’ve just applied for another job nearby and feel the interview went very well. I’ll know next week whether I’ve got the job or not. I have a better feeling about my chances this time.

Was it discrimination? I just want to talk.

The job I was interviewed for back in December was an admin assistant role. Based in Manchester, it was for 25 hours per week; part-time work that suits my fatigue. I thought the interview went a lot better than it apparently did. In the feedback, I was told I mentioned my disability much more than needed. One thing the employer admitted to via feedback was that they tested my memory.

Check your computer for memory problems notification picture
The Government’s Work & Health Programme are fine with me discussing possible discrimination with the employer

They had two questions. One was simply “I mentioned my name before; can you recall my name to me?”. I can’t remember the other question, and I couldn’t answer them both either. Beforehand, my mind was focused on the right points to address during the interview. But once I was asked questions about my memory I do remember being surprised and distracted. I’d never been asked questions testing my memory in an interview before.

Since then, I’ve taken a look at the Equality Act 2010. When looking at the rights of disabled people I’m not sure if what they did was legal. An employer who’s recruiting staff may make limited enquiries about your health or disability. The rules are simple enough.

You can only be asked about your health or disability:

  • to help decide if you can carry out a task that is an essential part of the work
  • to help find out if you can take part in an interview
  • to help decide if the interviewers need to make reasonable adjustments for you in a selection process
  • to help monitoring
  • if they want to increase the number of disabled people they employ
  • if they need to know for the purposes of national security checks

As mentioned, this was for an admin assistant role. People did mention that calls often needed to be gathered from their regular customers. However, other admin assistant roles need this sort of work to be taken care of too. A great memory isn’t usually asked for; an organised approach to your work is more often required. I can provide this by taking notes, and if needed, recording messages with a voice recorder. As time continues processes become more familiar with me too.

So, is a top-quality memory really needed to perform the task well? I’m not sure.

If it is, then that’s fair enough. I’m not going to moan about how horribly distorted the interview was to earn myself money. I just want to have a word with the employer about their approach. One fact I can state is that they didn’t need to test my memory. They could have just clearly explained that excellent memory is needed for the job. I don’t take on jobs I’d be terrible at and would have stepped down with acceptance.

There were three days of pre-screening before the interview took place. After being told about what the job involved by Total Recruitment UK I was obviously misled. I thought I had a good chance of getting the role, so agreed to complete a three-day course. It’s resulted in me getting a level one certificate sent for the course recently. How useful that’ll be, I’m not sure either.

The main problem for me now is contacting the employer. I don’t have any contact details, and the recruitment agency is reluctant to share them. They never released the company’s name during the pre-screening or interview either. All I know is that it was an administration job within the facilities industry. It was based in a warehouse around Ancoats in Manchester.

There is action I can take to try and get the information. It’s among my “must-do-soon” list. I can’t deny that it won’t be the nicest tasks to complete; stress is due to appear. But ringing more organisations to find myself legal help is possible. This time last year I let possible discrimination in another job role pass without taking action. I regret that though, so this year speaking out for disabled people sounds appealing.

GMCDP development sessions

The GMCDP are a great organisation to work with. Their first session for me to attend this year sounded very appealing to me too. It was all about development, and I want to move forward and start helping people with disabilities. Discussion took place that involved introductions. After that, an awful lot of chatter took place about the difficult lives of disabled people.

MediaCityUK Picture
I feel the Greater Manchester region would be a great place to develop peoples awareness of disability

Towards the end of the session, I struggled to include myself in the conversation. I can be too much of an emotional speaker, and it’s a sore that I’m gradually soothing. Frustrated as it was, I arranged a one-to-one meeting with staff member Brett shortly after. Seven days later we had a good chat about what had been discussed and more.

The GMCDP’s employees only feel like friends to me now. If anything, they’re the role models I need to start creating myself a greater destiny.

Disability Central is back on my mind

I mentioned the idea behind Disability Central last year. Put short, it basically involves starting more groups to shout out louder for disabled people. The government doesn’t insert anywhere near enough money into disability. Therefore I think it’s time for more of us to start taking action.

Receiving funding to get it underway would be difficult though. The main aim of the organisation is to fight for people’s rights in the UK. But like the GMCDP, I don’t think setting up a charity organisation would be right. Charity is generally seen as offering actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless. Disabled people shouldn’t need the charitable help of others to help them. They should be socially accepted and live their life as easily as like any other people.

Starting a Business for Dummies Book
I’ve got skills to learn but give me a bit of time: I’m looking to learn them

So, what are the alternatives to charity organisations? Well, businesses sometimes play the right game. Some aim to achieve sustainable social change and trade with a social or environmental purpose too. These businesses aren’t ignored either, and funding can be gathered from those who mean well.

Changes to my original idea have come to my mind. An online magazine that involves information about disability might now be a starting point. It will also talk about the arts and creativity of disabled people, especially in the UK.

As time continues, it might well start to do more than that too.

Right now, a business plan is being written out. I can’t deny that I need a bit of time to get things moving. However, later this year I think those who read this blog will know plenty more about my intentions.

Social interaction heads pretty high

I was more social last month, meeting up with new people I’d met online in Manchester. I just want to make some new friends! I recently interacted well with some old friends on the first of February, but you know when I’ll tell you about that. Meeting people in January was twice arranged online via City Socializer. It just helps arrange nights out with friendly people.

University wasn’t the social high of my life. However, as I get to know people more through this website I reckon I’ll make some good friends. I’ve already got friends of course, but things change. As time continues, people reach stages of their lives with new responsibilities at different times.

Epilepsy: VNS surgery isn’t too far away

Talking with surgeon Dr Josan, I’ve now arranged to receive VNS surgery when possible. As I’ve mentioned, it’s not a long procedure to have done; it only takes around one hour to complete.

Of course, he made it very clear to me that VNS surgery DOESN’T help your memory. I thought it did, but (due to my bad memory) forgot that it doesn’t. But when he made that clear to me, I recalled him saying it when I saw him last. I’ve had my mind set on getting this surgery for a while now, and wasn’t fazed by this. I said, “I want it”, and my name is now down on the list. The surgery will probably take place in Spring, and my pre-operative assessment is booked for mid-February.

Although it doesn’t help with your memory, people who have had it done say it does. There’s apparently a 50% chance of the surgery working. If it does, it can also improve your mood and help relieve stress and depression too. With negative thoughts out of the way, people will have more time to focus on positivity.

Broken desk surface

Aside from the check-in with my surgeon, I’ve actually had more seizures than usual this month. I broke my laptops desk surface for what might be the third or fourth time now. It’s now fixed, but I look forward to buying something with a stronger structure in the future.

Podcasts galore! I feel quite flattered…

I’ve made my efforts for charity and am proud to say that I’ve done so. But I never expected to be heard talking about my charity walk and journey in life so soon. Seize Your Adventure’s founder Francesca Turauskis has constructed two podcasts about my trips in life with epilepsy. One’s all about Ben Nevis, and the other is all about my general lifestyle. They both sound very professional, and I applaud Fran for her abilities.

Here’s a link to the podcasts that are available on the Seize Your Adventure website. Of course, what’s on that website isn’t all about me. It’s about the adventures that people with epilepsy undergo. What’s on that website is interesting to read, whether you have epilepsy or not. Once again, I recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.

One pretty busy month

It’s been a busy month, and I see it leading on to another one as well. I’ll try to get attention when needed, and certainly deserve to around 17 February. It’s my birthday, and I’m due to turn 30 years old.

But don’t worry about me; I’ll be happy to celebrate! My life has only improved over the past few years. I now know what I want to do with my life. In my eyes, I can see things getting better over the next decade, and look forward to it too.

Thanks for reading this, ATB, and take care x

Young Man on an Interview by Amtec Photos / MediaCityUK Aerial View by University of Salford Press Office

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