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Job Advice Please...

Old 12-19-15, 10:26 PM
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Job Advice Please...

So here's the breakdown of my situation:

I'm in my late 30s, on disability for mental illness but am allowed to work part-time. (I don't HAVE to work--which might sound like paradise to some, but believe me, it's not it's cracked up to be.)

I've been unemployed for 5 and a half years.

I've had 9 psychiatric hospitalizations (in a 9 year period) except for the last 4 years where my condition has FINALLY gotten more stable.

I'm a high school graduate (1997), but I have no college degree, though I've taken enough classes to almost get an Associates in Arts degree.

I live in a college town and am in competing for jobs for young, good-looking 20 somethings with connections.

I'm volunteering at 3 different volunteer jobs--one at the city Chamber of Commerce. I've also taken some Goodwill courses.

I have no car.

I've gone to many job interviews, but at present no takers. (I got one call back from an interviewer saying that though I didn't get the job, they said they were impressed by my interview and would keep me on file).



I'm not sure if I should continue on with looking for work, or should I just go back to college and get a degree and *then* look for work. Someone said, since I've been out of work that since I've been out of the workforce for so long that I'm mentally/physically deconconditioned from work. Maybe I should start at a job first, and condition myself first. And maybe see if I should do online courses (for what I have no idea).

I'm lost. Could I get some advice?
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Old 12-19-15, 10:33 PM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

I'm sure all the people I work with would love if I went on a mental leave of absence.

I also am not good with time off.

I have no advice, but best of luck Pat
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Old 12-20-15, 10:04 AM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

You mention "Get a Job" so are you just looking for something to pass the time and not to advance upwards in? If so, you can get a job at any quick service restaurant as a cashier or at a retail spot. You aren't clear on what jobs you have applied to and I am just inferring here, and possibly you are applying to jobs that are not entry level and would put you at a disadvantage against the "good looking college kids" who may be studying for a degree that that particular job is looking for.

My advice is only based on what you've posted and from my own personal experience. You need to decide if you want a career that you can grow with or a job that will just fill up your days. Either is out there but you need to be honest with yourself to which one you want. Just a job to pass time, be social and get you out of the house, then retail is good for that. If you want a more meaningful and fulfilling career, a degree will definitely help and theres nothing to say you can't do both at the same time. Go to your local community college and take some online courses to see what you may be interested in and thee are tons of schools that offer online classes. Or maybe you like a job thats more hands on, then consider a vocational school. If you dont have to work, and you have an income maybe do some traveling. Not to any exotic far away spot but the next town over, stay at a bed and breakfast, see something new.

But in all honestly, any advice that is given has to be taken with a grain of salt to what your personal goals and expectations are. Goodluck!
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Old 12-20-15, 10:32 AM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

^^
I would prefer a career if all possible. I want to use my time wisely and frankly I'd like to get off disability someday if I can keep myself in good health. My concern is:

1. The long gap in my work history (though I do have years of volunteer work that I can use to fill in that)

2. The medications I take slow me down some. (Though I take pretty good care of my health to counterbalance that).

3. The trickiest part: I'm not sure what field to go into. I've had interest in the humanities and communications my whole life, and I'm not sure it pays well unless one is a genius at it (though I could be wrong). The time in high school that I should have had the opportunity to figure out what to do with my life was eaten up with a newly diagnosed mental illness and HEAVY medication. (Much heavier than now).
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Old 12-20-15, 11:07 AM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Have you thought about contacting a temp/recruiting agency? They could possibly get you something that you could do part time or contract so you can get a feel for working again.
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Old 12-20-15, 02:45 PM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

I'll also recommend a temp agency. It can be easier for an agency to place you into a job over getting directly hired.
I've been with a few agencies over the years and they have all been pretty positive experiences.
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Old 12-20-15, 06:48 PM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Is there an organization that assists with job placement for people with similar mental conditions that you've been through? They might know companies that purposely hire people that would otherwise be a tough hire. Might not be the best job or one that pays well but its something that you can put on a resume.
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Old 12-20-15, 07:30 PM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Originally Posted by TomOpus View Post
Is there an organization that assists with job placement for people with similar mental conditions that you've been through? They might know companies that purposely hire people that would otherwise be a tough hire. Might not be the best job or one that pays well but its something that you can put on a resume.
I presently am working with an employment agency that helps disabled people. They don't seem to have any connection with any places of employment that would give me a chance. The person I work with mainly looks on Craigslist.

I volunteer at 3 places (including the city Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and get good reviews and letters of recommendation. (I even interned for a documentary studio a few years ago).

I think part of the problem is I'm unfocused about what I want. And there's that chasm between what I want in employment and what I'm able to do. It wears a person down.
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Old 12-20-15, 08:07 PM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

I think that if you can find something part-time that you can enjoy doing, you should get that job.
It really means a lot to have a sense of purpose about having somewhere to go, and getting to interact with others.
This might be a job that you think is beneath you, but at least working in a store or restaurant will keep you active.

At the same time, you should find a way to take some college classes either online or at a community college.

Not having a car makes things difficult, but you will be better off for making the effort.
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Old 12-23-15, 09:56 AM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Going back to work and going back to school is really tough.

I say continue working with that particular agency that you're already with but also expand to other temp agencies. Getting a job is tough but it seems that you have some good recommendations from your volunteer work so it should absolutely help. My recommendation though is to take what you can get in the environment you want (i.e. don't accept a job at Starbucks if you want an office job, but accept any type of office role you can get). And stick to something in your wheelhouse, meaning, try to find something that's similar to what you do in your volunteer jobs.

Going back to school is tough especially when you don't really know what you want. I'd recommend tapping the water by finding something that interests you from a list of free online classes you can take on coursera.org (I believe there are others but I like Coursera). Pick a class you'd think you'd like and allow yourself to get really into it. Complete all the readings, assignments and papers. Attend all the classes. It'll help you get back in the groove of school without the pressure of being graded and without having to invest your money into it. Dabble around a little bit, try a few things, and once you find a specialty that is right for you, you can start looking at real colleges.

I recommend doing the Coursea class right away. It'll set your mind into academic mode while the job search is still going on. My situation is different than yours but I've been in a position where I've been unemployed but actively looking for a job. It's a stressful process and there is only so much you can do. A lot of it is waiting around for call backs. This was when I discovered these free online classes and I really got into it. It was ultimately meaningless for the job I wanted to get but it was an area that interested me and it helped keep my mind off the job search and still made me feel like I was accomplishing something positive.
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Old 12-24-15, 07:52 PM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

More information is needed. Can you give us an idea of what your marketable skills are? Do you know how to work on a computer? Familiar with MS Office suite of programs? What type of jobs have you previously held? Were they clerical/administrative? Manual labor?
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Old 12-24-15, 08:13 PM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Yeah, more information on what field you're applying for is necessary to really chime in on.
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Old 12-24-15, 08:29 PM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Originally Posted by Jack Straw View Post
More information is needed. Can you give us an idea of what your marketable skills are? Do you know how to work on a computer? Familiar with MS Office suite of programs? What type of jobs have you previously held? Were they clerical/administrative? Manual labor?
I've mainly held food service and retail jobs. Sadly, the only jobs (so far) that I was adept at was video rental stores. HOWEVER, that's when my mental health was more wonky and comorbid cognitive problems were more severe.

I almost have enough college credits for a Associates in Arts degree or Transfer Degree.

I'm familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook (I've taken free Goodwill classes on them). I'm also familiar with Final Cut Pro 7. Years ago I created a very basic website with Dreamweaver.

I type about 50-60 wpm.

I'm presently volunteering at a non-profit theater, a home for the elderly, and the Chamber or Commerce of the city I live in. I also interned for a year at a film studio. (Which should, hopefully, fill in partially the 5 year gap in my employment history.

I'd like to work in a receptionist/administrative field. But, it's tough in the city I live as it is a college town.
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Old 12-25-15, 07:15 AM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

I dunno about you lot but does an Associate's degree really mean anything to jobs?

I never see anyone who gives a damn about that.
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Old 12-25-15, 12:01 PM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Since you are disabled and don't have to work, I say go back to school, finish AA (or better yet get a BA) and then re-access. Keep volunteering or working PT at the Temp place but focus on school.
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Old 12-26-15, 02:04 AM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Originally Posted by PatD View Post
I have no car.
Get a car
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Old 12-26-15, 09:38 AM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Originally Posted by Chrisedge View Post
Since you are disabled and don't have to work, I say go back to school, finish AA (or better yet get a BA) and then re-access. Keep volunteering or working PT at the Temp place but focus on school.
That's exactly my advice as well. If you have the luxury of time and the financial means, finishing your eduction is invaluable. It will open up so many more job opportunities at higher salaries. Plus it may allow you to explore other fields and focus in on what you're truly interested in for your career.
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Old 12-29-15, 08:01 PM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

I just lost the volunteer job at the Chamber of Commerce. Apparently, I misfiled some envelopes that were meant to go out. I was not informed of this mistake and believed I had done the job correctly--I was not given an opportunity to correct it myself.

They said I was personable, punctual, and willing to work, but if you make one mistake, it's one and done. I really took pride in that job and wanted to give my best to them. To get canned from a volunteer job is an insanely painful welt on a person's ego.

I'm inching more and more towards the idea of going back to school. Because it's slim pickings in this college town.

Also, thank you so much to everyone here for offering their 0.02 about what I should do. Feel free to continue to chime in (it helps me weigh my options).

Last edited by PatD; 12-29-15 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 12-31-15, 10:18 AM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Originally Posted by PatD View Post
...if you make one mistake, it's one and done. I really took pride in that job and wanted to give my best to them. To get canned from a volunteer job is an insanely painful welt on a person's ego.
That's an idiotic policy, so don't feel bad about it.
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Old 12-31-15, 12:41 PM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Originally Posted by PatD View Post
I just lost the volunteer job at the Chamber of Commerce. Apparently, I misfiled some envelopes that were meant to go out. I was not informed of this mistake and believed I had done the job correctly--I was not given an opportunity to correct it myself.

They said I was personable, punctual, and willing to work, but if you make one mistake, it's one and done. I really took pride in that job and wanted to give my best to them. To get canned from a volunteer job is an insanely painful welt on a person's ego.

I'm inching more and more towards the idea of going back to school. Because it's slim pickings in this college town.

Also, thank you so much to everyone here for offering their 0.02 about what I should do. Feel free to continue to chime in (it helps me weigh my options).
Ask for a reference letter. Chances are if you list them as work experience on an application it'll likely never get verified and that might be a ding against you. A letter would fix that.
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Old 12-31-15, 01:26 PM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Go to school and get after a Bachelor's degree. If you have the time to do it a business degree can lead to a wide variety of careers.
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Old 04-09-16, 01:45 AM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

I got hired today at a senior center as an administrative assistant. I'm back in the workforce! I feel like Will Smith at the end of The Pursuit of Happyness.

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Old 04-09-16, 02:15 AM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Congrats on the job!
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Old 04-09-16, 03:12 AM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

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Old 04-09-16, 03:57 AM
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Re: Job Advice Please...

Congratulations!
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