Okay, this isn't funny anymore.
March 27, 2016 8:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm still here and here. I just don't have it in me to keep throwing pebbles at a brick wall. Hope me. Golf-ball sized snowflakes inside.

I've done it all:
What limited networking is possible with a stutter of this severity
Going through every city and state agency imaginable
Writing letters to my elected officials
Writing to professors at local universities to try to get into labs
Trying to get internships that are remotely related to where I want to be 10 years from now
Redoing my resume till my eyes bleed
Taking the civil service exam, getting 100, getting interviewed, and getting ignored
Every antidepressant and type of therapy. I now HATE therapy with a passion.
Other odds and ends that you wonderful Mefites have suggested

I need help. I eventually want to go back to grad school and/or medical school. I don't want to be shoehorned into a job with no mobility, like so many people with disabilities I know have been.

I've been on several interviews I thought were a sure thing. I keep getting patted on the back for having gone, despite an extremely difficult time getting things out, and it ends there. I constantly hear something to the effect of " I'd hire you if I could" or "it's their loss" and it makes me sick.

It's near-impossible for me to do a well-spoken, intelligible interview, given the spastic stutter. I'm okay after I get to know people, and some have suggested bringing along an iPad, but most employers, realistically, look down on that sort of thing.

I also have no patience right now to do something that requires me to a) sit at home or b) write/compose. The brain fog I was dealing with never really abated. I need to be doing something concrete, with other people and in a stimulating environment, with someone else giving me a sense of direction, for now.

Apologies for the lack of coherence here. I just had to get everything out. You all have been so good with this stuff in the past. I can't wait to hear what the Green has in store this time
posted by marsbar77 to Work & Money (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In your previous question you said you have a "weak work ethic" due to ADD. Is that all cleared up now? Also, have you gone through any disability-based employment organizations?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:23 AM on March 27, 2016

Not to threadsit, but I have gone through a number of disability employment orgs, and any leads fizzle out quickly because people don't know what to do with me. I'm going through what's called a 'work-readiness' program now, shoehorned in by my local voc-rehab agency, but it's for people on the autism spectrum, and all you're promised at the end of it is help getting a clerical internships. This is what has set me into panic mode. I see a dead end ahead. The fog hasn't cleared up, but if there are concrete tasks I can orient myself to, I'm, able to manage.

Okay, closing this thing out before I get the urge to butt in again!
posted by marsbar77 at 9:29 AM on March 27, 2016

I'm not an expert on this subject by any means, but I'd bite the bullet and take that clerical internship (or any internship, really), if it becomes available to you. It's better than nothing (no, it really is), and it's not a dead end: internships end, and can often pave the way to a full-time position, from which you will be better able to navigate your next move.
posted by WesterbergHigh at 9:55 AM on March 27, 2016

but most employers, realistically, look down on that sort of thing.

Has anyone actually told you that? I mean, in the US, they'd be skirting ADA law to tell you that, but has someone actually given you the advice that you should just struggle through interviews rather than accommodate yourself?

If you walk in there and show that you have a plan in place to (seemingly) comfortably use an assistive device in a situation where nerves etc are making your stutter especially intrusive, then you take a number of concerns about suitability for the job off the table.

I'm not saying this will solve everything and magically get you a job, but I don't think it's the detriment you have decided it is. From the hiring side of the desk, I certainly wouldn't be thinking "this asshole brought a way to make things easier, what nerve!" I'd be all, "excellent, a problem-solver, let's get on to the actual having-the-interview part of the interview."

I mean, I do realize there are prejudiced assholes in the world and many of them are in hiring positions, but if they had an applicant walk in with a hearing aid or communication device or cane, I don't think even their primary thought would be "they should have to interview without that."
posted by Lyn Never at 10:04 AM on March 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

( So I didn't close this out as promised because Impulse Control, but yes, let's assume I'll be taking the internship, but will not be interested in working for say, a real estate agency, at minimum wage). The trouble is that I feel powerless, and so anything where an opportunity for mobility isn't immediately obvious will paralyze me again...
posted by marsbar77 at 10:04 AM on March 27, 2016

And yes, in the larger sense, it's fine to do a dead-end job for a year or two when one of your biggest problems is lack of experience to show, and decent references. It's not actually dead end when you have something to show for it afterwards.

You may need to reframe what you think of as "mobility", especially in this day and age. As a woman in the tech industry, I know for a fact that I have to leave my job and take a job elsewhere to get more than a token raise and title upgrade. That's just how it is, and that's true in a lot of industries now - nobody hires you hoping you work your way up, and most only have a few level-up positions for a comparatively large field underneath, because that's how management works. We're all powerless.

I try to make sure I leave each job knowing more than when I went in, that's really all I can hope for. Every new project, product, industry, and methodology I'm exposed to is a bullet point on my resume to impress someone at a different company.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:10 AM on March 27, 2016 [10 favorites]

In my city I have volunteered with our Centre for Mental Health and Wellness, a community centre for clients who have mental health problems and are seeking help. The centre offers programs like arts and crafts, drama club, games clubs, cooking, social outings, and so on, and have counsellors on staff to supervise and support the clients. These programs support clients' improvement of their social interactions skills and maintaining a schedule, developing their sense of capability and independence. There are many volunteer opportunities there, as well as staff positions. They are incredibly kind people.

Maybe this would be of interest to you with your psychology degree. I would recommend you look into similar associations and community programs in your area. See whether they have any kind of volunteer opportunities, even basic ones like canteen or kitchen or something just to try out the environment there, and get to know the people there, the staff and the clients, see if you like it. I don't recall the level of education or specific education/certification required to work there as an employee, but I don't think the people I worked with had anything like a masters degree at the counsellor level. You could find out from them whether your current education is something you could build on for this type of work, and find out how to get qualified. Volunteering is most likely part of the path towards employment in this field.

A lot of these jobs' mobility involves working as a counsellor for a few years, and then upwards into supervisor and manager/director positions if you're so inclined. The work could also lead you to other opportunities with similar programs.
posted by lizbunny at 10:10 AM on March 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

I also don't see a big problem with using an iPad or similar device if it allows you to better express yourself using professional language. You express yourself well here. The iPad may get you over the extra hump of expressing yourself. I won't deny that discrimination is real, but what you want to do is make it very easy for the people interviewing you to look past disability.

Also, a year or so in a go-nowhere clerical role might be exactly what your resume needs. And it'll be easy for when you are asked why you are leaving - "I took it because I needed experience, but there is no room for growth." You are a recent grad - it's hard for recent grads to find good employment right off the bat. Many people have to take mediocre clerical positions right off the bat. It sucks but it is what it is. If you are in an urban area, I would encourage you to also reach out to some temp agencies that place people in prestigious white-collar offices. Not blue collar that also sometimes provides clerical. Try to form in-person relationships with those recruiters. LinkedIn is not enough when people haven't yet worked with you and your resume is recent-grad thin.
posted by stowaway at 10:37 AM on March 27, 2016 [6 favorites]

anything where an opportunity for mobility isn't immediately obvious will paralyze me again

Honestly, I would suggest that you need to do some adjustment of expectations. Your mobility and speech issues are no doubt part of what's holding you back, but your lack of professional progress is a *really* big factor to hiring managers. Lots of people, abled or not, have had to take low level jobs with no opportunity for mobility to get started, because that's one big way to show that you have the motivation and dedication to push through doing things you don't want to do but need to get done.

It's time consuming and costly to hire people, and if your resume looks like you might give up easily, it makes it really hard to give someone a chance. It may not be right, but as a potential employer, I would be terrified that if I might hire someone with a disability who's been out of school for a while and had an uneven college history, they would end up underperforming in the role they'd be hired for or decide it's beneath them but use threats of ADA lawsuits to keep the job.

I know from what you say here that you've worked hard, but that's not what your resume looks like. You need to be doing something for a while, even if it's a non-great job or long term volunteer position. That's what will start opening the doors to better things.
posted by Candleman at 11:04 AM on March 27, 2016 [14 favorites]

I feel like this didn't go over the way I meant it to. I should make it clear that any linked resumes are outdated and I have done some more editorial work since then. I am not above entry level work- it's what I have been chomping at the bit for two years to try and do.. No one will look at me, for *anything *, volunteer or otherwise. Even the internship I mentioned here isn't guaranteed in the least.
posted by marsbar77 at 2:38 PM on March 27, 2016

When I was trying to break into my field, I actually had interviews with the heads of departments of companies I wanted to work for and asked them, based on where I was currently at, what I needed to do to get hired.

There was no actual job going at the time - I simply wanted to be told if there was any part of my work, interview presentation, skill set etc that was lacking that I could improve upon to get a job.(I was basically told I needed to do internships to get more experience before I got hired, which is what I did and it worked but your feedback may be different.)

I guess what I'm getting at is you need some honest feedback about why you're not getting anywhere. Don't assume it's your disability. Also, don't assume that asking the question will be viewed as a negative. Everyone I spoke to saw it as a huge positive that I was prepared to open myself up to criticism and find out exactly what it took to better myself as a new graduate and land a job in a hugely competitive field, and then go out and actually take their advice.

If you don't ask, you'll never know. Best of luck.
posted by Jubey at 3:49 PM on March 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

i think jubey's advice is really good. informational interviewing can really help you in a few ways. first, you are talking to people in the field you want to be in without asking them for a job. you are asking them for advice and for feedback. it immediately puts you on the same team as them; they want to help you succeed. often from here you can make connections to other people in the industry you want to be a part of who are hiring for jobs. the people you have spoken to earlier can often find jobs before they are on job boards so you aren't competing against others. it feels like a roundabout way of getting a job but it can be really powerful.

the book "what color is my parachute" talks a lot about this kind of interviewing and you can even get a little workbook and work along with the book. it should be at the library.
posted by andreapandrea at 7:20 PM on March 27, 2016

Let me say a bit about the stutter. Some people have seen a reduction in stuttering with atypical antipsychotics like olanzapine or risperidone, or with clomipramine. There's a guy at UCI who was studying the first two vis-a-vis stuttering. All have significant side effects, and you definitely should consult with a doctor before taking any.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:24 AM on March 28, 2016

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