Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Quest for the Right Vocation

I have not written about my vocational rehab efforts for a while now. Things have been proceeding very slowly since I entered the program last September and I am not feeling much closer to having a job. A positive is that over the past year I would say I have continued to have improvement, both physically and cognitively, and  I think my job options should actually be improving.

scribbly cartoon of a resume
I had a bit of a "hissy" fit two months ago when we were working on my resume. I did not like the direction things seemed to be going. I somewhat tearfully told my job coach that I thought we were going the direction of a slippery slope taking me somewhere I would be miserable. That was followed by a couple of phone calls and a meeting with me, my vocational counselor and the job coach to review our objectives and make sure we were all on the same track.

The results were that we stepped backward and added in the step of visiting a few people to interview them and ask what they do at their jobs.  We asked, "What are entry level jobs in the field?" and for other bits of information.  The thought was that my understanding of these jobs may not be well informed. When I heard from the people working at those occupations I might understand why some jobs that I thought I might like were not really what I expected and why other jobs that were not appealing to me from the outside were really a good job fit once I understood the details of the job.

"Coach" set up three appointments and also set up a long appointment where we looked at information about the organizations and developed up a list of questions. Coach and I then went on several field trips and met some really interesting people.

The first interview was with a lovely young woman who works very hard doing two jobs from two different funding sources. Basically she works as a coordinator of programs for young special needs clients at a large private recreation facility and she also is involved in a program from that facility designed to work on independent living skills and job readiness for special needs young adults. Her job was too intense and physically demanding for me to ever do. We talked about how a program for older adults might be more to my speed.

 Next we visited with someone who is the volunteer coordinator at SMD, the center my job program is hosted out of. It is a massive local based organization that tries to meet the needs of the disabled community of Manitoba. The lady we interviewed is a very experienced woman with a background in human resources. Basically the lesson learned there was that there are very few organizations that can actually afford to hire someone as a volunteer coordinator. The need for that role still exists in smaller organizations, but the executive director or the board members normally take it on. She got met to tell what I loved in my old job and I talked about being an instructor and setting up programs and she asked why I was looking at being a volunteer coordinator with it's heavy administrative component when I loved the teaching aspects?

Yesterday we had another long visit, again within SMD, but this time with two individuals, the COO of the Fund-raising Department and also the person in charge of Marketing and Lotteries. It was really very interesting to hear about how a large department does things, but nothing was a huge surprise to me. I loved the lady we were talking to. She talked about what a team approach they have there and I would be happy to be on her team anytime and would consider volunteering with them. In terms of pursuing a career in fund-raising I am still not sure that is the best idea. I have done a LOT of fund-raising over the years and know that it wears away at me. There are many aspects that I like very much, but others that I absolutely despise. During our conversation the lady suggested that I might enjoy the diversity of a smaller organization where things are not so compartmentalized. I think she might be on to something.

I am feeling very discouraged right now. I have actually seen a few job postings that were of interest to me but they have all been full time and the reality is that I am only able to handle part time positions. I did learn that I enjoy interviewing people and I am pretty good at it. Not that it is a huge surprise, but it is one more thing I can add to my set of job skills.

Deciding what you want to be when you grow up is hard no matter what age you really are. Figuring out how to actually get that job does not seem very simple either - especially if you are 50, weak on one side and also have balance issues.



barbpolan said...

Yes, figuring out what to be when I grew up was challenging for me: I knew I was a writer, but getting to that as a profession took me on a circuitous path.

You'll find the right place for you, I'm sure. Also, pay attention to the fact that you are being meticulous in your search and making sure the process is right and goes correctly - that's an important skill.

And you're darn persistent.

All the best,

Glynis Jolly said...

I had similar experiences with the rehab place here in Tennessee. In fact, because they wouldn't even consider listening to what I was concerned about, I got out of the program.

Unlike you, I've had jobs before an a disabled person so I have been aware of what to expect. Nevertheless, I do understand your disappointment in how things are progressing (or maybe it's not progressing).

My suggestion to you is to write down the specific questions you have and then demand at appointment with the Job Coach or the Voc. Counselor. Make them answer your questions.

JanetK said...

Wow - it takes a lot of courage to go through this whole process! I feel like I still don't know my "true vocation" often. You are really thoughtful and reflective - I hope something will "click" for you soon!

Blue Shoe Farm said...

Yay to you being so on-top of everything! What a great advocate you are for yourself... with that kind of dedication something will happen in the job arena. I feel like I financially need to work FT, but physically right now I can only work PT. It is hard for me to accept my limitations, since I remember the time I had none. You, too? - Andrea

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