Recently, I reached out to a disability organisation who was offering a mentorship program. As you know, in 2023 I spent a horrible bunch of months job hunting. Don’t be disabled and job hunt, people will verbally abuse you for existing. Anyway. Clearly 99% of my career options no longer exist due to the fact I now have to work from a desk in my spare room instead of a desk in someone else’s office. And yes I deliberately write it that way because it makes it sound pathetic, because it is a very pathetic situation.
When I first received the email about this mentorship program, it seemed a bit basic. It was about helping people write a resume, practice interviews etc. The suggestions seemed to be based on the assumption that disabled meant never employed before. Which may be common due to the levels of discrimination out there, but wasn’t the problem I need help with.
I emailed them, gave them a quick background along the lines of “now housebound, career opportunities have died, what can the mentoring program help me with if I apply?”
And while the reply gave me the feeling they were also disabled and had some lived experience of this (just a gut feeling, I can’t explain it), every single answer was useless:
- build my connections by going to networking events (I’m housebound)
- get help for entering a new workplace (yeah I’ve had a billion contract jobs in my life, I don’t need help with this)
- increase my confidence asking for accommodations (they’re spelled out in my cover letter and resume, I don’t need help with this)
And what I am learning is that I have to DIY my life. I can’t ask anyone for support. This is often seen as a negative in the wishy washy self help circles online, that you have to ask for help! But every time I ask for help or inclusion, I’m asked to provide the solution too. So why ask for help when I have to provide the answers? The above is just one example. I feel much the same way about psychology, I quit again earlier this year as they tell me I’m doing so well and it’s so invalidating when doing so well comes at such a steep cost.