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  • FIRST POST
    • AMJF
    • By AMJF 15th Jul 17, 12:46 PM
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    AMJF
    I have not had paid work for TWELVE YEARS now
    • #1
    • 15th Jul 17, 12:46 PM
    I have not had paid work for TWELVE YEARS now 15th Jul 17 at 12:46 PM
    My last job ended in January 2005, and I went to go back to JSA only to be told I was going on Income Support or Incapacity Benefit because my claim form listed medication. I have not had a paid job since then, but I have been volunteering at the PDSA and then Mind Cymru until now. In 2012 I was moved from IS/IB to ESA WRAG but have had no JCP appointments in all that time.

    I am 45 this September and I'm seriously doubting my employment prospects, even though I am being hauled before a WCA assessor on Tuesday. I am obese in my torso, have Acute Urinary Retention, bad knees, and am on medication for mental health issues and a hiatal hernia.

    What should I expect? And what are my chances of ever finding paid work again?
Page 1
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 15th Jul 17, 1:50 PM
    • 3,323 Posts
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    sangie595
    • #2
    • 15th Jul 17, 1:50 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Jul 17, 1:50 PM
    Yes, finding paid work isn't going to be easy after such a long gap - but people do this, and not just rarely. A lot depends on you. If you are prepared to really get into your job searching, if you try for everything possible, and if you make an effort - yes, it's entirely possible you could find paid employment. Having a history of volunteering does help, as it shows you haven't just sat around watching the goggle box all day, but have been putting something back into society, and keeping busy. And disability isn't a barrier to employment - lots of people with disabilities (me included) work.

    The most important thing is to not look at the reasons why you can't work, but find ways in which you can see yourself working. If you only see the barriers, then you'll never get past them.
    • IAmWales
    • By IAmWales 15th Jul 17, 2:19 PM
    • 933 Posts
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    IAmWales
    • #3
    • 15th Jul 17, 2:19 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Jul 17, 2:19 PM
    What skills have you learned through your volunteering?
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 15th Jul 17, 2:44 PM
    • 1,026 Posts
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    Fireflyaway
    • #4
    • 15th Jul 17, 2:44 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Jul 17, 2:44 PM
    Call centre work? Its not physical and adjustments can easily be made to keep you comfortable. You have communication skills gained from volunteering and I'm assuming you are caring and compassionate based on your choice of volunteer placements.
    Focus on what you can do. You might feel a bit ropey, but for every challenge you face or ailment you have, I bet you have double the number of useful and nice qualities. Finding a job is not all about skills, personality plays a huge part too. Start by taking a temporary role or a zero hour contract (if you can) as a easier way to get in the door.
    • AMJF
    • By AMJF 15th Jul 17, 3:16 PM
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    AMJF
    • #5
    • 15th Jul 17, 3:16 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Jul 17, 3:16 PM
    What skills have you learned through your volunteering?
    Originally posted by IAmWales
    PDSA was a charity shop, and I was doing all sorts, practically everything except the till.

    Mind Cymru is an office environment and I'd been doing different things there, too, but mostly this time on the IT side of things.
    • AMJF
    • By AMJF 15th Jul 17, 3:20 PM
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    AMJF
    • #6
    • 15th Jul 17, 3:20 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Jul 17, 3:20 PM
    As I said, the WCA is on Tuesday and after that it could take weeks for a decision. I was maybe thinking of getting in the habit of job-applying after Tuesday and seeing if I could get something before the outcome. Or should I wait?

    Also, I'm in Cardiff and there's almost a certainty that I'll end up on Universal Credit. Do I stand a good chance of getting an Advance before my first payment, 6 or 7 weeks from claiming? And is the 35-hours a week aspect negotiable? I want to be eased in, not thrown in at the deep end. I heard it was.
    • IAmWales
    • By IAmWales 15th Jul 17, 3:21 PM
    • 933 Posts
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    IAmWales
    • #7
    • 15th Jul 17, 3:21 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Jul 17, 3:21 PM
    PDSA was a charity shop, and I was doing all sorts, practically everything except the till.

    Mind Cymru is an office environment and I'd been doing different things there, too, but mostly this time on the IT side of things.
    Originally posted by AMJF
    That's great, you've experience in retail, customer service and in administration.

    To start building your cv, for each role think of three bullet points that describe what you did and the key skills you learned. For example, you have experience in dealing with customers face to face and over the phone.
    • General Grant
    • By General Grant 15th Jul 17, 4:27 PM
    • 625 Posts
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    General Grant
    • #8
    • 15th Jul 17, 4:27 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Jul 17, 4:27 PM
    The OP was trying to explain on a forum what they had done. For retail not working on the till is relevant. Though I agree not to actually state a negative on the CV, actually telling a lie is never a good thing. Say what you can do, not what you can't.

    A prospective employer may not check with a previous (voluntary role) one exactly the duties involved. However if you say you can do something but then can't demonstrate this on your first day at work or in a practical interview test, it is far worse that saying that you would need training on their equipment.
    Last edited by MSE ForumTeam3; 19-07-2017 at 12:03 PM. Reason: Quoting deleted post
    • AMJF
    • By AMJF 15th Jul 17, 5:19 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    AMJF
    • #9
    • 15th Jul 17, 5:19 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Jul 17, 5:19 PM
    I should point out I've also been a carer for some of that time, namely my mentally sick mother for over a week each from 2009 to 2011 (she died shortly after in 2011) and my paternal grandmother aged 90+ for ten days a few years later (who also died a year or so later). I've not yet mentioned that on my CV, however, as I doubt I'm ready to take on caring for strangers.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 15th Jul 17, 6:05 PM
    • 3,323 Posts
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    sangie595
    Caring responsibilities show attitude and application, even if that isn't what you want to do. It isn't the kind of work for everyone, and nobody should do it if they don't want to! But all of these things demonstrate that you have not got a ten year gap - it's just filled with other valuable things. Because honestly, for all sorts of reasons, if you can work, you ought to. It isn't even about money. Although that might help! But do you know, for example, that people who have been in employment live longer than those who haven't? By quite a few years.

    You obviously have quite a bit about you - don't make this about whether you pass a test or not, but whether this is good for you or not. Even if you retain your benefits as are, that doesn't stop you looking for the right job - it just makes it a little less urgent. If you are ready to work, and I think you believe that you could, then think about what a difference that could make to you. Maybe, just maybe, in 12 or 18 months you could be posting on the board for holiday abroad bargains instead of here!!! Work isn't perfect - that's why the lottery makes so much money! But it has a lot going for it that benefits don't have.
    • aife
    • By aife 16th Jul 17, 1:23 AM
    • 88 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    aife
    I agree with the General. Don't lie , lies have a way of surfacing . And it would probably be a source of anxiety that you just don't need. Just list all the things that you DID do , and if anybody specifically asks just say , no - you were never asked to do it / they had somebody else covering that role , whatever.
    • AMJF
    • By AMJF 17th Jul 17, 9:04 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    AMJF
    Well, the WCA is tomorrow morning. I think I should be as truthful as I can be, but then I'm wondering when the decision will be made - it could be as little as two weeks or as much as 13, from what I've read.
    • GDB2222
    • By GDB2222 17th Jul 17, 10:18 AM
    • 13,842 Posts
    • 74,074 Thanks
    GDB2222
    Well, the WCA is tomorrow morning. I think I should be as truthful as I can be, but then I'm wondering when the decision will be made - it could be as little as two weeks or as much as 13, from what I've read.
    Originally posted by AMJF
    When describing your difficulties, you should be truthful, but they generally vary, and you can reasonably describe your difficulties on a bad day, rather than a good day.
    No reliance should be placed on the above! Absolutely none, do you hear?
    • AMJF
    • By AMJF 17th Jul 17, 2:28 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    AMJF
    When describing your difficulties, you should be truthful, but they generally vary, and you can reasonably describe your difficulties on a bad day, rather than a good day.
    Originally posted by GDB2222
    Should I describe what a day would be like if I ran out of medication and catheters, as they keep my conditions under control?
    • jobbingmusician
    • By jobbingmusician 17th Jul 17, 3:45 PM
    • 18,569 Posts
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    jobbingmusician
    I would do this! Say 'if I didn't have access to medication and catheters.....' But that it's a separate thing from what you feel like on your bad days.

    What is the result of this? For example, it could mean that you need to work within walking distance of a chemist or something. Point out any needs you have as a result of your condition, as they might relate to 'reasonable adaptations' that an employer should make to employ you.
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    • AMJF
    • By AMJF 18th Jul 17, 1:41 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    AMJF
    Had the WCA this morning. I think it went OK for me, and I was quite surprised how much my mental condition was brought up, and they asked plenty of questions about that. Also, there was no sign of those silly physical tests most claimants are asked to perform.

    I focused on my anxiety and paranoia and I am actually afraid now that some of the things I said (like thoughts of self-harm and suicide) are likely to get me sectioned, but then that's how I feel when I'm really low.

    My WCA was recorded, on one of those old-fashioned double cassette recorders that the police use, and I was able to take away a copy. At least I have a record of what was said. Also, the lady who interviewed me was quite informal and didn't talk down to me or speak in a loud voice (as if I were deaf at all). Maybe they've grown more understanding in these assessments?

    In any case, I'll have to wait for around a month before I find out their verdict. If I don't agree with it, I can always ask for an MR.
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