Looking back, I think with Tim I was kind of going through the motions. I think he was nice, but yet he had kind of a... I don't want to say a non-caring attitude, but it just seemed like, instead of saying, "Yeah, let's look into maybe trying to find you some type of schooling to go through", his automatic thing was, "Well, you need to go through Medallion and be evaluated". He seemed to keep pushing that rather than talk about my choices.
So when I went to Medallion, it felt pretty useless to begin with. I felt like this is really silly, because of all these little tests they gave me and stuff. It was frustrating because they said, you know, basically, "All, all you can do is be a janitor," or something like that. They set limits on me again.
I don't feel like the VR Counselor and I ever communicated well. I just kind of avoided communicating with him. I'd say, "Well I can't make this appointment," and just cancel. But if I really wanted to go into that appointment I, I could. He and I have never really talked about why I get to feeling that way. We don't communicate, so if we don't communicate, I guess he has no alternative but to feel like I'm not interested. I don't know. I feel like that I would like to communicate more with him and call him on the phone and say, "Hey, you know, we're not communicating."
I think he should have tried to ask more questions about what someone's interests are and try to check into getting more advanced training or school. I know that they have funds for grants for school. They can send me to some type of a college. I asked them over and over about getting some computer training and he said, "Well, Medallion says you can't really do that." But they can't tell that after only one week of testing. They ought to give me a chance to try, at least.
So if I felt like, if the VR Counselor was going to give me a negative response in that way, then I was going to feel negative, too.
I think a VR Counselor should keep track of clients, of people they are helping. They should call the person and ask if this appointment fits into their schedule instead of just sending a letter out saying, "We're going to meet such-and-such date." That doesn't set well with me. It's as if the Counselor is trying to schedule months ahead of time and there's no telling what's going on in your life that far ahead. And then, when I would call to say I couldn't make an appointment, his attitude was, "Well, you should have told me sooner. I have other clients scheduled and I can't adjust my schedule for today." So it's like I call him like maybe a day or two ahead of time and say, "Hey, I can't make this appointment," and he gets upset.
Eventually it happened so many times that I feel like it sent him a message that I don't want to talk to him, you know? He doesn't seem to be hearing what I'm saying. Which gets back to the communication issue that we just don't communicate.
I think we were both probably responsible for that. I think I needed to tell him, direct, right out, "We're not communicating. Let's communicate here." And tell him why we weren't communicating. I should have said, ."I don't feel you are being supportive of me or really wanting to help me find a job."
In the end he just left things hanging. He even told me, "Well, you've missed a few appointments. Maybe I should close up your case. Is that what you're wanting?" And I said, "No, that's not what I'm wanting. I'm still needing help here." I think the real reason I missed the appointments was that I didn't really feel like it was doing any good anyway, so why bother? But when I tried to talk to Tim about it, he said, "Well, it's up to you."
He just didn't seem like he was going to help me, because he kept saying stuff like, "Well, tell me what you're interested in?" It was more like a monotonous questionnaire that he was asking me. And I'd give him an answer to his questions and he would say, "Well, I don't know. This may not be what you can get into. I really don't know." He didn't seem very interested, really. That made me kind of angry, but I wasn't assertive enough to tell him, "Hey, this is not really helping." I just went along with it.
Normally, I don't particularly let people walk all over me. I stand up and tell them I don't really like the way they're treating me. I'm more assertive, I think, over at the Clubhouse because I'm used to being around the staff. And I can tell them things that ordinarily I wouldn't tell somebody. But with the VR Counselor, I don't know... I just got this automatic fear that he was not going to help me, anyway, so why bother?
It just seemed like when I first got involved with a voc rehab counselor, the one that I had in Atherton, she was more helpful and had more suggestions. Then, the one here just kind of didn't suggest a lot. Like he feels like I'm supposed to come up with the suggestions.
And they never did get me into a job. I have thought about trying to get a new VR Counselor, but I don't know. It may be that they're all that way. I kind of knew, with this guy, right from the start that he wasn't going to help much. Even the first time I went through VR, all I really got was the schooling. They never really got me a job. Looking back, I wish I had gone to the Client Advocacy Office about it. At this point, I just feel so frustrated I don't want to mess with it anymore.
I think what I would like to do is something in sales, where I'm actually involved with selling stuff and getting a commission on it. I think I would enjoy that. I have done a little bit of telemarketing, but I've found it very frustrating because I had a supervisor who was trying to train me and she was talking 100 miles an hour and I couldn't catch anything that she said. And I've found that she didn't have patience to really slow down and explain it to me. That was frustrating.
Part of the problem was that I didn't sit down and explain to her before I was even hired that I did have a disability. And once the training started, I didn't want to slow down the rest of the class. There was like probably 30, 40 people in the class. But she did say at the very beginning of the class, "I talk real fast, so if you have questions, stop me and ask." Except that that's easier said than done, especially with a group of people that you don't know.
I have a caseworker at the clubhouse that still helps me. And I still have a kind of worker there at Medallion that's trying to help me find a job. He looks in the paper and if he comes up with ideas, he calls me. It's kind of like a job coach.
During the job training I had there, the guy actually sat down everyday and we looked through newspapers to find the job listings, and then he took us out to apply for any jobs we had found. Before we did that, we did some videotaping where we actually rehearsed the interview process and learned where we went wrong. But that didn't really work for me. I think I've made my own mistakes by not really following through after interviews. I didn't call up the person and say, "Hey, I'm still interested in the job." I still have a tendency to just shy away and let them call me if they are interested.
My Caseworker at the Clubhouse says that I'm fully capable of getting out there and working, from what she can see. She's told me that over and over again, especially when I get so tired of being over there at the Clubhouse. She says "Well, you know, you can change. You can get out there and do it." It's like people see me as somebody who is highly functional, but I don't feel that way. I feel kind of inadequate and they don't seem to get it.
I can say to myself, "Yes, I want to work," and then I'll say, "Well, I can only work 15 hours a week" Social Security limits me on that, because you can only make up to $500 a month. And that makes it frustrating, too. When you're working, a lot of times employers want you to work more than 15 hours. But I can't or I would lose my Social Security, and I'm afraid it would be hard getting it back.
I feel kind of angry that I haven't been able to work. Frustrated. I know that only I can change that. But it's almost like I don't have the initiative to do it, to assert myself to do it. It's like I'm almost saying to myself, " Well, I'm kind of satisfied where I'm at, but I'd like to move further." The way things are right now, it's a lot less complicated and stressful on me. I can't pinpoint what the exact feeling is ... I kind of want to work but I don't want things to change.
I'm still hoping I can find some sort of part-time sales job. I think I would like that, so I'm trying to work on it. I have some applications at home that I would like to turn in. I'm hoping something will turn up from those.
End of Rich's Story. Click here to return to the Main Story Index
End of content, navigation links follow
Rich Directory: Index | Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Timeline