Difficulty with technical problem-solving – a social barrier

By Jay

Technology such as phones and computers are more-or-less vital to functioning comfortably for most of us and the complexity and multitude of options and updates are difficult to keep up with, especially, for some who have mental health or emotional difficulties.

My laptop has slowed down through the memory being filled up and I have also damaged it a few times, dropping it and spilling tea. In the past year, there have been issues with video calls and the screen freezing or crashing. Over the summer, I had a number of job interviews, some via video call, and despite this, I didn’t invest in a new computer or try to fix my existing one. At least a couple of times, my interviews were disrupted in some way, such as me not being able to see the interviewers or the video call or a file not opening on time. Also the laptop overheats and the fan is always whirring loudly. Unsurprisingly, I was unsuccessful in all these interviews, though, the laptop was not the only reason, because I was also unsuccessful in face-to-face interviews over this period.

Lack of hope for the future and constant worrying have been the causes of me not resolving my laptop issues – and, not addressing most things generally, including health issues and preparing for interviews properly. I also have difficulties with my phone memory being full up and not being able to transfer files elsewhere.

I increasingly feel relatively illiterate digitally, though I spend most of my days online and using a laptop and have worked in temporary roles remotely. I have a fear of searching the market for a new laptop and being confronted by the choice and unfamiliar terms. It is the same when it comes to changing my phone. Financial insecurity also makes this hard. I have often relied on family members to do the thinking and decision-making for me.

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ADHD, Autism and Working as a Support Worker – an interview

Bryan shared his experiences with getting an ADHD diagnosis and, also, finding a suitable job. He lives in the north-west of England and we communicated by text.

Seeking diagnosis

The diagnosis for adhd was such a pain in the arse. I was diagnosed when I was 4 but that isn’t good enough for being medicated when you’re an adult so I went through a 5 year process of waiting lists and being told I ‘should have grown out of if by now’ by one GP. Nightmare.

I’m comfortable with the way I am and it has indeed helped me gain insights – I am not very good at reading social situations when I’m in them if people aren’t being straight forward but I’m surprisingly good at reading them for other people.

The challenges I face for the most part are battling with my wish to avoid people and the outside world because when I do that I get massively depressed which could be fixed if I went outside but makes me incapable so it is a bizarre magic roundabout of contradiction haha!

That and when I’m at work and too many people talk at once. I cannot focus on them. Luckily I’ve been there a while now and they know and accept my quirks.

Have you considered getting a diagnosis? Even if you didn’t want meds, it’s nice to feel validated. One of the biggest parts of it for me is the imposter syndrome, feeling like I don’t have adhd and I’m just a rubbish person

I feel comfortable being me but I don’t always like it – I just know that I would hate having to try to be anybody else, haha!

The five years was mostly due to me not understanding the system, we could get that down to less than a year for you now I know the process!

It is very hard indeed to speak up, and sometimes, it feels like you’re talking to an argumentative brick wall. I’ve given up a lot of times.

So the going out thing, I feel best when I’m outdoors in nature but when I have, a burnout, I find it impossible to go outside unless I absolutely have to (work or something) so that exacerbates the situation cos I need outside to feel better but my brain won’t let me! It’s stupid and I hate that part.

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The Market of Disposable Jobs, Disposable People

By Jay

Organisations running and participating in the job market force workers to think of themselves as commodities. Contractually, one can take up a temp job and leave it when one chooses. It can, supposedly, be used as a stepping stone or as a trial. The job market creates the illusion of people and work as both being disposable and without cost, except time.

The reality is that not all work and work environments fit this mould. Work that involves significant training, support or responsibility cannot simply be treated as disposable. Frequent turnover of workers will diminish quality and damage morale.

Even if roles require limited training or support, people have emotions and economic needs that makes itinerant work difficult for most. Organisations understand this and the supposed flexibility of work, especially, temp work, is, often more true for the organisation than the individual.

Once a worker is on a temp contract for a few months, financial and reputational requirements may mean that they have to suspend their search for a secure job. Leaving too soon can affect their chances in the future. Moreover, workers have emotions and will feel a duty to colleagues and themselves, especially, when welcomed and trained by supportive peers. Only the most strong-willed or emotionless can dispose of a job, however mundane, without a sense of repaying or contributing for the opportunity. There is fear too, of a negative reaction from disappointed managers and colleagues.

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The worker as soldier

Now, I view commuters going to work as, in a sense, soldiers going into battle. The commuters lining up on the train station platform at 7.39 am won’t face imminent lethal force but, in my experience, the workplace can certainly be a threat to one’s health. The more vulnerable one is, the more harmful. There is hierarchy and domination, which can be accompanied by direct abuse or mistreatment through structural abuse. Those who endure, survive or, even, reign, are fighters, though, their psychological battling may take different forms.

For some time I looked upon the lines that formed in the morning at the train station as sheep-like, emerging thoughtlessly in a degrading march to the station, through bleakest of rain and defying entreaty of the sun, to silently stand and wait to be carted off to their job. I viewed them from the vantage point of someone who was intermittently employed, having spells joining their ranks as a commuter, and otherwise living off the benefaction of family members and spending my time at home.

Yet, these individuals are not sacrificing their sleep, their days and their bodies for no reason. For some, it will be a vocation and for others, it is a part of plan to free themselves and family members from bondage of mere wage slavery. For some, it may be both. I could not grasp that jobs and wages may contribute towards future financial freedom. As an example, paying mortgage payments can be an investment towards house ownership, which can mean personal security and health and, potentially, an opportunity for financial gain.

People also go to work to advance careers, to rise in skill, responsibility and duty. They may experience intellectual self-advancement and actualisation. They may also experience social connection and development. Despite the harsh hierarchies and control that workplaces can create, there can also be mutual support, solidarity, friendship and love. Work can also contribute directly to society through the support of others, fulfilling the vocational need of some.

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