Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Job Prospects

One of the conditions of Thomas going through the state program for rehabilitation is that he must look for job prospects. He has been hard at work collecting applications and applying for jobs. He's being very good about getting his end of the bargain done but in my travels the other day I ran into something interesting that stopped me for a minute and made me think.

My dad is now in a long term assisted living facility that is local here and I was sitting with the administrator the other day and she told my mom and I how she hires right out of the organization that Thomas is involved with. I told her my son was going through that organization. She said that she was hiring and went on to say that she has hired many autistic people and people with Aspergers to feed the elderly patients that reside in her facility. She said she had an opening right now. Throughout the conversation I repeatedly told her about how Thomas was looking for a job but she didn't bite until the end of the conversation and that is when it happened.

She first asked me what Thomas' disability was and I told her. This garnered an awkward silence. Then she launched into a bunch of questioning about just exactly what meds he was on which I listed. As I did so, it became very apparent that the picture of Thomas is a little scary when you say words like "antipsychotics" and "antidepressants" among others. That was met with another awkward silence. Luckily my mom filled the space with conversation about how Thomas would work well there and somehow that gave the woman an opportunity to steer the conversation away from hiring.

"What just happened there?" I had to ask my mom later. It really made us think. Given all of the press, given that the word "schizophrenia" has stereotypes and stigma attached, given that most people don't want to touch either of those with a 10 foot pole, I had to wonder, is that lady is afraid to hire Thomas because he has schizophrenia?

For those of you with loved ones with schizophrenia do you ever wonder about discrimination because for the first time, after having been through that experience, it really makes me wonder. The beauty of Thomas is that he is very open about his illness. Perhaps that's partly because he doesn't fully grasp the gravity of his illness. He knows he's sick. He understands what it means to be sick--how it affects him personally--but I'm not entirely sure he understands society's reaction to him being so candid about his illness. When he does that, I guess I've always just hoped that they would see the wonderful, sweet kid I see and they would accept him. Who am I kidding, right? But what do I do? I don't want him to feel ashamed of himself or his illness because if I tell him he shouldn't talk about it then he would feel that way. Understand, though, that I have told him about society's impression of schizophrenia and he just doesn't seem to care.

So, I don't know. I don't know if he'll get hired somewhere if he continues to talk about having schizophrenia. I know all that Walmart is going to hear is, "this kid's going to go off his meds and shoot up the place because he was forced to offload a truck instead of doing something he'd rather do."

It'll be interesting to see what happens. In the mean time he is still without a job, he sits on his computer all day soaking up all that the internet has to offer to feed his delusions. Not a good thing. There is a bright side to this though. I just looked on his desk and he has written down places that are hiring one of which is a place called "Naughty Or Nice", a local adult video/lingerie store. Yeah, that's perfect for my teenage son who's still learning about girls. I am such a proud mom!

Not! LOL

What I am proud of, though, is that he's trying. He's looking for a job and best of all he is unashamed of who he is and the illness that plagues him. He's in this fight with me and I have some faith that someone will see past his label and hire him for the hard working, sweet, loving person that he is.

I hope so anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment

My Most Popular Posts...

Follow my posts by Email:

Follow Me On Twitter