Work Chapter

Work Chapter!

So, a chapter ended? As I attended Momentum on Thursday 3rd November 2016, I shared my ‘new’ MS news about my working situation.

More – next level – acceptance of my flipping ‘inability’ to actually work! Bollocks. 

Cartoon of 5 men with question marks over their heads

The bigger chapter in question is that of my continuous and relentless job hunting with belief that ‘something would come/turn-up’. Did not really, full time or part time, even though I have had a few part time roles under permitted work rules that I did enjoy. Then.

I have attended umpteen daft ‘back-to-work’ type courses, mostly the same but in different places and with different ‘tutors’, yet they were in a word, shit! Basic skills testing. Yes, I am now disabled curtesy of now living with MS, but I can still do the basics. 1+1 IS 2. I am not a Chaucer, Dickins, Orwell nor a Shakespeare, but I can write a bit (divvent need lessons n that like) all be it in my own style.

However. The last opportunity to try for the same work reason, came via Momentum Skills, a charity whose main purpose is helping those with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI - see footnote) or other neurological condition (MS in my case) to get back to work by means of offering vocational rehabilitation services. Tick!

So, me and Momentum Newcastle. The first part of the process was/is for you being a potential client to be visited by Momentum staff members to check your suitability. I was visited by two assistant psychologists with pens and paper and a few questions, none of which were exam level or stressful, the opposite; relaxing. I passed that ‘test’.

I went to the Newcastle Centre in truth very sceptically but not knowing really what to expect. Yes, I had been told what they do, given more information etc. but like I’ve said having had so many failures I was a bit tentative; and then some.

When I got there on day 1, I noticed that the office itself has a relaxing atmosphere. As a new client (there are 3 intakes of client groups per year) I was a member of an Element A gang. Here’s where my scepticism went nuclear! At the start. Without going into too much detail, the first week I found beyond patronising. A collection of different ‘lessons’ of VERY basic forms to fill in (name d.o.b. etc…) – fair enough – and equally VERY basic questions! E.g. Maths and English style. So after week 1, I thoroughly believed “another one” of time-wasting work course rubbish. Great. Here we go again.

Week 2 the penny dropped. I was… wrong.

A 1 pence piece dropping1 + 1 is, and remains 2; it wasn’t that! (being wrong.) But here’s the thing. I suddenly realised that what they were doing is building pictures of us – clients – to then get the best understanding of how to take it – the plan – forward with a personal understanding. Obvious eh! I guess I am lucky’ish in comparison to other clients’ needs although bigger picture proves me wrong. Again. Dammit. We are all different. Everyone is different.

From their site:
The programme offers the following elements, providing a holistic method of tackling these problems:
• Vocational Profiling
• Work Placements
• Employment Support and Access to Work
• Cognitive Retraining
• Life changes after brain injury
• Stress Management
• Group therapy Sessions
• Personal Development
• Social & Life Skills
• Work related skills training, including assistance with CV building, job applications and interview techniques
• Certified training in literacy and numeracy, Information Technology and job-seeking skills

Just what I said, right? Well my journey with Momentum has been fantastic. Yes, I have kind of left the programme following my recent MS Consultation, but with no bridges burnt (and my openness to do some work(!)) I happily remain a Momentum contact and client. So why what?

Graphic highlighting 12 common basic MS problems

During namely the cognitive sessions I learned things I did not know or realise regarding some MS effects. I thought I was on the money with them (and me!) and how they had/were affecting me. Live and learn. Details on a postcard.

But work. Well that hasn’t happened. Yet! Ha; ha. I did however have an amazing Work Placement  during 2015 with a leading legal firm in Newcastle. Why? To give me a taster of work (again) all be it in a different theatre to what I have experience in (law as opposed to engineering), in a professional office environment. I absolutely loved it. Start to finish. Brilliant and understanding people challenging myself within reason. Why?! To see how I could/would cope again in a similar sphere should it occur. Negatives? That it ended.

That was done in conjunction with my then Job Coach to whom I am very thankful for the opportunity.

So then as I’ve said and say about chapters and their endings, and beginnings, my work chapter has largely now been but to bed – to rest – allowing me to refocus on other parts of life while staying more than useful. That is the aim anyway!

Having not read any Dickens, I came across these quotes and they more than ring bells and I find them inspiring too! Hope you do as well:
Charles Dickens/Quotes
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every man has many -- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
A loving heart is the truest wisdom.
We need never be ashamed of our tears.
A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.
There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.

Acquired brain injury (ABI) is brain damage caused by events after birth, rather than as part of a genetic or congenital disorder such as fetal alcohol syndrome, perinatal illness or perinatal hypoxia.