By Akshay Sachdeva

I started looking for a job three years ago. It was just in me to want to do what everyone else does. What my friends and the other people I went to high school with do. What normal people do.

But I’ve had to put my job search on hold.

Unfortunately, my first experience with an employment service provider was so bad that some days I don’t want to get out of bed. Employment support should give you confidence, not take it away.

The support I got was mostly about the paperwork and not about actually going out and making connections with the community and with employers. I would fill out a bunch of paperwork about my goals and what I’m interested in and then I wouldn’t hear from them for 4-5 months. Then they would call and ask me to come into the office to fill in more paperwork.

They kept asking me the same questions and to sign the same forms. I think they get money for every client they fill out paperwork for.

Then when they found a job, it was always the same kind of job. I don’t mind doing ‘greeter’ jobs for a short time, but that’s not what I am interested in. I am very independent and smart. The jobs I’ve been offered feel like they are for someone else, someone who needs more support than me. I want a job that makes me feel like I am living my purpose.

I don’t want to compromise. People don’t understand how much someone with diverse abilities has to already compromise in their life. I can’t drive a car, it’s hard to make friends. Every part of my life has been a compromise so far.

Nothing about this process has made me feel normal, like any other young person trying to find a job. It has made me feel judged and depressed.  I know the way I feel about myself isn’t right.

I’m with a new service provider now. But quite frankly, I’m afraid. They are asking me to apply for jobs I’ve already applied for with the old service provider.

I am willing to try out different kinds of jobs, get more education, do what other people do to find the right job for them.  But at this point I don’t have much self esteem left. And some days I think maybe I’m just not made for work.

I want to find something that makes me happy. Something that I’m living for. That’s why I’m so picky.  I just want to make a living and be happy like other people get to do. I am looking forward to exploring more job options in the future that make me feel worthy- that is the most important part of this process to me.

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