In Part 1 & 2 – I spoke about Mental Illness in the Workplace, seeking employment, the job hunt and the job interview. Now comes the really difficult part…..THE JOB.
I was so excited by this new venture; I could hardly sleep at night waiting for the first day. That ‘first day of school’ feeling. Luckily, the dress code was business casual otherwise I would have had to purchase an entire wardrobe. Training would begin at 7:00 a.m., which practically killed me getting up that early in the morning, but I knew I had to get used to this.
The first day was a disaster, as it was essential to become accustomed to their internal computer system, and I sat in confusion having problems with straightforward tasks such as passwords and locating screens. A panic situation ensued immediately, causing me to actually vomit in the washroom for the first three days due to this. My thinking pattern was in a ‘frozen’ mode, with no new information able to funnel through.
On one day in particular, I was actually in tears in the washroom, so completely frustrated and angry at myself for not grasping anything. Why did I continue? I didn’t want to be a failure again, I suppose, and thought if I failed at this – where would I be then. So I plodded on.
The remaining two weeks met with more perplexity, and slowly my self-confidence, self-esteem and self-doubt tumbled downward even further. I was the slowest and oldest in the class. But, I forged ahead, bull-headed, passed and began the position.
The position itself was not too difficult, however, I encountered problems with their computer system practically every shift. The Help Desk was there for Q & A, but after awhile they tired of my Q & A and became unfriendly and not very “helpful”. The position was in sales and customer service. I was to learn a script to implement during a customer’s call – this was an impossible task. My memory is impaired at best, never mind learning a script for sales on the phone. So I basically read verbatim, and though it may have sounded as if I was reading from a sheet, it seemed to go over ok. My stats weren’t wonderful; yet they weren’t the worst either. That was another thing; I had to worry now about stats. People were counting on me; managers, their managers and so forth, for stats. I had to produce good stats so my manager looked good. The everyday routine felt so bizarre after years of illness at home and in hospital.
Enjoying the job to a degree, I was discontented with management and other factors played, and so, unfortunately after three months I discovered this job just wasn’t for me.
My stomach did flip-flops over this. I was frightened to quit this position, yet I was unhappy there also. The job did provide some experience into the working world, brushing up on computer skills (will always have trouble), day-to-day routine and learning how to mix with people again. I could have given up at this point – but didn’t.
Now the time came for my search for greener pastures.
To be continued……….(see last part 4)