My Employment Experience
December 12, 2021
Hi my name is Brittany Dickson and I would like to share my own story.
I was a paid self-advocate, for 4 years through CLBC, they said I did a good job and they really liked me. It was a contract job and I got that job right out of the University, it was supposed to be a one year contract so it would’ve ended in 2014 because I started in 2013. They liked me so much and they thought I did a good job so they kept me on until the beginning of 2018. I was there training new CLBC staff once a month on the importance of language, how we want to be treated in our stories, and then they would go take that into their new jobs. It was only once a month but it was worth it and I really liked it and I wanted it to keep going but unfortunately it ended in 2018. They wanted to keep me on as well but they had to give someone else a turn. Which is weird to me because I’ve never had a job like that, usually it would keep going, they wouldn’t say they had to give someone else a turn.
I understand it stopped because they had to give someone else a turn even though they liked me, but when they told me this they didn’t tell me how I could continue with Self-advocacy work if I wanted to, how I would go down that same path way, and to pursue it if I wanted to which I really do. I don’t just want it to be once a month I want it to be more more often, They didn’t tell me about any groups or how I could continue to pursue this or anything so I never really understood, and when I tried to carry-on after this job was over it really hit me more than I thought that I really like doing this kind of work and I wanted to pursue it but I didn’t know how to do it on my own after they let me go. I didn’t get any guidance or anything.
Now, as I want to get back into Self-advocacy and now that my job coach helped me find BC People First and with the help of my friend who first originally found this for me, I can keep going with this, etc. So she’s been the one carrying on to help me with this and she supports me in this, she’s the only one who does. These past couple months it’s like I’ve been developing another person inside of me but it happened at the same time as all of this. I’ve been feeling really shy and scared inside and I don’t know where it came from or how long it’s going to be here. Somehow I got up the courage to share this, because some people think this is all in my head and I should just stop. But I can’t help it, and I’m thinking about it now that maybe it is all inside my head but it’s hard to come out of that again and I wasn’t like that for the four years when I worked for the job I really liked. I’m just lacking confidence, but I want to get this confidence back again and not feel scared anymore because I’m hoping when I do public speaking again it will go away.
I’ve been trying different jobs but all everybody gets me is only either one day a week or two days a week for as little as four hours or two hours. They think I can only work that much without asking me. I always get judged everywhere I go. I think that’s what affects my confidence the most, when I go in for job interviews they always judge me right away by my crutches and they automatically assume that I can’t do the stuff required for the job. I always say I just need them for transportation I don’t need them all the time on the job anyways, but they always have this fixed image in their head and they’re not changing their mind and then I don’t get the job. I'm tired of getting judged at interviews.
For a long time I’ve been trying to look for other jobs since I couldn’t find the same one again but no jobs I’ve tried have made me as truly happy as self-advocacy. All I want is just to be happy again and I lost a part of myself. All the other jobs I’ve tried don’t seem as meaningful as this one. I want a job that’s meaningful to me and that I can enjoy and that won’t just stop after a few months or a few years but will keep going, I don’t want to be lost forever...and eventually when I get a bit better I want to help people in the same situation I am. I know deep down I have the skills and I want to share my experience not just with me but with people other people going through the same thing I am, I think it’s really important. I want my life to have some meaning again and I want meaningful employment.