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Thankful Thursday: Just one thing, but it's a biggie!

The Grumpy Old Man has a JOB!

That right, after two and a half years, he is gainfully (we hope) employed.

This time yesterday we were both completely convinced in wasn't going to happen.

Honestly, for the past few days I've been in a state of despair. I really have. At first when he was made redundant, I was keen for him to get on with looking for work and he seemed reluctant and I kept saying stuff like, 'The longer you're unemployed, the harder it will be to get work'. I was also concerned that he'd just turned 50 when he lost his job and I wondered how prospective employers might view his age compared to other applicants.

Even then, though, I also knew he had never had any trouble getting a job. He'd absolutely never been turned down if he was interviewed. So, the things I was saying to the Grumpy Old Man were mostly just to make sure he hurried up and got a job and didn't make me wait too long for my next Ikea trip.

Then he seemed to be having trouble getting interviews. At first it was annoying, but soon it became a bit concerning. After a few months he did get any interview and I think we both thought - right, this is it then. But it wasn't, he did get a second interview, but was 'pipped at the post'. Several months on, this had happened a couple of more times, and it was still hard for him to even get interviews.

Earlier this year, coming up to the two year anniversary of his last day of paid work, he went for second round of interviews for a job he'd actually also been interviewed for a whole year earlier but had 'just missed out on'. They even contacted him to ask him if he was still keen for the job. We were certain he'd get this job. He didn't.

It was after that blow that he considered changing careers. In changing careers from desk top publishing to aged care, not only was he taking a 'prestige' hit, but also a hefty 'potential income' hit. However, we'd heard aged care was desperate for skilled workers and valued people over 40 and men in particular. So, he did a three month course, and then another five weeks of workplace experience.

At the end of the workplace experience he was offered a job and told to turn up for a health assessment the following Monday - which he did.

We thought the assessment was somewhat perfunctory; that it just to cover them in future incase of a work cover claim.

Dave filled in forms regarding his current physical health and to be completely honest and upfront he put down that he had some arthritis in his knees.

The nurse had him do a bunch of exercises and even commented positively on his flexibility and fitness. We expected a call the next day, but it didn't come.

Dave called the thursday of that week, but they still hadn't heard back from the human resources department. He called the following week but still nothing. He went into the workplace on the Monday two weeks after the assessment but they still hadn't heard. The Boss lady called the Human Resources department in the city and were told there was 'a question mark over the arthritis in his knees'. The Boss lady said she wouldn't have offered him a job if she didn't think he could do it, but they said they'd be happier if he was assessed more thoroughly. An assessment was set up for last Thursday.

The second assessment went really well and we were promised a call either the same afternoon or Friday morning. The call didn't come. Dave called them on Friday but they hadn't heard back from the Human Resources department in the city despite sending a query email on Friday morning. We waited for a call on Monday that didn't come. We distracted ourselves with other things on Tuesday. No call. Yesterday I said to the GOM that he really needed to go back into the workplace and make them give him an answer - whatever it was because none of us were sleeping very well.

Both the GOM and I were certain they'd decided against employing him despite two good assessments. This led to many questions neither of us said aloud. Was it his age? Was he actually facing early retirement? How would we survive when we have been dependant on his mum to supplement our income for the past two years from her savings? Is a man really a man in our society if no one will employ him when he is willing to do anything to earn a living income?

I was really worried about the GOM's mental health in the event of another rejection. I was really, really worried.

I don't mind telling you, the loo and I became better acquainted with one another during the time the GOM was of 'getting a final answer' from the Boss lady. And then the phone rang.

He said he had a shift this coming Friday and another shift next Friday - because shifts had already been allocated for this fortnight - and that he'd been told there was 'plenty of work' coming. Apparently, the workplace had just been 'waiting for the contract to arrive' before calling him in...

I want to be angry that they didn't call and relieve our stress earlier. I wonder if people have committed suicide when they haven't heard back from employers because they just couldn't bare the rejection anymore or the anxiety of not knowing how they would feed their children if they never got work again?

Really, I can't go there, it's too bleak.

Here is an interesting bit of information to consider though...

75% of people in Australia on NewStart Allowance (unemployment benefit) are over 40 years of age. The Grumpy Old Man was put onto Parenting Pension (partnered) when he was made redundant. At the time he was told it was so he 'didn't have apply for a specific number of jobs each fortnight' - it sounded good because not having to apply for jobs that don't exist in his field (in those numbers) would save frustration. Later we found out that because he was put on the Parenting Pension, he wasn't eligible for assistance from the Government in finding a job until after Ari turned six - even though I was home to care for Ari - at which time he would be 55 years old.

So, even though he had four children to provide for and wanted to work, and was finding it hard to get work, the Government wasn't compelled to assist him in finding work because they'd conveniently put him on a pension that made it look like he wasn't one of the long term unemployed.

So, 75% of unemployed on NewStart might be over 40 years of age, but how many more have been shunted onto the Parenting Pension so the numbers look better?

When is the Government going to do something to address the discrimination against older workers in Australia?


Today though I'm just very, very, very, very thankful that the Grumpy Old Man finally has a job. We still don't know if it will even provide an income higher than the parenting pension he has been on for the past 933 days, but right now just knowing he can get a job, and he'll have a current job on his resume, gives us such a sense of relief.

I'm linking up with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday.

What are you thankful for this week?


Kate said…
Oh Sif. What an enormous relief.

I hope GOM gets some satisfaction from his new job and that this is truly a turning point for all of you.

This is great news, Sif. You raise some interesting points about those government schemes too which most of us wouldn't realise unless we had to use them.
That is most excellent news. My mum also received the right royal run around in the whole process of getting a job as a carer. She had to follow up all the time. They were pretty hopeless. She's now getting lots of work and we hardly see her!

I hope everything works out for the best. You deserve it.
So glad to hear he has a job. Sorry to hear about the huge ordeal.
Kellie said…
What a relief for you guys! So glad he's finally found something, and I hope it works out.

The government have a lot to answer for in terms of unemployment!
Not to mention the people that take advantage and make the rest of us look bad.
Anonymous said…
Have you considered getting a paid job? I think it odd that you have a daily tally of how many days your husband has been out of paid work, shall we count the days you have been unemployed?? Just a thought
Lee said…
That is awesome news Sif! So pleased for you and your family!
Sif said…
Thanks to those of you who have left supportive comments - unfortunately this afternoon we've heard that the CEO in the city is refusing to sign the GOM's employment contract despite the GOM passing both physicals on the ground that his arthritis might caught him to injure himself at some point in the future and claim work cover.

Anonymous - the fact you've left an anonymous response tells me you already know that your comment is untoward. Despite this, I am happy to explain that I have a vision impairment to the degree of 'legal blindness' and although I am highly qualified (I have two Masters degree and a certificate III in children's services) my disability causes potential employers to baulk at employing me. In fact, in Australia only 15% of legally blind citizens are in paid employment, and only a small percentage of those are in full time employment.

If it were possible, I would gladly be sighted enough for employers not to have such unfounded concerns. It is not possible.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to explain my own lack of gainful employment.
Madam Bipolar said…
Anon - you are an asshat. Now, to deny you oxygen.
Parental Parody said…
Anon, not worth the energy to respond with what I'd love to say.

Fingers crossed for GOM. Here's hoping things are looking up for you!
Cate said…
What Sawhole said. Asshat. Oh and Complete Tool! And allow me to also add ignorant buttwipe. Yep. Nuff said now.
Sif said…
Thanks for letting me smile again, guys.

Hopefully the person in the head office will come to his senses when he realises the GOM isn't just going to fade away from this. If not, then the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has already been contact and will follow this up with a reminder of the law. If this guy still won't budge we'll seek legal advice because the GOM can't afford to have any doubt over his ability to do the job.

In the meantime, we'll just keep on keeping on. Hopefully one day I WILL be able to support this family is some other way than through my disability pension and family allowance payments and I will only longer seem like an easy target for other people's judgements (at the moment my Government benefits forms 77% of our income)...
Sorry about this Sif. It must have been very frustrating to get that call.

I'm impressed that you have survived for so long. I hope you get some help soon.

And ignore anon. It seems everyone is getting them lately.
Sif said…
*only = no
Mich said…
Im sorry to hear that what should be a good thing, is causing everyone so much stress.

the company should get off its arse and do what its supposed to do.
Anonymous said…
Legally blind but still able to spend benefits buying all the latest gadgets and using them??? Hmmm seems a bit odd really, surely you get get a telemarketing job or reception work? If you can read your ipad etc surely you can answer a phone?

Just seems slack that your so embarrassed by your husband working in aged care, maybe put yourself out there instead of sitting on your fat ass judging everyone else in the world and bragging about all the benefits you recieve, and living off an old lady, really i would be embarrassed to admit half the scabby stuff you do, your legally lazy : )

Oh and for once your whingy blog about how money hungry you are is getting some views, deep down im sure your grateful at the bit of exposure and publicity your getting!
Anonymous said…
I must say I agree, I have never seen a BLOG with someone who brag's about all the new technology, clothes, and wasted money, then in the next breath sooks about not being able to feed children etc.... Quite disgusting really.....
Sif said…
I am who I. I don't hide behind internet anonymity because I am not ashamed of myself and choices. Thank you for reading the posts you have referred to - I try to be completely honest about my life journey to give others the courage to find their own integrity; to accept their own failings as well as their own beauty. It took me many years to wholly own my own choices and life, it was a rocky road. But not having to hide any aspect of myself or live in fear of being 'found out' is 100% worth it. I hope you (the two of you?) can some day find the self-esteem to also stand for what you believe in out in the open because you have nothing to hide.

Feel free to keep reading and keep commenting! I really do love all my commenters - they keep me real! Maybe I'll learn something from you, and maybe you'll learn more about me, too.
a sight of relief Sif .

I am sure everyone is happy. It is amazing the satisfaction and sense of fulfilment work brings to people. I hope GOM can show a sign of relief and now feel a greater sense of satisfaction :)
Sif said…
Thanks Tahlia xx Unfortunately, the CEO is now refusing to sign the contract. So, as things stand, we're back to square one. We're fighting it, he wants to work, he needs to work!
Jayne said…
Perhaps 'Anon' and 'Anon' could redirect some of the time spent trolling into some more gainful employment, oh I don't know, a class in how not to butcher the English language so hideously with atrocious grammar perhaps :-)

Or, maybe a crash course in the inequalities and systemic discrimination faced by people with disabilities, and older workers every day.

Good luck to D fighting this utter discriminatory BS. Hugs to you both xox
Jaimee Hunter said…
Congrats on the job! That's a huge relief I am sure.
Anonymous said…
Are you stupid Jaimee there is no job, straight to centrelink for this family of bludgers
Anonymous said…
"Be kind for everyone you meet is having a hard battle" Plato
Sif said…
Anonymous, I'm sorry that you feel compelled to continue with your vitriol, particularly as you as beginning to embarrass yourself with you own lack of comprehension.

Bludgers are people who don't seek to work. By definition, neither my husband or I are bludgers as we have both sought employment but have come up against employers reticence to employ people with disabilities or people over the age of 40. If you are not able to understand that, then perhaps you should stop torturing yourself by reading this blog.
Kebeni said…
wow! don't read the comments on one post and look what I miss out on. Where a comment is valid or not, have the courage to put your name to it is what is important. Those who hide behind 'anon' are quite unimportant IMO
Anonymous said…
Jayne didn't your husband leave your fat ass as well? careful Sif yours might run away from your greediness and whinging!

Im sorry your disabled, sorry your hubby is old, sorry that your son is also disabed, it must be hard but you put yourself out there, can't have all **hugzz and kisses**
Jayne said…
Considering I've never been married, am actually the one who initiated a septation with my ex, and don't have an 'ass', no, I think not. Sorry Trolly McTrollface, I guess your assumptions are as wrong as your grammatical ability (or, lack thereof).
Apostrophes are quite useful-I suggest you familiarise yourself with them. Better watch out, lest your 'hubby' runs away from your illiterate ARSE ;)
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jayne said…
Sif said…
Jayne, I'm sorry you had to read that shit. I've taken a screenshot of that comment in context and deleted it because that seriously should be burned. To talk about a child like is beyond a joke, it's outright abusive.
Jayne said…
Don't worry, I'm not upset just bemused. Who thinks like that? I hope they get help for their extremely disturbed mental state :-/
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Fark, Sif - this is a different 'anonymous' because when there are fuckwits like that surfing the web, I prefer they have no idea who *I* am. Haven't read for ages, since mostly dropping off FB and the rest of the web, but CONGRATS to Dave on his job, what a relief, I hope he loves it. And I just read your post up there on writing and being published in the anthology - congratulations! C xx
Sif said…
Thanks C, unfortunately, there is no job. The offer was rescinded on the grounds that D's arthritis might cause him to injure himself down the track (this after he was cleared for work in two separate medicals). We have just lodged a complaint with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and expect to hear back from them within a week. Wanting to work does not guarantee employment when employers ignore anti-discrimination laws. We are hoping the decision will be overturned in mediation. D just wants to work!

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