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?