Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The employment agency

After four years of irregular doula-ing and a then couple of months with no inquiries whatsoever I decided that I had to look for a more regular job. (I have decided that I am a great doula but a poor business person so not a total failure but not successful enough)

So, for most of this year I have been applying for all kinds of work. After my bitterly disappointing experience with the guy who thought I would be unable to cope with the job on offer (here) I decided to register with a disability employment agency because at least that way I am guaranteed to be applying to people who are willing to engage someone who has some limitations, rather than bashing my head against a wall with the arrogantly able and unimaginative.

The agency experience has not been surprising but it has been a close up look at some issues. And looking closely is different to knowing what happens in a theoretical kind of way.

Last week I met a man with mild cerebral palsy, he is tertiary educated with a good work history and an air of competence but his impaired dexterity eventually means he can't work at the speed required of an experienced operator in a call centre. It seems bizarre to me and inefficient, to get rid of an experienced employee and take on all the costs and uncertainties of new hires. And that is without thinking of the costs to the individual and the public purse. Does nobody take a long term view? does nobody invest in their business by investing in their employees?

Today I went to a "workshop" as required by the agency. I drove to the agency, which just happens to be close to me but serves clients from a wide area, parked, waited 15 minutes past the appointment time and spent another 15 or so filling in a form I could have emailed to them. That whole process also seems silly: requesting unemployed people to spend money and effort on travel, which might be quite challenging for them, just to do something that could be done online or through a phone interview. Now, I understand that getting applicants to come in person may allow better communications and guarantees that the applicant is doing their own work, I guess it would also weed out anyone who was not very committed to the process but all the same it seems inefficient and not particularly sensitive to the needs of the clientele.

At this point I am wondering what oddity will show up at next weeks workshop.


  1. Sigh.
    Sometimes employment practises seem silly. And counterproductive.
    Good luck.

  2. My best wishes to you that you secure good employment soon. Allow me to lighten up your mood. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiHUw-Hz3BU

  3. Wishing you well in your search, but also wishing some of the idiocy you encounter will be in the past, not the future!

  4. The state welfare and employment services in the UK are full of such ill-thought-out procedures and requirements. As you say, some people might find it very difficult to get to an office they don't need to go to in the first place. The big problem at our job centres right now is that thousands of people are being designated fit for work when quite plainly they're nothing of the kind and their disability allowances should continue. The general heartlessness and lack of understanding of people's personal situations is appalling.

    Sorry the doula-ing didn't work out after you put so much time and effort into it. I hope you find a congenial job very soon.

  5. Good luck! I hope something comes of it.
    I wish employment agencies etc, would move with the times.

  6. Sounds like a frustrating situation to be in. I hope you find a job soon. I think I'm a good dj but I'm not a good businessman and don't find it easy to sell myself either.

  7. Ramana,
    Thats a great video!
    Thank you

  8. Anne,
    Sometimes I wonder if anyone actually thinks!

  9. Nick,
    I am booked to attend a repeat client in December. It will most likely be my last birth but what a lovely way to finish.

    The employment culture is very strange: we have governments wanting more people to work for longer but at the same time we only value the young, good looking, physically able and highly but not too highly educated.

  10. Ms Scarlet,
    Thank you for your good wishes, I'm sure that something will eventually come up

  11. LLcool Joe,
    You must be doing something right by the success you have!

  12. Sometimes a doula here will have several doulas working with her, not at the same birth, but at the same birthing place. Is there anything like that where you could join/apply?

    You mentioned you had a disability but not what kind. ???

  13. Linda,
    There are very few agencies operating here, I did join one in the beginning but I never got any work from it and eventually felt that i would prefer to have my success or failure in my own hands.
    I have a condition called CMT Type 1A. It affects my mobility but it doesn't make me completely useless as all the young recruiting people seem to think


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