Is self-employment self-help?

Disgruntled and supportive jobseeker here who has had enough of possibly being misunderstood. Exploited, with the potential of good intentions, is a word I want to include too but it feels a bit too much.

Blogging is something I haven’t done for a while and I’m sorry for coming back to moan but I have a few thoughts to share. Thoughts on self-employment and employment. I’ve wanted to help disadvantaged people to build confidence and find work from the start of 2013 but, from two pieces of employment advice I’ve received, I feel I’ve damaged my own chances of finding work. I’ve been called a “nice guy” by a manager I know well who said he only couldn’t employ me because I didn’t have experience of a managerial role. Before instead employing a trainee.

What is this magical experience stuff so many employers want but, in my experience, don’t offer? Why am I losing sleep over unemployment if, apparently, the unemployment rate is still dropping? Would volunteering or taking low pay for an apprenticeship mean I’m employed? Another number in the employed total? Will saying how I feel go against me? Continue reading

Thinking it over (My first Liberty X reference!)

Let’s think out of the box. Let’s do something adventurous with this blog piece. A Q&A with yourself perhaps?

How can you make a good first impression when you meet somebody?
Pick up on something they say or something they’d like to do while they’re with you. Become fixated on it. Think of you and your new friend as the Two Musketeers. Start planning. Get Google Maps up on your phone. Go on a quest you feel will help them!

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a journalist. I want to study. I want to help others. I want to be a public speaker. I want to be a mentor to young jobseekers. I want to be a bookkeeper. I want to retrain. I want to fly a rocket into space.

When have you received good customer service and why was it helpful?
Finding a size 12 pair of trainers isn’t easy. A customer care team on Twitter helped me to track some down. My response to an employee called Mel B: “Thanks Mel :), taking time out from the recording studio to DM is very kind of you. Keeping some stock under the counter is even kinder”.

Think this introduction is spontaneous? If you mean spontaneous to you with a lot of planning from me, it was. I overanalyse until my brain hurts. I’m overanalysing about writing this right now! Forget anything you’ve heard about people with autism not showing empathy or feelings. They can do and it can be the hardest thing for a person with autism (me) to understand! Continue reading

ASD: (Adult) Autism Support (Service) Dilemma

  • Adult support services need give and take. Wanting help is understandable but raising a voice is necessary.
  • Is it easier to let somebody tell you what they would like at their own leisure? Rather than try to bring a group of people together?
  • Should concentrating on yourself be more important? Focusing on work that pays money and gives opportunities?

This blog piece is an update and a rethink. Having shared an introduction to Awetistic as an approach that could hopefully provide a way of helping jobseekers with autism in South Staffordshire to find work, while showing employers how the Rain Man effect shouldn’t reflect every jobseeker with autism they meet, I’m wondering if it’s worthwhile. Wondering if there’s a reason adult support services for people with autism are apparently hard to find.

“We need to do more!” “A lack of support when they need it most.” “Why isn’t there anything like this already?” Tweets relating to adult autism support and thoughts heard while marketing a focus group for jobseekers to launch Awetistic that took place on Monday 1st June 2015 make me think change should come. The result I’ve found, however, may confirm why it’s so hard to find. Continue reading

Awetistic – A project needing help to help others

Stepping out of my comfort zone is a regular thing. Trying to find my inner Casanova as I look for love and trying to ask for help in making an ambitious project that shouldn’t have to be ambitious are two scary tasks!

The first nightmare is personal. #OperationCuddles. The second, however, is something lots of people can benefit from. This unveiling of a project (hopefully a future social enterprise) I’m planning to help jobseekers with autism in South Staffordshire (Lichfield, Burton-on-Trent, Stafford, Tamworth and surrounding areas) may come across as a beg but that isn’t the intention. Far from it.

According to The National Autistic Society, only 15% of all British people with autism are in full-time jobs. Positive traits of autism including an honest viewpoint, passionate interest and a keen eye for detail are employable skills missed out on. Confidence and self-esteem can grow from being given a chance to work.

Through Awetistic, a simple project with a simple objective, I want to give up my time and resources to help people find work because I’ve found work myself. I need help too though. Asking makes me feel unwell but I need to ask. If you’re intrigued, whether you’re a jobseeker, employer, businessman or businesswoman, journalist or somebody raising autism awareness, can I please be different in reaching you here with my vision? Continue reading

Casanova? I ain’t!

In my role as a guest blogger for Autism West Midlands’ Autism Connect, a social media community for people with autism, Casanova? I ain’t! was a chance to write something that made me smile. To fit in with a brief I was given to put together a blog piece for Valentine’s Day (Saturday 14th February 2015), I decided to recount experiences in looking for love that may explain why I’m still single now!

LOTHARI-NO, 28, seeks a lady with a GSOH (good sense of humour) and immunity to terrible jokes. Must be interested in talking about sport or the Eurovision Song Contest as they might well come up in conversation. Confidence with compliments and experience in massage is desirable.

The dating game is one I enjoy but it isn’t something I’m good at. While I may live with Asperger’s syndrome, I enjoy meeting new people and asking questions. My communication skills are good but my social skills can lack. Saying hello might be a positive thing but buying chewing gum as a 13-year-old for a teenage crush on Valentine’s Day really wasn’t! Continue reading

Why are we riled over Rifkind and scorned over Straw?

Self-employment presents an opportunity to showcase a skill or actively raise awareness of a personal passionate subject. It is a chance to try and make a difference for yourself and others on your own terms.

Self-employment is also a way to earn a living. For those who haven’t been given a chance by an employer to build a career or find steady work, it is an opportunity to do something that brings joy. It is a way to escape the dole queue. It is an alternative to zero-hour contracts. It may be a reason unemployment figures in Great Britain have dropped from 2.68 million in October 2011 to 1.86 million in December 2014.

As Channel 4’s Dispatches revealed on Monday 23rd February 2015, Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP and Jack Straw MP are making a financial gain by being self-employed as public speakers. Using secret cameras to capture conversations, investigative journalists posed as representatives of a PMR, a fake Hong Kong-based business, in seeking to find out if Sir Malcolm and Jack would work for them on a consultancy basis. If this opportunity had been genuine, they may have both made a profit but they would have benefited PMR in sharing experiences and contacts.

Sir Malcolm and Jack could have helped out. They have, however, been lauded for their actions. Sir Malcolm has announced he will resign as a Member of Parliament (MP) at the British general election in May 2015. I feel for them both and want to find the reason for negativity. Should an MP only work for their constituents? Is it greed? Continue reading

Good-giving is my 2014 Christmas telly ad theme

At Christmas, two of my passions come together in advertising and PR. Throughout the year, I enjoy watching adverts and enjoy trying to figure out the meaning of them. I enjoy considering whether a brand or business is trying to sell a product that benefits the consumer or instead, makes profit margins healthier.

By understanding a little about how business works through developing a specialist online recruitment agency in January 2013, I understand a brand has to sell itself. Advertising on television is a great way of doing this and whether a corporate approach in ‘Face’ from British Airways or a consumer-led approach in Stork S.B. Margarine’s long-running taste test campaign is used, respect builds trust.

As I seek to get my foot in the PR door in 2015, I’d love to be creative and honest in writing for brands who put consumers first. After watching many television adverts shown in the run-up to Christmas 2014 in Great Britain, I want to celebrate the work of The Coca-Cola Company, John Lewis and Waitrose. They show how it is good to give to those you love, rather than just receive. I believe they show how consumers can give to each other where I believe Sainsbury’s have shown how creating a profit happens through buying a range of products in-store while buying one chocolate bar that gives proceeds to The Royal British Legion. This is bad giving but I feel they’re bucking the trend: Continue reading