Disability, My Life

Hiring Carers – Round 4: Is there a golden eagle?

Hi everyone, here’s a new update on my carers.

Returning home from University, I began the hunt for new PAs to assist me in my life post-University. Sabrina had handed in her notice on my last day at University due to commuting issues. Then there was Hermione, who stayed a few weeks into the summer, before handing in her notice.

A deep breath, here we go again. Using the Harry Potter names philosophy, replacing one name another, I started interviewing.

Applicant One – Dolores

The first applicant, we interviewed in person, (Dolores) was nothing like her Harry Potter name-sake. She was a kind, smiley person and seemed very happy to meet me and enthusiastic about the role.

Dolores was a great deal older than me and had a strong carer background, both in her profession and in caring for members of her family. She clearly understood the role expectations. This included what she needed to assist me with on a daily basis, and the best way to do this effectively. Especially with the care side of the position. Although, this is not mandatory as care training will have been put into place after securing the role.

Being aware and confident in the care side of the role is great, but it’s only a small part of the role. For me, it is important that our personalities match. This is because we would be spending a lot of time together.

My confidence lifted as Dolores and I had a discussion about my disability and some attitudes that we may come across during the duration of her working for me. She told me that everyone with a disability can achieve anything they set their mind to. A disabled person can do anything a non-disabled person can do and together we can fight these ignorance and negative attitudes when we encounter them.

Although this was all fantastic and Dolores had ticked a lot of boxes for the job, I didn’t feel that connection with her and all the conversations seemed to lead back to the aspect of care and the role isn’t just the care routines, I think the age difference would have been too much.

Applicant Two – Parvarti

Next came Parvati, she did not attend an interview, but I still wanted to get to know her and gather as much information as I could before deciding whether or not to offer her an interview.

Based on her cover letter I received, she seemed to be very focused and able to multitask on different tasks set and work well under pressure, she spoke of being involved in big tasks in her workplace but did not elaborate.

This was all great and she had clearly read the job description and understood what was being asked of her. She had experience caring for someone close to her with Cerebral Palsy, which is the same disability as me.

Parvati knew how to operate a hoist as well as assisting with all elements of personal care. Alongside all of the basics of caring for someone with a disability, Parvati had spent a lot of time getting to know this loved one and what they liked.

One of our believes was the same, in respect of wanting everyone of all ages with disabilities to be as independent as they can be and achieve what they set their minds to.

Up until now, she hadn’t spoken about her, just her skills and elements of experiences that she could use in this role. Thankfully the cover letter moved on with saying some things about herself.

She was slightly younger than me. She described herself as a funny person and a good listener who assists any person in her friends and family group when they need it.

This person seemed to be a laidback person who likes to go to the cinema, although I didn’t like the idea of her favourite genre being horror and crime drama.

The applicant admitted how she enjoyed Jeremy Kyle Show when it aired and though I had watched it from time to time, it was more out of boredom than anything.

Our common interests came where she enjoys binge watching Netflix, I know what these days can be and how satisfying it can be. Another common interest we had was going out with friends and family for food. I’m not too sure on TGI Fridays, it doesn’t have any pull on me although it seems to have it on others. I did like our joint like for Nando’s.

Although her cover letter had good elements, it did not engage me enough to other an interview.

Applicant Three – Gabrielle

The third applicant (Gabrielle) was interviewed on the same day as Dolores. She made a very good impression from when she first came in.

She was a little nervous but her personality showed through; she immediately came across as a kind, caring person who had a clear understanding of the role and every aspect that the role covered. Including the commitment needed for this position.

Gabrielle loved going out to the cinema; she describes her cinema card as the best investment ever. She loves restaurants, particularly Indian and Greek cuisines. This was good for me. Coffee shops and cafes was another favourite activity. And she liked trying new things and experiences.

She was also up for having downtime, eating sweet things, and watching Netflix. You definitely need these days in your life.

I loved how the conversation between us seemed to flow so easily. We had a nice chat about our similar interests which include the same taste in music, creative activities and drawing. This satisfies my creative flair as I love to be able to relax and do some colouring when I need to de-stress.

I knew that she was comfortable with the care elements that were a part of this role but what was more important particularly at this moment in time was how the two of us got on and how we interacted with each other.

We have a similar interest in The Hunger Games trilogy which is a definite upside although she isn’t as a big fan of the Harry Potter franchise. This would definitely have to change if she was to be successful.

Our ages are very close, and as well as having similar interests we both enjoyed the idea of being pampered and having a spa day. Definite a plus.

Another thing, that was a definite tick in the box, was the idea of helping us with our weekly food shop and her ability to cook dishes. This would benefit me and my dad a lot and we could also extend our pallets to try new foods as well as new treats. Including a cheesecake which I am yet to sample.

Being in a place where I’m not sure what I am going to do next, Cho and her love for plays and musicals will very much help me in writing the reviews sections in my blog. Something I very much need to update.

Second of all, and probably most important for me at the moment, Cho has a like for reading fiction books which will definitely help when I am writing my fantasy fiction novel. Something I am determined to write now I have graduated.

Applicant Four – Padma

Padma was the next applicant. Similar to Parvati. I had not met Padma in person. I had only received her CV and no cover letter whatsoever.

This, unfortunately, didn’t give me much information to work with, the most I could get out of her CV was that she is a high achiever in all the subjects she studied in, as well as having a number of jobs which involved a similar kind of interiors to each other.

She was a person who helped people when it came to their health and well-being. This did include some care experience but the details were very sketchy.

Further jobs all involved her keeping fit and looking after her health and well-being and keeping focused on the tasks set. Although this is great and parts of it lead onto particular skills that she could use in the role, I still couldn’t get a feel for her personality who she was, behind all of this.

The only traces of her personality came when she describes herself as shy, then bubbly who is focused and up for a challenge. Unfortunately, this was not enough to get her an interview.

Applicant Five – Rita

One more applicant came, let’s call her Gabrielle. At the time of her interview she was awaiting results from her Film Studies and Screenwriting degree. Immediately this caught my attention as she was a creative person and she was looking for work while she considered what her future career plans would be.

She, like me, was taking some time to write. She had strong communication skills and the ability to adapt to new experiences while interacting with new people which had been acquired from previous job roles.

Gabrielle had gone to University later than other people her age. Alongside studying, she took time to assist another student with their studies, enhancing both their University experiences as a result.

I admired this as this shown initiative and a positive attitude. She was clearly upbeat in life, and able to influence others to do this same. These University experiences allowed her to build on being a team player. It also developed her problem solving skills, alongside the ability to meet deadlines in an effective manner.

This all ticked many boxes. She, being bolstered by what she had already achieved, wanted to continue on this path. She loved opportunities to make a difference to other student experiences, and loved helping them seize every opportunity.
I really enjoyed meeting Gabrielle, but I think to support a student at University rather than someone post-University would be the thing she really wanted to do.

Applicant Six – Poppy

Poppy came into the equation as a surprise piece, I had already got to know Poppy as she ad covered for me due to my absence of Personal Assistants in the past while I was studying.

This person immediately came across as a kind, caring, funny, supportive person and we almost instantly formed a strong friendship with each other.

Every time I needed someone to cover while I was at University, I always requested Poppy, she had always been able to put me at ease, make me laugh and feel less stressful with the overall University experience. Our friendship had continued to grow in-between times due to staying in touch via Facebook.

Back at University, I wanted to recruit her there and then; I really enjoyed her company and we had ongoing fun, easing the stress of the ever-growing series of PAs. I wanted to share and build University memories with her.

Upon asking her, however, she admitted that at the present time, she already had a full-time job and could only help on a cover basis. I was really disappointed by this admission but accepted it, speaking to her, she was enthusiastic to cover shifts when necessary at University and we were still able to keep in regular touch via Facebook and social media.

Poppy was an ongoing comfort to me and I loved talking to her, Even if it’s just a load of nonsense, oh and Harry Potter which we both loved.

Fast forward to my Undergraduate degree coming to a close, I knew Sabrina was going to leave as soon as I returned home, to Birmingham. Hermione would also be leaving a few months after. My thoughts automatically went to Poppy, wondering if she would be able to assist me for some time.

We started to conduct interviews with possible applicants for the two roles and I did not prompt nor expect what happened next. Poppy contacted me directly, sending me a message via Facebook.

I assumed it was a message to say hi. A check-in to see how I was after now I finished University. But the subject of conversation was something that I was not expecting.

Poppy had spoken to a mutual Ask Jules representative who had mentioned in passing about the vacancies I currently had for PAs now I had finished my current studies. She was very upbeat by the opportunity that had arisen and asked if I would consider her for the role.

I was taken off-guard by this request, as soon as the roles became available in the first place, my thoughts automatically went to poppy but her saying she could only help when cover was needed stuck in my mind. That is why I didn’t put the question to her again.

Shock turned to delight when she asked if a position was still vacant, I remembered all of the good times we had together and how many we can have without the University complications and stresses.

I reflected on how great she makes me feel. I can’t describe it any more than I have. She just had one of those personalities which just made me feel great and I really wanted more time with her, without the stresses and pressures that came with University.

Having covered with different students with disabilities, she already has general knowledge on care routines. Plus, she cared for me on a regular basis previously, so knew my routines. We were already so many steps ahead.

The Results

Caught off guard by the new revelation; I thought everything through thoroughly weighing up pros and cons of all of the applicants for the best successful outcome. I decided to offer Gabrielle the first position and recruit Poppy for the second position.

Fingers crossed, I was so pleased as Gabrielle and Poppy accepted the roles. A number of months have passed since the recruitment process and I have adventures with each of them and can’t wait to have more!

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