Getting a job as a young adult carer - Bailey's story
22 year old Bailey cares for their partner Reuben who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / M.E and mental health problems. In this blog Bailey talks about applying for a job as a young adult carer. Bailey is now a Carer Advisor, supporting unpaid carers and providing them with information and advice.
Applying for a job was tough at times, especially explaining why I had such large gaps in my job history due to my caring role being so full on and not being able to work - most employers didn’t understand. I also found that not having any education higher than A-Levels made it difficult to apply for lots of jobs I was interested in, as I felt employers wouldn’t take me seriously without a degree. I had some interviews but the majority of job hunting was quite soul destroying.
But it all worked out in the end and I got a job as a Carer Advisor. I was so surprised that I actually got the job, I didn’t believe it until I properly had started! It means a lot to me that I was able to get this job as it proved to me that the skills I had learnt from becoming a carer and all the challenges that resulted from it, have been worthwhile as I have been able to use them to make a difference to other people and myself.
It proved to myself as well that I didn’t need a degree to get a job I love! As I hadn’t been able to go to university due to my caring role, this was always one of my fears and a barrier I had faced before when applying for a job, this proved my worries wrong!
I found the initial transition into work challenging as there was so much I was worrying about; my partner, my job, my health as I found myself very depressed and I had no energy to spare and so many other factors. I didn’t want to lose the job I had managed to get so I internalised it all and that really was quite difficult. The caring role didn’t go away when I started work so it was balancing this all that took some time.
It all has managed to work itself out now though, I’m in a better routine, make time to talk to others more and recharge so I can actually do things outside of work now…even if we have to stay inside.
I had lots of support from Andrea, the Young Adult Carer Support Worker at Carers Support Wiltshire. She was the person that first believed in me and made me feel like I could actually achieve a job I enjoy and can support other people and make a difference to others using my skills, knowledge and life experience.
My employer knew from when I first applied that I was a carer as I was very open with them from the beginning. We have carers leave in our contracts which means we can take up to 5 days per year off with pay to help out with our caring responsibilities. Other than that, I am open with my managers and keep that dialogue going so that if I need to take some time off to care my managers know why.
Now that I am working and juggling conflicting schedules, I make sure I plan ahead and try keep as organised as possible! Getting enough rest helps as well as I am more prepared to deal with the challenges caring and working bring. It’s never going to be simple or easy but I just learn to flow with the challenges it brings.
As a carer I have developed a number of invaluable skills that can transfer into the workplace. For example:
- Communication Skills
- Time management
- Problem solving
- Diffusing difficult situations
(and so many more but it would be a fairly big list, caring has taught me so many skills that I use every day!)
To any young and young adult carers looking for a job - don’t give up. Take your time to figure out your interests and realise that its ok to not know what you are doing, or what path you want to take. Taking a less conventional route does not mean you won’t get to where you want to be, so don’t give up! It will work out!